Psychological Theories Of Crime Essay

For many centuries crime is what keeps the world in order but how can people understand crime? In Criminology we are taught to understand the aspects of crime. It is very important that people crime and the different perspectives. To understand the broadness of Crime we must understand the different theories and sub-theories of crime. Throughout criminology there are many theories that help to understand crime. The theories of crime give a more intimate perspective on why people commit the crimes they do.

The crime that the person commits is connected to the criminal and the theory to give and understanding on why the criminal decided to disobey the law. One of the many theories that help understand the criminal is the Psychological Theory. Psychological Theory is one of the many theories in criminology. Psychological theory concentrates on the relations of intelligence, personality, learning and criminal behavior. This theory is supported by the Psychodynamic Theory, Behavioral Theory, and Cognitive Theory.

Psychological theory determinants of criminal behavior are exploitative personality characteristics, poor impulsive control, emotional simulation and immature personality. Psychological Theory is a way of understanding the mind of a person and what would cause them to commit crimes and understanding why they did that crime. Psychodynamic was created by Sigmund Freud in 1933. Freud was also the creator of psychoanalysis. He described psychodynamic theory as when a person commits a crime because of traumatic events that occurred in their childhood.

Criminal offenders who are neglected, unhappy, or miserable as a child tend to commit crimes. Sigmund Freud created the Psycho analytic perspective which are the three elements of to make up the human personality which are “The id” “The ego” and “The superego” (Metfessel 1938). “The id “also known as the pleasure principle is described as a criminal who is not concerned for other but their selves. “The ego” also known as the reality principle is when a person who needs cannot be met is kept within the boundaries of society.

The superego” is when a person understands and acts on the values and morals of their community and environment. Within Psychodynamic theory there is an aspect that is called personality disturbances. Personality disturbances is what causes people to act out. Personality disturbances can also be called personality disorder. A personality disorder can be characterized by antisocial behavior and lack of affect known as Psychopathy. One of the personality disturbances is Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that interrupts the way a person feels, thinks, and behaves.

It also has a way of making people not understand if their thoughts are real or imagined. Schizophrenia also has the inability for a person to think logically. Another personality disturbance is Psychopath. A psychopath is a person who has a personality disorder who has an aggressively antisocial behavior and lacks empathy (Metfessel 1938) The Psychopathic personality was developed by neuropsychiatrist Hervey M. Cleckley. Someone who is a psychopath is aware of what they are doing. Psychopaths are considered primary Psychopaths. David Lykken described psychopaths as that their minds work differently from other people.

Psychopaths are closely associated with Sociopath. Sociopaths is another form of personality disturbance. Sociopaths are considered the secondary psychopaths. Just like Psychopaths, sociopaths have no empathy for their victims. Sociopaths are born normal but traumatic experiences causes them to gain sociopath characteristics. The last personality disturbance is Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). Antisocial personality disorder is a psychological condition where an individual is un-socialized and behavior patterns cause them to have conflicts with society.

People who suffer from APD tend to be unable to be loyal to individuals, groups, and social values. The second major psychological theory is Behavior theory. Behavior theory is also known as behaviorism. Behavior theory is a psychological point of view that describes behavior that is rewarded will increase in frequency and behavior that is punished will decrease in frequency. Russian Physiologist Ivan Pavlov said behavior Could be “Conditioned” or shaped. Behavior conditioning is a psychological principle that holds the frequency of any behavior can be increased or decreased through reward or punishment.

When a person’s behavior is rewarded and the person is satisfied they will continue to behave that way weather they think it’s a good or bad behavior. This is connected to Operant behavior. Operant behavior is when an individual’s behavioral decisions effectively operate the surrounding environment to present consequences for the individual. There is a connection between self-control and criminal behavior, which is a person who has low self-control are more likely to make bad criminal decisions which will fulfill their satisfaction.

