Explore BrainMass

Differentiation of Criminal Behavior

Differentiate Criminal Behavior

An important role of a forensic psychologist is to understand and use various theoretical perspectives to describe, track, and understand different criminal behaviors. Write a 2 - 3 page paper (excluding cover and reference pages) differentiating criminal behavior using the various theories of crime.

Identify how each of the following theories attempts to explain the existence of criminal behavior. Students should focus on the following theoretical areas:

For each of the above theoretical areas, students should:

Provide a brief historical summary of the development of the theoretical area of focus.
Explain the basis of each theory (Examples may be that people commit crimes based on neurological malfunctions in the brain, because of peer pressure, due to Pavlovâ??s concept of conditioning, etc.). Essentially, explain what concepts each theory uses to explain criminal behavior. Be sure to provide examples that support your explanations.
Provide an academic and/or operational example of each theory in practice (Example: The Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory or MMPI as an example of a psychologically-based theory in practice)
Explain how the theoretical areas listed above may be interrelated by identifying similarities in creator, school of thought, philosophical basis, or other specific trait.
Identify which theory is most accurate in explaining criminal behavior and provide specific examples to support your observation.

Solution Preview

Thank you for your interest in BrainMass and allowing us the opportunity to assist you in your studies. The following is presented for your consideration in successfully addressing your assignment.

Differentiate Criminal Behavior

Addressing Psychological criminology, this perspective is influenced by psychology, focusing on the individual and the science of behavior and mental processing of that individual. There are three major perspectives on human nature that attempt to explain the psychology (and sometimes sociology) of criminal behavior:
? The Conformity perspective: an example of this perspective would be Robert K. Merton's "Strain theory" (Bartol and Bartol, 2005) Merton believed that people are basically good but are strongly influence by the values and attitudes in the society by which they are surrounded;
? The Nonconformist perspective: an example would be Travis Hirschi's "Social Control Theory" (id). Hirschi believed that people are basically unruly and without definitive controls, weak or non-existent, result in crime and delinquency; and
? The Learning Perspective: Two examples would be the "Differential association theory" of Edwin H. Sutherland and the "Social Learning Theory" (id) of Julian Rotter and Albert Bandura. They believed that human beings are born neither basically good or basically undisciplined, but that their behavior is learned through social intercourse with the society around them. ...

Solution Summary

This paper discusses various theories of criminal behavior: Sociological , Biological, Psychological, and Social-Psychological including a brief history of their development, each theory's focus, the basis of each theory, the concepts used in each theory to explain the behavior, an example of each in practice, and how some are interrelated, describing similarities in the creator of the theories, schools of thought, their philosophical bases and/or examples to support observations