Examples Of Empathy In Criminology

Decent Essays

without empathy because it does not fit the standard “mold.” Empathy is generally associated with benevolent or altruistic actions, not cruel or malicious ones. But that association is a positive bias imposed upon the concept, rather than inherent in it. Truth be told, the criminal empathizes just enough to convince himself he’ll get away with what he wants to. He chooses not to think about how his conduct negatively impacts others. And it is in this limited sense that he lacks empathy. He has the capacity to empathize in the traditional sense, he just prefers not to do it. What would be axiomatic to say, therefore, is that if the criminal put himself in the shoes of his potential victims qua victims, it would be far more difficult for him to victimize them. Of course, the criminal’s ability to think about people as victims rather than marks when he’s in that mode is hampered by how narrowly he defines the idea of injury. As the Doctors make clear, the criminal has an extremely concrete notion of …show more content…

Essentially the same thing is being said by many different people in many different ways. Some have chosen to couch their observations in terms of erroneous thought patterns, or “thinking errors,” while others have expressed their observations in terms of beliefs, attitudes, or schemata. Indeed, the use of the word “criminal” itself is not even agreed upon. According to the textbook Abnormal Psychology, “The term criminal has meaning in the legal system but is not a psychological concept.” (emphasis in original) Yet this is a relatively recent development. Many pioneers in the field of psychology, among them Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Albert Ellis, readily used the term “criminal.” Now, however, mental health professionals view the characteristics criminals exhibit through the lens of “personality

Get Access