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▪ Humans’ ability to engage in complex thoughts influences behavior. ▪ Cognitions (like behaviors) can be learned. ▪ Focus on: ▪ Cognitive structure (how people think) ▪ Cognitive content (what people think). Cognitive Psychology . Cognitive Structure.

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cognitive psychology
▪ Humans’ ability to engage in complex thoughts influences behavior.

▪ Cognitions (like behaviors) can be learned.

▪ Focus on:

▪ Cognitive structure (how people think)

▪ Cognitive content (what people think)

Cognitive Psychology
cognitive structure
Cognitive Structure

▪ HOW WE THINK (Consistent Patterns)

  • Often, what we are not thinking

▪ Self-control

▪ Ability to empathize

▪ Ability to morally reason

▪ Ability to control anger

policy implication of cog structure
Policy Implication of Cog Structure
  • Cognitive Skills
    • Build empathy, or self control
    • Improve moral reasoning
  • HOW? Using principles of behaviorism
    • Model, practice, reinforce…
cognitive content
Cognitive Content

▪ Rationalizations or denials that support criminal behavior

▪ For example, a criminal thinks, “I’m not really hurting anyone.”

  • Extremely common for sex offenders

▪ Criminals are more likely to express such thoughts

  • Sociologists are often skeptical (time-ordering)
policy implications of cognitive content
Policy Implications of Cognitive Content

▪ Cognitive restructuring attempts to change the content of an individual’s thoughts.

▪ Confront antisocial attitudes when they are expressed

  • “The judge/lawyer screwed me!”
    • You are in this position because of your behavior, and this is your responsibility.
  • “I didn’t really hurt anyone”
    • Lets read the victim impact statement, or look at what happens to victims of this type of offense
theory in action
Theory in Action

▪ Multisystematic therapy (MST)

▪ Creator Scott Henggeler and associates

▪ Comprehensive approach that targets many areas for change

▪ Very behavioral

    • Parenting Skills/Support
    • Cognitive Skills/Cognitive Restructuring
    • Shifting Reward/Punishment Balance
  • Model program for rehabilitaiton
personality and crime
Personality and Crime

▪ Crime and delinquency related to the presence of some personality trait

▪ Personality trait: a characteristic of an individual that is stable over time and across different social circumstances

  • Examples?

▪ Personality: the sum of personality traits that define a person

personality traits and crime
Personality Traits and Crime

▪ A number of related traits combine to form dimensions (super factors)

▪ Several different models

▪ Five-factor model

▪ Tellegen’s personality model

▪ Recent studies use the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ)

personality traits and crime9
Personality Traits and Crime

▪ Personality dimensions in the MPQ

▪ Constraint

▪ Traditionalism

▪ Harm avoidance

▪ Control

▪ Negative emotionality

▪ Aggression

▪ Alienation

▪ Stress reaction

personality traits
Personality Traits

▪ MPQ predicts crime pretty well

  • Negative emotionality and constraint (but not positive emotionality)
  • Does so across race, sex, culture (New Zealand study), and class.
criminal personality the psychopath
Criminal Personality:The Psychopath

▪ A distinct “criminal personality”

▪ One of the oldest concepts in criminology

antisocial personality disorder apd from dsm iv
Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) from DSM-IV

1. Disregard for the rights of others. At least three of the following:

behaves in a way that is grounds for arrest, deceitful and manipulative, impulsive, aggressive, irresponsible, lack of remorse

2. Age 18 or older

3. A history of child conduct disorder

4. Antisocial behavior not a product of schizophrenic episode

psychopath is narrower concept
“Psychopath” is narrower concept
  • Hervey Cleckley’s (1957) The Mask of Sanity
  • Key features: Manipulative, Superficial charm, Above-average intelligence, Absence of psychotic symptoms, Absence of anxiety, Lack of remorse, Failure to learn from experience, Egocentric, Lack of emotional depth
  • Other Characteristics: Trivial Sex life, Unreliable, Failure to follow a life plan, Untruthful, Suicide attempts rarely genuine, Impulsive, Antisocial behavior
hare pcl
  • The Psychopathy Checklist
    • Interview
    • Measures different aspects of psychopathy (each scored on a 0-2 scale)
    • Has produced very interesting studies (difference between psychopath and non-psychopath inmates)
policy implications of personality theory
Policy Implications of Personality Theory

▪ Personality traits consistently predict delinquency and crime.

▪ Criticisms:

  • Personality traits are often portrayed as impossible to change (See, Psychopathy)
  • What causes personality traits?
intelligence and crime
Intelligence and Crime

▪ “Feeblemindedness” was once thought to be a cause of crime.

▪ What exactly is IQ and how does it relate to criminal behavior?

a brief history of intelligence testing
A Brief History of Intelligence Testing

▪ Binet started out like his peers: Measuring people’s skull size

  • Not much difference—worried about bias in the tests
  • Developed a “hodgepodge” of tests measure identify learning disabled children
    • Not meant to be a measuring device for intelligence in “normal” students
  • Translated to English, used to identify “morons” and “low grade defectives” as part of eugenics
iq and crime
IQ and Crime

▪ There is an IQ gap of 8–10 points between criminals and noncriminals, even when statistically controlled for race and social class.

▪ IQ is not a very strong indicator of criminal behavior.

