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What is a theory and who's definition is used here?

Any description of an observed aspect of the world that may consist of a collection of inter-related laws or a systematic set of ideas - (Kukla, 2001)


What are 7 features of theories that they can be appraised on?

- Predictive accuracy and scope
- Internal coherence
- External consistency
- Unifying power
- Fertility/heuristic value
- Simplicity
- Explanatory depth


What is predictive accuracy/scope in relation to theory appraisal?

Whether the theory can account for existing findings


What is internal coherence in relation to theory appraisal?

Whether the theory can be falsified


What is external consistency in relation to theory appraisal?

Whether it's consistent with other psychological knowledge.


What is unifying power in relation to theory appraisal?

Whether it unifies different aspects of research in innovative ways.


What is fertility/heuristic value in relation to theory appraisal?

Whether the theory can make new predictions/treatments etc.


What is simplicity in relation to theory appraisal?

Whether it makes few assumptions or not. An ineffective theory would contain many, special assumptions.


What is explanatory depth in relation to theory appraisal?

Whether the theory can describe deep, underlying mechanisms.


What is a psychological theory in relation to Forensic Psychology?

Explains why some individuals go on to commit crime, while others don't. E.g. specific behaviour traits common among offenders -why do some people develop these traits and some do not?


Describe the sample in the 44 Thieves study.

44 juvenile thieves and 44 control youths


Describe the results in the 44 thieves study.

40% of juvenile thieves had experienced separation of 6 months or longer.
Only 2 individuals in the control sample had experienced separation of this length - just 4.5%.

1/3 of juvenile thieves were described as having affectionless personality
None of the control group were described as having an affectionless personality.


What are 4 weaknesses of the 44 thieves study?

- small sample
- retrospective acocunts
- inadequate control group - may have committed crimes but have not been caught
- lack of control for extraneous variables (effect of foster homes, etc)


Which studies demonstrated the effects of early separation on conviction rates?

- Newcastle Thousand Family Birth cohort study (Kolvin et al., 1988)
- Cambridge study (Farrington et al., 2009)


What did Kolvin et al (1988) demonstrate about the effects of early separation on conviction rates?

If you have experienced maternal deprivation or privation (parental divorce or separation), the risk of conviction is doubled (up to age 32).


What did Farrington et al (2009) demonstrate about the effects of early separation on conviction rates?

60% of boys who had been separated from their parent(s) before turning 10 were convicted before the age of 50. This is compared with 36% in boys who had not experienced separation.


What did Juby and Farrington (2001) show about separation?

That it may not just be about separation, but also what happens after. Much higher conviction rates if childhood has been disrupted, but the mother is not present, compared to when the mother is present.


According to Ward et al., (1996), which attachment styles link with specific types of offending?

Rapists and violent offenders are linked with having dismissive avoidant attachment styles.

Paedophiles linked with pre-occupied/fearful attachments.


What personalities might someone have if they formed dismissive avoidant attachment styles?

Avoids closeness and emotional connections. Distant, critical, rigid and intolerant.


What did Jeffrey (1965) say about crime and learnt behaviour?

Criminal behaviour develops through operant conditioning. Behaviour has been enforced in the past, or aversive consequences/punishments do not control or prevent future occurrences.


Why might criminal behaviour not be reduced through operant conditioning?

Jeffrey (1965) and Skinner would say that any aversive consequences/punishments for behaviour need to be immediate to have the best effects. With court proceedings and police investigations, it can often be months before any official punishment is received.


What is olfactory aversive conditioning in the reduction of paedophilic behaviour?

Pairing of unpleasant smells with pictures of children (or any behaviour/stimulus you want to reduce) in order to decrease attraction to them.


What is masturbatory re-conditioning in the reduction of paedophilic behaviour?

Conditioned to masturbate to pictures of adult women, rather than children.


What did Marshall (2006) study and what was found?

The reconditioning of sex offenders. Olfactory or masturbatory conditioning on Bill. Treatments worked and he went on to have romantic relationships with women.


According to Bandura, which 4 elements are needed to model behaviour?

- Attention (to the target behaviour)
- Retention (remembering the target behaviour)
- Reproduction (opportunity to reproduce behaviour in appropriate conditions)
- Motivation (more likely to model behaviour if it has positive consequences/there is something to gain)


What did Haapasolo & Pokela (1999) find about the role of parents and offending behaviours?

Harsh or punitive parenting is predictive of later offending.


What did Newson & Newson (1989) find about the role of parents and offending behaviours?

Parents' use of physical punishment at ages 7-11 predicts later antisocial deviance.


What did Robins (1979) find about the role of parents and offending behaviours?

Delinquency was predicted by poor parental supervision, harsh punishments and rejecting attitudes.


What did Farrington (2005) find about the effect of families on offending?

Specific family factors, such as family size, parental age, use of substances by parents, etc are predictive of later antisocial behaviour.
These early factors can have long-lasting consequences.


What are the drawbacks of learning theory explanations of criminal behaviour?

