How Psychological Research Has Helped in the Understanding of Criminal Behaviour

2952 Words May 3rd, 2013 12 Pages
How psychological research has helped in the understanding of criminal behaviour
Bandura (1961) - Bobo doll experiment -
Albert Bandura created the bobo doll experiment in 1961, the aim of this experiment was to show that if children where witnesses to aggressive displays by an adult of some sort they would imitate this behaviour when given an opportunity. The tested group contained 36 young girls and 36 young boys all aged between 4 and 5 years which was then divided into 3 groups of 24 – the aggressive condition, the non aggressive condition and the control group. The first group involved the children watching aggressive models, where the children where then subdivided by sex of the role model they were exposed to. The second group
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This study has helped in the understanding of criminal behaviour as children learn through imitation and the environment which they grow up in have an effect on their behaviour. If a child has been brought up around abuse, criminal activity or consistent aggression then the child is most likely to offend by imitating their role model which could be a parent, sibling or even just a role model which they look up to.

Philip Zimbardo (1971) - Stanford prison experiment –
Dr Philip Zimbardo created the Stanford prison experiment in 1971, the aim of this experiment was to find out the psychological effects of prison life, and to what extent can moral people be seduced to act immorally. The study consisted of 24 students selected out of 75, the roles of these 24 men were randomly assigned, 12 to play prison guards and 12 to play prisoners. The prison set up was built inside the Stanford’s psychological department, doors where taken of laboratory rooms and replaced with steel bars in order to create cells. At the end of the corridor was the small opening which became the solitary confinement for the ‘bad prisoners’. Throughout the prison there were no windows or clocks to judge the passage in time, which resulted in time distorting experiences. After only a few hours, the participants adapted to their roles well beyond expectations, the officers starting
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