Poor parenting tends to have an effect on people at a young age which controls the behavior of a child that also leads to criminal activity. (Skrzypiec 2013) The third major psychological theory is Cognitive theory. Cognitive Theory is understanding the way people solve their problems and accept and understand their social environment. This theory has a way of making people to believe that they commit the crimes because they thought about it before taking action. There are two aspects that support this theory and they are moral development theory and the processing theory.

The moral development theory criminals are less likely to make moral judgements. Lawrence Kohlberg created the six stages of moral development that describe why people choose to disobey the law and why people feel obligated to follow that law (cherry 2016). The processing theory is understanding the thinking process of a criminal committing a crime. Also it helps understand the decisions a criminal make by the thoughts they think. Around the world there are many different types of crimes. From burglary to murder these crimes are very serious and people tend to commit the for various reasons.

One of the many type of crimes would be Murder. The crime murder is the willful and unlawful killing of one person to another. Murder can be justified as first degree and second degree murder (Berman2015). First degree is the unlawful killing of a person willingly and premeditated. In other word first degree murder is when a criminal plan out killing a person before they commit the crime. Second degree murders are when a murder is committed and the criminal didn’t plan the crime. Also it means that the murder was a “Spare of the moment” sense.

The estimated number of murders committed in the United States in 2014 was 14,249 (FBI 2014). There is also different types of murderers such as serial murders and mass murderers. There is a difference between the two murder types. Serial murderers also known as serial killers usually kill three or more people over the time span of a month or more but has a “cooling down” period between murders. A mass murderers are different from serial murders. Mass murderers kill a large number of people in the same amount of time and place. (Serial Killers vs. Mass Murders 2015)

Another crime that is occurring not only in the United States but also around the world is Rape. The original definition of rape was “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will”. In 2012 the FBI revised the definition to say “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person without consent of the victim”. (Murray 2011) There is a law that protects the victim from the defendant using the victims past sexual experiences as evidence, this law is called the rape shield law.

In the year 2014 the United States department of justice National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported that 284,350 people were raped that year. (Truman; Langton 2015) On May 21, 1960 in Milwaukee a very known Serial killer by the name of Jeffery Dahmer was born. Dahmer was a serial murderer and a rapist. When Dahmer was a child he was happy until he was the age of 6. After he had surgery for a double hernia and the birth of his younger brother Dahmer gained lack of self-esteem (Biography editors 2013).

As Dahmer got older he was starting to become antisocial. When he reached his teen age years he became very interested in dead animals. He then started to drink alcohol in high school. After he graduated from high school Dahmer killed his first victim. He hit him with a barbell and dismember his body and buried his body in the woods. Over a course of years Dahmer killed over 20 male victims. He met his male victims in public area and took them to a private setting where there was only him and his victim. He then proceeded to get his victim intoxicated.

Once they were overly intoxicated he would kill them and take advantage of them. Dahmer would practice necrophilia and cannibalism with his victims. He would dismember them and bury them where no one would be able to find them. The theory that is closely associated with Jeffery Dahmer is the Psychological theory. the psychodynamic theory for Dahmer would be labeled as a psychopath. Dahmer had characteristics of a psychopath because as Dahmer grew older he became antisocial. The only people he interacted with was his family and he victims. He also had a lack of empathy for his victims.

He didn’t show any remorse for what he was doing to his victims. For the behavioral theory Dahmer felt as if his needs were being fulfilled, which is why he continued to proceed with killing more victims. He was aroused by being in control and satisfied by his behavior. Jeffery Dahmer wanted his needs to be met and he could only take action when he was intoxicated. Dahmer knew something wasn’t right with the way he acted. He had asked for psychological help to help him control himself, but soon after he was released from incarceration he went back to his old ways nd started to kill again.

Using Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development Dahmer would be at the 6 stage where rules are to be fixed and punishment and obedience should take place. Understanding the theories of crime is very important. It helps you understand crimes and the criminals who part take in committing them. The psychological theory is understanding the mind of a criminal and why they commit the crimes they, how are they benefitted from committing that crime and what causes them to act that way.