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Understanding Criminal Behaviour From Psychological Perspective

Investigating the underlying motives, thought processes, and behavioral patterns that lead to criminal activity is a complex and multidimensional field of study known as "psychological understanding of criminal behavior." This abstract offers a summary of important ideas and methods in the discipline of forensic psychology, emphasizing how social influences, environmental circumstances, and individual characteristics interact to shape criminal behavior.

Fundamentally, psychological theories of criminal conduct highlight how different psychological constructs such as personality traits, cognitive functions, and emotional states affect a person's propensity to commit crimes. For example, across age groups and cultural backgrounds, personality traits including impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and low empathy have been related to an elevated risk for criminal behavior.

Psychological studies of criminal behaviour examine the complex interplay of human thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in criminal activities. This approach aims to understand the psychological mechanisms driving individuals to engage in criminal activities and the factors contributing to their development and persistence.

This understanding is crucial for law enforcement, legal professionals, policymakers, and mental health practitioners to develop effective strategies for rehabilitation, intervention, and prevention within the criminal justice system. Psychological theories emphasize individual differences, cognitive processes, environmental factors, and social influences in shaping human conduct.

They provide insights into why certain individuals are more prone to commit crimes, how criminal thinking patterns evolve, and what interventions can be employed to address and mitigate criminal behaviour. A holistic approach that integrates psychological insights with sociological, criminological, and neuroscientific perspectives is essential for a deeper understanding of the root causes and contributing factors behind criminal acts.

Psychological Theories

Psychodynamic theory: This theory was originated by Sigmund Freud who is the founder of psychoanalysis. An individuals' mental strength starts from the childhood, from where he starts to learn and his growth for good or bad things start from there only. Person's personality is controlled by unconscious mental process that is grounded in early process. An individual's drive something is present at birth for instance food and other necessities. When someone develops moral standards and values of the family, friends, community, good or bad behaviour is developed is super ego.

Somethings happened in the childhood is constantly drawn in the person's mind, anger, depression, anxiety of childhood shows up in future. Childhood worst experiences will affect the future by way of anxiety, stress and depression that is the main reason most of the youth or teenagers indulge themselves in crimes. Most of the youth in nowadays are drug addict because of theirr family issues or issues relating to relationships or if there is doing drugs, they also get influenced for the mere sake of popularity amongst their friends or group or in school or later part of their life which is the college or work.

Also, a child whose mother faced domestic violence from his father or his paternal side the child will develop criminal intent towards his relatives. An individual's behaviour reflects his maturity level, what is his thought about crime.

Behavioural theory: Behavioural theories in psychological theories focus on how learned behaviours and environmental factors contribute to criminal behaviour. These theories include classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social learning, and reinforcement and punishment. Classical conditioning, developed by Ivan Pavlov, suggests that behaviours are learned through associations between stimuli. Operant conditioning developed by B.F. Skinner, focuses on how behaviour is influenced by its consequences. Social learning, influenced by Albert Bandura, suggests that individuals learn behaviours by observing others and imitating them. Reinforcement and punishment are also key in shaping behaviour. These theories have practical implications for interventions aimed at reducing criminality, such as behaviour modification programs, cognitive behavioural therapy, and social skills training. This is based on early age of teenagers where a child needs proper attention, love, and care from their parents. Parents need to protect the children not to indulge in the world of alcohol, drugs, and smoking. It also associates with the surrounding and environment of the children living which can also influence them to indulge in criminal behaviours. So, the parents of the children need to monitor them regularly at their early stage and show them the love and care they need.

Cognitive theory: Cognitive is defined as an ability to process information. Cognitive theory is based on how we think, how we perceive the world around us and the factors that influence our mental development(i.e.) family upbringing, parental modelling, and personality intelligence. This theory is based on how behaviour is influenced by the process of individual reasoning. It mainly focuses on how a person solve the problem and perceive social environment. It is said that a person who indulges in violence is very less in moral standard. According to cognitive theory, criminal behaviour is explained in terms of the mental processes of an individual. Under cognitive theory, moral thinking and information processing are the two important aspects. Moral development is the process by which people develop the distinction between what is right and what is wrong and engage in reasoning between the two. Moral knowledge is to understand how individuals morally represent the world and how do people reason about that world. In information processing, the focus is to study how people acquire, retrieve, and retain information.

