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Criminal Behavior a Psychosocial Approach, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 499

Essay

The book “Criminal behavior a psychosocial approach” analyses criminal and delinquent behavior through use of different perspectives. Some of them include developmental, Cognitive and psychological.  It argues that criminal behavior conducted by both young people and adults are as a result of a multiplicity of factors which influence each other.  It analyses different types of crimes including sexual crimes, hate crimes, drugs, homicide and serial attack by employing various theories and also strategies on how these crimes can be prevented.

Chapter four of the book uses several theories to present situational factors that contribute to criminal behavior. Some of the theories covered include social learning, frustration induced theory.  This paper will focus on the authors’ attempt to use social-learning theory to explain criminal behavior. The authors use social learning theory to posit that a “person’s behavior is defined as a perspective that focuses on other behavior that can be observed and that the social environment in which a person lives plays a crucial role in determining his or her behavior” (Bartol, 2008). A child may observe aggressive behavior from the parent, sibling and believe that it is normal does the same. The authors builds on previous works advanced by other behavioral theorists like Watson, Skinner and Pavlov. For example, they argue that Watson’s behaviorism focuses on acquiring knowledge and comprehending it in relation to stimuli from the environment.

The theory integrates many aspects of conditioning as put across by Skinner’s human nature perspective. The theory further suggests that behavior that has been learned can also be altered the same way that behavior was learned. (Bartol, 2008).  The cognitive social processes present in a person interact with their immediate environment to create certain behavior. Punishment and rewards determines a person’s behavior(Caitlin, 2005).They further use the idea of “cognitive scripts”, where they mention that these are models that rely on behavior being grouped in different categories that are based on responses and the outcomes that come about as a result of the environmental conditions. The memory maintains these scripts through encoding, therefore, the greater the chances of a problem occurring the greater the degree of maintaining those scripts.

The theory of social learning can be applied in numerous situations one of them is explaining psychopathic activities.  Some of the cases of serial murders happening around us can fit this theory.  Some of those who commit the crimes might have gone through humiliating experiences during childhood and could not therefore distinguish between a rewarding experience and a punishment. This might lead to a child becoming frustrated and have a different viewpoint of those around him.  The frustration leads to them choosing vulnerable outlets where they project their frustrations, and this could be through killing others. In conclusion therefore, the environment in which a person is socialized is very important in determining that person’s later behavior.

References

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2008). Criminal behavior a psychosocial approach. Upper Saddle River: Pearson

Caitlin, J. (2005) Genetic and environmental influences on criminal behavior.  Rochester: Rochester Institute of technology

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