- Doesn't account for biological factors & predispositions
- Is it fair to blame the child's environment when they are the ones committing the crime?
- Not all children in these environments go on to commit crime - suggests alternative factors may be at play.


What does ICAP stand for?

The Integrated Cognitive Antisocial Potential theory


What does the ICAP theory aim to explain/find out about offending?

It states that every person has some level of anti-social potential, but attempts to explain why some people go on to commit but some do not.
Postulates that cognitive processes (thinking patterns, decision making, etc) may mediate the translation of anti-social potential into antisocial behaviour and offending.


What are the two types of antisocial potential?

Long and short term.


What might increase an individual's long term antisocial potential?

- more impulsivity
- poorer family backgrounds
- socialisation
- sensation seeking
- lower intelligence
- negative life events


Those with _____ antisocial potential will be ______ criminally versatile.

Those with higher antisocial potential (more issues) will be more criminally versatile.


What might increase an individual's short term antisocial potential?

Situational factors:
- short term anger
- boredom
- misuse of alcohol/drugs
- marriage


Long term antisocial potential varies between what?

Different people


Short term antisocial potential varies between what?

Different points/times of the same person's life.


What is needed for short term antisocial potential to develop into long term antisocial potential?

Reinforcement of short term antisocial behaviour.


What was Franz Gall's idea about biological bases of offending?

Functional localisation. He thought that the shape of one's skull could predict personality traits.


Franz Gall was the founder of what?



What did Lombroso theorise about the predictions of criminality?

That criminals had specific defining physical characteristics. E.g. heavy brow, thick lips, etc.


What are the 4 main measures used to assess biological contributions to offending behaviour?

- Heritability (twin studies)
- Neurochemicals (oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin)
- Physiology (heart rate, perspiration, pupillary responses
- Brain structure and function (MRI, fMRI)


Dizygotic twins share what percentage of genetic material?



Monozygotic twins share what percentage of genetic material?



What did Blonigen et al., (2003) investigate and find in relation to twin studies and offending?

Measured 353 adult twins on their Psychopathic traits, using the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI). Found a significant correlation between Mz twins, but not Dz twins - indicating that psychopathic traits are more likely to be a result of biology than environment.


What does PPI stand for? (CLUE: it's not payment protection insurance)

Psychopathic Personality Inventory


What traits are measured on the PPI?

Lack of Fear
Stress Immunity


What did Plomin et al., (1990) find about heritability?

Review of 11 twin studies showed a moderately significant contribution of heritability in aggressive behaviours.


What did Miles and Carey (1997) find about heritability and aggression?

Meta analysis found that genetics and environmental factors account for up to 50% of variance in aggression.


What is hot aggression?

A reaction caused by a perceived wrong


What is another name for hot aggression?

Reactive aggression


What is cold aggression?

A means to an end for personal gain. More calculated and sinister.


What is another name for cold aggression?

Instrumental aggression.


What did Baker, Raine, Liu and Jacobsen (2008) find about heritability and the different types of aggression?

That, in boys, there is a greater heritability for proactive/instrumental/cold aggression (50%) than for reactive/hot aggression.
For girls, there was virtually no heritability for aggression - mostly environmental.


What did Brunner et al., (1993) find about MAOA and the warrior gene?

Found that a defective MAOA gene leads to the lack of production of functional MAOA, which regulates levels of monoamines such as serotonin and dopamine. Without functional MAOA, the levels of these monoamines increases, leading to aggressive, impulsive and violent behaviour, mood swings and correlated with low IQs.


XYY chromosome leads to what?

Rate of mentally disordered male patients being 40 times higher than the rate for the general population (those without the XYY chromosome).


Increased intranasal oxytocin in linked with what? (include studies)

- Increased trust in a game situation
(Baumgartner et al., 2008; Kosfeld et al., 2005)
- Increased generosity
(Zak, Stanton, & Ahmadi, 2007)
- Better performance in Reading Mind in Eyes Test
(Domes et al., 2007)


What does DLC stand for?

Developmental and Life-course Criminology


Name the 4 main DLC theories

- Moffit’s Adolescent Limited vs Life course persistent offending
- Lahey and Waldman’s Developmental Propensity Theory
- Thornberry and Krohn’s Interactionist Theory
- Sampson and Laub’s Age-Graded Informal Social Control theory


What is the main assumption of Moffit’s (1993) DLC theory?

There are two qualitatively different types of offenders: Adolescent limited offenders, (who commit crimes during teenage and early adult years, and cease doing so upon adulthood), and life course persistent offenders, (who offend from teenage years and persist throughout adulthood)


What is the main assumption of Lahey and Waldman’s (2005) Developmental Propensity Theory?

Conduct disorder and juvenile delinquency can be explained by referring to antisocial propensity, (one’s inclination to antisocial behaviours), of which the main features are cognitive ability, pro-sociality, daring attitudes and negative emotionality.


What is the main assumption of Thornberry and Krohn’s (2005) Interactionist Theory?

The causes of antisocial behaviour vary based on the age of offending onset. For offending which starts earliest, the most prominent influences may be neuropsychological deficits, temperament, parenting deficits and structural adversity.


