Chapter 5 Trait Theory. Criminology 9 th edition Larry J. Siegel. Question. Do you think that people who commit crime are physically or mentally abnormal?. Trait Theories. Trait theories are made up of biosocial and psychological theories.
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Chapter 5Trait Theory
Criminology 9th edition
Larry J. Siegel
© 2003 Wadsworth Publishing Co.
Do you think that people who commit crime
are physically or mentally abnormal?
Biological explanation of criminal behavior first became popular during the middle part of the
19th Century with the introduction ofpositivism.
What is positivism?
The research of the earliest positivists
(who were biologists)
was plagued by poor:
How does a biosocial theorist
violence, is a function
of diet, vitamin intake,
or food allergies.
violence. Shows how
interacts with personal
traits to influence
Is there a link between
sugar and antisocial behavior?
If so, explain.
What is the link between
hormones and antisocial behavior?
Aggression and violence have been linked to diet. Some believe diets high
in sugar and carbohydrates are culprits.
What do studies show?
delinquents often suffer
brain impairment, as
measured by the EEG.
disorder and minimum
brain dysfunction are
related to antisocial
violence. Shows how
personal traits to
Biosocial Theory:Neurological Perspective
Neurophysiology – the study of brain activity suggests that physical and brain abnormalities are acquired at the prenatal stage or through birth delivery trauma – in turn, they control behavior throughout the life span.
What is the link between brain chemistry and chronic offenders and crimes of violence?
The major premise
is that criminal traits
are inherited. The
criminality of parents
can predict the
Explains why only a
small percentage of
youth in a high-crime
area become chronic
What do the results of
sibling and twin studies
Biosocial Theory:Genetic Perspective
As the human race
evolved, traits and
Some of these make
people aggressive and
violence rates and
differences in the
Explain why violence
is often driven by
Biosocial Theory:Evolutionary Perspective
If there is a biological basis
to violence and aggression –
then how would a biosocial theorist
explain white collar crime?
If there are biological explanations for street crimes then by implication biological theory says that member of groups are biologically different, flawed or inferior. The is also a lack of adequate empirical testing.
Rather than suggest that there are born criminals and non-criminals, proponents maintain that some people carry the potential to be violent or antisocial and that environmental conditions can sometimes trigger antisocial responses.
Mental Illness and crime
Personality and Crime
Intelligence and Crime
The development of the unconscious personality early in childhood influences behavior for the rest of a person’s life. Criminals have weak egos and damaged personalities i.e., anger, sexuality, tendencies. Created by Sigmund Freud.
Explains the onset of crime and why crime and drug abuse cut across class lines.
What type of mood and/or behavioral disorders may affect offenders?
A great deal of early research efforts found that many offenders who engage in serious, violent crimes
suffer from some sort of mental disturbance.
However, empirical evidence has contradicted this.
Research shows that upon release, prisoners who had prior histories of hospitalization for mental disorders were less likely to be rearrested than those who had never been hospitalized.
Mentally disordered inmates who do recidivate upon release appear to do so for the same reasons as the mentally sound.
People commit crime when they model their behavior after others they see being rewarded for the same acts. Behavior is reinforced by rewards and extinguished by punishment, i.e., learning processes.
Explains the role of significant others in the crime process. Shows how family life and media can influence crime and violence.
What is social learning theory?
Psychological Theory:Behavioral Perspective
Individual reasoning processes influence behavior. Reasoning is influenced by the way people perceive their environment and by their moral and intellectual development, i.e., thinking, memory, ethical values.
Shows why criminal behavior patterns change over time as people mature and develop their moral reasoning. May explain the aging-out process.
Explain the relationship of cognitive processes, perceptions, and chronic offending.
Personality can be defined as the reasonably stable patterns of behavior, including thoughts and emotions that distinguish one person from another. Personality reflects a characteristic way of adapting to life’s demands and problems.
What is the difference between
nature theory and nurture theory?
Do you think IQ and crime are linked?
If so, why are there more male than female criminals? or,
Why does “aging out” occur?