Sunday, October 25
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Clinical Links

Psychological Explanations of Crime

You need to be able to discuss and apply these explanations of crime: labelling theory, self-fulfilling prophecy and social learning theory (i.e. Bandura!).

Tasks and Resources

Labelling Theory and Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Social Learning Theory

Practice Questions

  1. There has been a recent increase in anti-social behaviour amongst girls which has led to more ASBOs (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) being served.  Evaluate psychological explanations of criminality with reference to this situation. (16)
  2. Compare Social Learning Theory with one other explanation of anti-social behaviour. Identify the explanation in your answer. Comparisons include similarities and differences. (5)
  • The impact of brain injury is similar for males and females
  • However, males are 1.6 x more likely to have a head injury in the UK (female cases have risen by over 20% over the last few years though)
  • Amygdala functioning:
    • some studies have shown males have higher activation when shown emotional scenes,
    • other studies – women show more empathic responses
    • still other studies no difference at all!
    • There does appear to be a link between the size of amygdala and level of fear in women
  • XYY
    • only applies to males so explains a focus on male criminal/antis-social behaviour
    • XYY link to crime isn’t well supported by research
  • Gender differences in types of crime
    • Males tend to be more likely to be convicted for violent (15x more likely to be convicted of homicide than women) or sexual offences
    • Women are more likely to be convicted of property offences (Stealing, etc.)
    • Males make up 4/5 convicted offenders in England/Wales
    • Males are more likely to be repeat offenders
  • Gender differences may also be due to
    • Opportunity (males have more opportunity as women have child-rearing responsibilities)
    • Lower conviction rates for women (because of ‘chivalry’ factor from courts)
    • ‘Hidden’ crimes which may be committed by women and not reported (e.g. petty theft, prostitution)

Tasks and Resources

You need to know about and evaluate the following treatments for offenders:

  1. A psychological Treatment – Anger Management (a form of CBT)
  2. A biological Treatment – Diet
  • Watch (warning – strong language):

  • Extension: Losing It Documentary

  • Use the slide show below (which contains a number of activities/ideas for you to do/discuss with others).

Offender Treatments

  • Use the textbook (p384 onwards) to revise/learn about CBT for offenders work, Anger Management (follows on using CBT techniques) and diet or hormone/drug treatments
  • Make workbook notes on offender treatments – the workbook focuses on diet
  • Extension: read through and find out about the hormone/drug treatments as well.

Practice Questions

  1. Assess the effectiveness of a psychological treatment for criminality. (12)
  2. Gemma, a keen clubber and drinker, has been convicted of a violent assault that was recorded late on a Friday night outside a popular bar. She goes to prison, but gets early release provided she agrees to undertake biological treatment for her behaviour. With reference to the scenario above, discuss the value of a biological therapy for criminal behaviour. (8)

Tasks and Resources

Psychological Formulation is a method used in clinical and criminal psychology to help form a picture of the overall situation and background to a client or offender.

  • Watch (background to formulation):

  • Use the slide show below (which contains a number of activities/ideas for you to do/discuss with others).

LO TBAT discuss psychological formulation

  • Make full workbook notes on psychological formulation. For more strengths and weaknesses use both of the textbooks.

Practice Questions

Evaluate the effectiveness of psychological formulation in diagnosing and treating criminality. (12)