Essay Compare Contrast 3 Psychological Approaches To The Study Of Criminal Behaviour

1190 WordsMar 27, 20155 Pages
Compare and contrast 3 psychological approaches to the study of criminal behaviour Tim Booth Crime has been defined as 'acts attracting legal punishment' (Blackburn, 1993; p.5) and it can fall within numerous legal categories, ranging from crimes against persons, against property, white collar crimes and so on. However, offences such as 'moral crime', where no law has been broken, also need to be considered, especially when studying the cause and prevention through psychology. Just as the types of crime can vary, so can the psychological approach used to study it. Here the distinctions between three of the main perspectives adopted; Psychodynamic, Behavioural and Biological, will be examined to identify where they vary or overlap. The…show more content…
Freud believed that behaviour is controlled by the ‘unconscious’ and that the mind was made up of three components: the id, the ego and the superego (Findley, 2011, pg: 3). The ego tries to realistically pacify the wants of the more primitive, selfish id. The superego, the moral governor, has to suppress the selfish needs of the id and impose moral values on the ego. Freud suggested that early negative childhood experiences could result in variations in the strength of the superego, thus altering the balance of the psyche, resulting in a higher probability to commit crime. A weak superego could, for example, lead to psychopathic tendencies because of the lack of a strong enough moral regulator for the id and the ego. John Bowlby (1951) added a further concept, that a child's attachment to their mother in the first couple of years of life had a direct affect on their ability to relate to others when they were older. Bowlby suggested that any disruption to the Mother/child bond could lead to the child becoming what he termed an ‘affectionless psychopath’ in later life (Findley, 2011, pg: 4). It is easy to see how early physiological ideas towards crime were popular; the concept that simply knowing what a criminal looks like before they even commit a crime is an attractive one, whilst medical advances now mean that the more modern biological approach provides

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