What is the main assumption of Sampson and Laub’s (2005) Age-Graded Informal Social Control theory?

Offending occurs due to insufficient social bonds/insufficient age-graded informal social control. This age-graded informal social control can be measured by the strength of bonding to family members, friends and later social interaction sites such as schools, jobs and marriages. The motive causing offending is not problematic, but the social bonds (or lack of) formed by the offender are problematic.


What are the two main differences between the 4 main DLC theories?

- Sampson and Laub’s (2005) theory is based on an underlying theoretical construct, whereas Thornberry and Krohn’s (2005) Interactionist theory and Moffit’s (1993) theory do not.

- Sampson and Laub (2005) place emphasis on adult life events and factors that inhibit offending, rather than encouraging it.


What are the 5 main psychological theories of offending?

Bowlby’s Attachment Theory
Eysenck’s Personality Theory
Patterson’s Social Learning Theory
Walters’ Lifestyle Theory
ICAP Theory


What is the main assumption of Bowlby's Attachment theory?

Those who area deprived of maternal attachments for prolonged periods during the first 5 years of life, propensity for delinquency and affectionless character increases. This then increases the likelihood of these individuals becoming criminals


What is the main assumption of Eysenck’s Personality Theory?

Offending is natural and often rational, as humans seek out pleasure and avoid pain (are hedonistic). The conscience, a conditioned fear response, prevents most people from resolving their hedonistic desires illegally, and is built up through effective parenting/punishment during childhood. Those who have ineffective punishments or poor condition-ability are more likely to become offenders


What would Eysenck say is linked with poor condition-ability and why?

The 3 main personality features --> E – extroversion, N – neuroticism and P – psychoticism.

Extroverts have low levels of cortical arousal, neurotic individuals’ high anxiety interferes with conditioning and psychotic individuals have criminal characteristics.


What is the main assumption of Patterson’s Social Learning Theory?

Operant conditioning by parents heavily influence their children’s social learning. Parental punishment and reward for negative and positive behaviours dictate the child’s sense of right and wrong. Punishments have to be consistent and ideally avoid aggression and hostility.


What is the main assumption of Walters' Lifestyle Theory?

Criminal lifestyles involve rule-breaking, irresponsibility, self-indulgence and interpersonal intrusiveness. They develop due to certain cognitions, self beliefs and thinking styles and act to resolve desires for hedonistic pleasures, excitement-seeking, personal advantage and constructive or defensive reactions to fears or threats


What is the main assumption of the ICAP theory?

Everyone has some level of antisocial potential, but cognitive processes mediate the translation of antisocial potential to antisocial behaviour. Cognitive processes (such as cost-benefit analyses, stored scripts) taking account of opportunities and victims indicate one’s likelihood of offending behaviours


What are prenatal abnormalities?

Physical defects which arise from abnormal foetal development.


What are MPAs?

Minor physical anomalies


What might MPAs be caused by?

- Anoxia (lack of oxygen)
- Genes
- Infection
- Bleeding


The presence of MPAs is linked to what in males?

Increased aggression, violence and conduct problems.


Why might maternal smoking during pregnancy increase propensity to offending?

- predicts poor parenting
- maternal smoking affects key cortical and subcortical brain structures in the foetus
- maternal smoking may affect dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems..


What does FAS stand for?

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome


What are perinatal factors?

Occurrences which may affect babies in the weeks immediately before and after birth.


What are obstetrical complications?

Unexpected events occurring at the time of delivery


Name 3 examples of obstetrical complications.

- premature birth
- low birth weight
- maternal pre-eclampsia


What are the two findings from Liu et al (2009) relating to maternal complications at birth?

- Newborn babies suffering from obstetrical complications are more likely to demonstrate externalising behaviours at 11.

- Obstetrical complications mediated the link between low IQ and externalising behaviours.


What are postnatal risk factors?

Factors affecting the infant after birth.


Name an example of a postnatal risk factor. How does it link to behaviour and why might this link exist?

Nutrition. Poor nutrition/malnutrition has been shown to link with increased aggression and likelihood to behave antisocially.

Proteins and minerals may regulate neurotransmitters and hormones.


What does TBI stand for and how does it affect behaviour?

Traumatic brain injury. Linked with increases in antisocial behaviour/delinquency.


Psychopaths have been linked to having which type of attachment style (Frodi et al, 2001)?



What does ASPD stand for?

Antisocial Personality Disorder


What is ASPD defined as in the DSM-5?

A pervasive pattern of disregard for and the violation of the rights of others.


When mothers are unaffectionate, provide inadequate supervision, and fathers are deviant, what is the most likely outcome in children according to McCord (1979)?



What is the pre-cursor for ASPD?

Conduct disorder


How is conduct disorder defined by the DSM-5?

Repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviour in which the basic rights of others, and basic social conventions, are disregarded. Individuals may frequently misperceive the intentions of others as being more hostile and threatening than they actually are.


What did Raine et al (2000) find about the brains of individuals with ASPD?

Lower percentage (11% lower) of grey matter in the orbital prefrontal cortices in individuals with ASPD.