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CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR - A PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

NCJ Number
65416
Author(s)
M P FELDMAN
Date Published
1977
Annotation
THIS BOOK, INTENDED FOR PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS, LAWYERS, CRIMINOLOGISTS, SOCIOLOGISTS, PSYCHIATRISTS, AND THE POLICE, APPROACHES THE STUDY OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LEARNING.
Abstract
THIS STUDY PROCEEDS WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT LEARNING, GENETICALLY BASED PREDISPOSITIONS, AND SOCIAL LABELING ALL HAVE A PART TO PLAY IN EXPLAINING THE CAUSES OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR; I.E., THEY ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE, BUT COMPLEMENTARY. ANOTHER ASSUMPTION IS THAT THE DIVISION OF THE WORLD INTO THE CRIMINAL AND THE LAW-ABIDING IS LARGELY A COMFORTING ILLUSION. THE TYPES OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR ANALYZED IN THE STUDY INCLUDE ONLY CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY AND PERSONS, NOT THE MORE CONTROVERSIAL VICTIMLESS OFFENSES. ATTENTION FOCUSES ON AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR, THE ENVIRONMENTS THAT FAVOR IT, AND OTHER STIMULI, SUCH AS EMOTIONAL AROUSAL, THE PRESENCE OF A WEAPON, AND A POTENTIAL VICTIM WHO SEEMS TO BE INCAPABLE, OR UNLIKELY, TO RETALIATE. DESCRIPTIONS OUTLINE FORMS OF PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR, SUCH AS HELPING BEHAVIOR (I.E., A CRIME VICTIM) AND BEHAVIOR BASED ON THE EQUITY THEORY, A RECENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT OF CRIMINOLOGICAL RELEVANCE. AMONG THE DETERMINANTS OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, THE FOLLOWING ARE EXAMINED: BIOLOGICAL FACTORS (INCLUDING CHROMOSOMAL ABNORMALITIES) AND PERSONALITY FACTORS, SUCH AS EXTRAVERSION, NEUROTICISM, AND PSYCHOTICISM (EXPLAINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH EYSENCK'S THEORY ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS AND CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR). CONSIDERATION IS GIVEN TO THE LEGAL APPROACH TO MENTALLY DISORDERED OFFENDERS, PSYCHOPATHS, AND SOME SEXUAL OFFENDERS. VARIOUS SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO CRIME ARE DISCUSSED, WITH GREATER EMPHASIS ON THE LABELING THEORY AND THE HYPOTHESIS THAT LABELING EXPRESSES THE SOCIAL REACTION OF THOSE IN POWER TO CRIMES COMMITTED BY MEMBERS OF NUMERICALLY AND POLITICALLY OVERREPRESENTED GROUPS, WHOM THEY WISH TO CONTROL. FINALLY, A CRITIQUE OF CURRENT CRIME CONTROL METHODS EXPLORES THE PENAL ESTABLISHMENT (A COUNTERPRODUCTIVE AND CRIMINOGENIC SETTING) AND BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION TECHNIQUES (RAISING KEY QUESTIONS REGARDING ETHICAL AND SOCIAL OBJECTIVES AND RESTRAINTS). A LIST OF REFERENCES, AN AUTHOR INDEX, AND A SUBJECT INDEX ARE PROVIDED. (LGR)