  • But, it does consistently predict
iq and crime19
IQ and Crime

▪ Travis Hirschi and Michael Hindelang

▪ The Bell Curve

▪Direct effect

▪ Most criminologists find evidence of indirect effects

IQ  School, Peers, etc.  Crime


▪ The common emphasis of all psychological theories is on the individual.

▪ Modern Theory


▪ Many psychological theories translate well into treatment programs.

social structure i

Social Structure I


The “Chicago School”

Social Disorganization

emile durkheim late 1858 1917
Emile Durkheim (late 1858-1917)
  • French Scientist
  • Suicide
  • Humans nature: selfish and insatiable
    • Effective Societies able to “cap” desires
      • Socialization & Social Ties
    • Special concern with “Industrial Prosperity”
  • Coined the Term “Anomie”:
    • Institutionalized norms lose ability to control human behavior and human needs
durkhiem s legacy
Durkhiem’s Legacy

Rapidly Changing


“Industrial Prosperity”


(Norms are Weakened)

Human Nature as

Insatiable; must

therefore cap or control

Social Ties Important

The Anomie/Strain Tradition


The Social Disorganization and “Informal Control” Tradition (Today)

meanwhile back in america
Meanwhile, back in America
  • “Social Pathologists” (1900-1930)
    • Cities as “bad” and “corrupting”
    • Immigrants as amoral and inferior
  • Chicago School (1930s)
    • University of Chicago (Sociologists)
    • Tie to Durkheim: City/Societal Growth
      • Worry over lack of integration (and control)
park burgess 1925
Park & Burgess (1925)

How does a city growth and develop?

  • Concentric Zones in Chicago

Industrial zone

Zone in transition

Residential zones

shaw and mckay
Shaw and McKay
  • Juvenile Delinquency in Urban Areas 1942.
    • Mapped addresses of delinquents (court records)
    • Zone in transition stable and high delinquency rates over many years
    • Implications of these findings:

1. Stable, despite multiple waves of immigrants!!

2. Only certain areas of the city Something about

this area causes delinquency

social disorganization
Social Disorganization
  • What were the characteristics of the zone in transition that may cause high delinquency rates?
    • Population Heterogeneity
    • Population Turnover
    • Physical Decay
    • Poverty/Inequality
  • Why might these ecological characteristics lead to high crime rates?
explaining high crime in the zone of transition
Explaining high crime in the zone of transition

1. Social Control

  • Little community “cohesion,” therefore, weak community institutions and lack of control

2. Cultural Transmission of Values

  • Once crime rooted in a neighborhood, delinquent values are passed trough generations of delinquents
social disorganization 1960 1980
Social Disorganization 1960-1980
  • Fell out of favor in sociology in 1950s
    • Individual theories gained popularity
  • Criticisms of Social Disorganization
    • “Official Data”
    • Are these neighborhoods really “disorganized?”
    • Cannot measure “intervening variables”
    • “Chicago Specific” (not all cities grow in rings)
modern s d theory
Modern S.D. Theory
  • Interest rekindled in the 1980s
    • Continues today with “ecological studies”
    • reborn as a pure social control theory (left behind “transmission of values)
  • Addressing criticism
    • “Concentric rings” not necessary, it is simply a neighborhood level theory
    • Ecological characteristics do affect a neighborhoods level of informal control
sampson and groves 1989
Sampson and Groves (1989)

Using British Crime Survey Data (BCS)

  • Population turnover
    • Poverty / inequality
    • Divorce rates
    • Single parents
  • Street supervision
  • Friendship networks
  • Participation in
  • organizations
sampson 1997
Sampson (1997)
  • Replicated results in Chicago
    • Areas with “concentrated disadvantage,” (poverty, race, age composition, family disruption) lack “collective efficacy”
      • Willingness to exercise control (tell kids to quiet down)
      • Willingness to trust or help each other
    • Lack of collective efficacy increases crime rates
review of social disorganization
Review of Social Disorganization
  • Macro (Neighborhood) level theory
    • Explains why certain neighborhoods have high crime rates

Ecological Social Crime

Characteristics Control Rates

  • Theory of “Places,” and not “People”
    • Not all people who live there are “crime prone,” in fact most are law-abiding
other recent ecological ideas
Other recent “ecological” ideas
  • William J. Wilson (Concentrated Poverty)
    • The “Underclass” or “Truly Disadvantaged”
    • Cultural Isolation no contact with “mainstream” individuals/institutions
      • Little respect for “life,” hypermaterialism, violence as “normative”
  • Robert Bursik
    • Political capital; inadequate access to public services
s d as an explanation for high rates of african american offending
S.D. as an explanation for high rates of African American offending
  • “Non-Southern” blacks
    • High proportion of the current members of the “Zone in Transition.”
      • Public Policy has made matters worse (high rise “projects” of the 1950s-60s)
    • Why not move like ZIT residents (immigrants)
      • Housing Segregation
      • Loss of Manufacturing Jobs
policy implications
Policy Implications?
  • Build neighborhood “collective efficacy”
    • How do you do this?
  • Address ecological characteristics that ruin collective efficacy
    • Family disruption, concentrated poverty, residential mobility
  • Moving to Opportunity Program in Baltimore
      • Randomly moved 200 families from high poverty to low poverty—then track the children
  • Community Policing Movement