Midterm SUPER study guide

Midterm SUPER study guide - 1 Social Theories of Crime...

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1) Social Theories of Crime Causation: Structural Explanations - Differential Opportunity : Criminals aspire to be good members of society but are unable to do so due to limitations not of their own choosing, demographic limitations (race, wealth, location etc). Intentions of the criminals are not malicious. Delinquent Boys: Similar basis to the former, however the actions of criminals are thought to be malicious in nature, out of resentment for authority and those around them who aspire to things greater than the criminals are capable of achieving due to their position in society. Subcultural Explanations - Criminal action is not born out of malcontent; rather it’s a product of the difference in socially acceptable means to ends. Norms in the culture which the criminal was reared are responsible for their actions, arguably they don’t view the same things as “wrong.” Biological Theories of Crime Causation: Constitutional Explanations - Asserts a relationship between one’s somatotype (Sheldon describes 3 [endomorph] soft and jovial, [mesomorph] fit, bold and aggressive, [ectomorph] tall, thin and intelligent). There was found to be a correlation between mesomorphic body types and criminal behavior however there are far too many lurking variables for this to be a considerable finding. Genetic Explanations- Genealogy: An early method as an attempt to prove some hereditary value of crime, the method was to trace back family histories as to try and prove some inheritance, however it was largely disregarded due to confounding social factors, families not only share biological factors, but social factors. Twin Studies: Various studies done show a high concordance of criminal action between genetically identical twins as opposed to fraternal twins, however this is also a confounded statistic because twins are frequently raised in the same context as each other. Neurological Abnormalities: Predispositions to violence may be caused by abnormalities within the brain, genetic or not. Common causes for increased violence within individuals are located in the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus and midbrain. Autonomic Nervous System: A low arousal of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is symptomatic in criminals. Low responsiveness to what would normally be stimulating or threatening signals tend not to display similarly in criminals as in noncriminal. This may be due in part to hormonal imbalances which lead to low levels of inhibition. Physiological Differences: Increased aggressiveness may be also due in part to high levels of testosterone, high levels of insulin, and lower levels of serotonin.
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Psychological Explanations: Psychoanalytic- Followers believe that there is a malfunctioning of the superego such that it is unable to keep the id intact and the malicious and violent nature of an individual is evident. Freud himself believed that there was a preexisting guilt in most wrongdoers which they seek to be freed from by getting punished for committing a crime.
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