CRJS 215 Chapter 5

CRJS 215 Chapter 5 - Chapter 5 Trait Theories Foundations...

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Chapter 5 Trait Theories
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Foundations of Trait Theory The view that criminals have physical or mental traits that make them different or abnormal William Sheldon suggested somatotype (body-build) makes people susceptible to delinquent behavior Mesomorphs – muscular/athletic (aggression) Ectomorphs – tall/thin (intellectual) Endomorphs – heavy/slow (fences)
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Foundations of Trait Theory Impact of Sociobiology Sociobiology reemerged in the 1970s (Edmund O. Wilson) Biological and genetic conditions affect how social behaviors are learned and perceived Perceptions are linked to existing environmental structures. Main premise: Most actions are controlled by a person’s biological machine. Sociobiologists view the gene as the ultimate unit of human destiny Ensuring of survival (reciprocal altruism) People are motivated by the belief that their actions will be reciprocal and the gene survival capacity enhanced
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Foundations of Trait Theory Modern Trait Theories (not concerned with legal definition of crime) Each offender is mentally and physically unique Humans do not posses equipotentiality (equal potential to learn and achieve) The combo of physical traits and environmental factors produces behavior patterns People develop physical or mental traits at birth or soon after that affect their social functioning over the life course and their behavior choices Focus on human behavior and drives: Aggression, violence, and tendency to act on impulse Human traits alone do not produce criminology and the crime producing interactions involve both personal traits and environmental factors: Personal Traits: Intelligence, personality, chemical, and genetic makeup Environmental factors, family life, education, economic factors and neighborhood conditions. Chronic offenders: Suffer biological/psychological conditions or trait that renders them incapable of resisting social pressures and problems.
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Biological Trait Theories Biosocial theorists argue physical, environmental, and social conditions work in concert to produce behavior Genetic makeup contributes significantly to human behavior Not all humans are born with equal potential to learn and achieve Combination of human genetic traits and environmental produces individual behavior
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Biological Trait Theories Learning Potential and Its Effect on Individual Behavior Patterns Importance of brain functioning, mental processes, learning The physical and social environment interact to either limit or enhance capacity for learning Biochemistry and cellular interaction control learning Instinct: Some biosocial theorists contend learning is influenced by instinctual drives (rape or desire of males to control females) Instincts are inherited, natural, unlearned dispositions that activate specific behavior patterns designed to reach certain goals.
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Biological Trait Theories Biochemical Conditions and Crime
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course CRJS 215 taught by Professor O'toole during the Spring '08 term at Old Dominion.

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CRJS 215 Chapter 5 - Chapter 5 Trait Theories Foundations...

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