Psychopathology And Criminal Behaviour

According to the DSM-5, neuro developmental disorders are a critical link between psychopathology and criminal behavior because they impair social, educational, vocational, and personal functioning. Diseases such as certain learning disorders, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders may adversely impact the development of empathy. Issues with anger control and a lack of empathy are underlying causes of violent behavior, indicating a positive correlation between empathy deficits and criminal activity.

"Schizophrenia, Schizotypal, and Delusional Disorders" is the umbrella term for schizophrenia, a psychiatric illness characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and social dysfunction. Schizophrenia and related disorders, such as bipolar and depressive disorders, have been linked to criminal activity due to their explosive and exuberant affect. Manic episodes can result in grandiosity, extreme confidence, and violent outbursts. Additionally, fraud, sexual harassment, and mania can lead to theft offenses. Perceived shame, humiliation, or narcissistic injury are among the causes of criminality in depression. Suicide following homicide is often linked to psychosis or acute depression.

Anxiety disorders are emotional states that can follow criminal activity, often characterized by significant concern and unease with a subjective scenario. The fear of being taken into custody, losing one's freedom, and becoming known as an "ex-convict" in the community is presumed to be the root cause of these disorders. Obsessive-compulsive disorder and similar illnesses are characterized by repressed impulses and fixation traits during the anal phase. According to Freud, to cope with anxiety, individuals with these disorders regress to the anal stage of psychosexual development.

To manage aggressive and sexual impulses, three defense strategies are employed: reaction formation, undoing, and isolation. These techniques involve separating an impulse from its emotional content, negating an action with its opposite, and establishing patterns of behavior that contradict one's primary inclinations. However, there is a lack of research on the connection between criminal behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Individuals with trauma-related disorders experience terror, powerlessness, or horror-related emotions that result in hyperarousal symptoms, re-experiencing traumatic events, and avoiding trauma-related stimuli. Trauma survivors often turn to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms for their feelings of guilt and hyperarousal, which can increase their likelihood of committing crimes. Intense rage behavior can lead to acts of violence and an increase in criminal activity due to the pharmacological effects of alcohol and other substances.

Dissociative disorders are mental illnesses that affect memory, identity, emotion, perception, behavior, and sense of self, causing impairments in mental functioning. Amnesia, fugue, and multiple personalities are common symptoms. When an individual has multiple personalities, different personas can dominate their attitudes and actions, potentially increasing criminal activity.

Excessive and exaggerated worry about physical symptoms is a feature of somatic symptom disorders. This is frequently a mood state that follows criminal action rather than contributing to it. Anxiety disorders stem from extreme anxiety brought on by the fear of being arrested, of having to eat, drink, and sleep with strangers, and of being labelled as an "ex-convict" by the public.

Two types of sleep disorders include behavioural and physiological abnormalities during sleep and initiation or continuation disorders, which include dyssomnia and parasomnia. In criminal trials, these diseases are frequently invoked as defences. Sleepwalking is a common symptom of several disorders that can lead to criminal action. The diseases classified as paraphilias, sexual identity disorders, and sexual dysfunctions involve physiological reactions to sexual stimuli and are associated with gender complaints, sexual dysfunctions, and sexual perversion disorders.

Sexual autonomy violations, aggressive acts toward children, invasions of privacy, and even the murder of a deceased person's body are all consequences of these diseases. Behavioural issues including hostility and rule breaking, as well as a persistent incapacity to carry out destructive behaviours, are characteristics of disruptive disorders, including impulse control and conduct disorders. There are two types of these diseases: childhood-onset and adolescent-onset. Physical aggression and trouble forming peer relationships are hallmarks of childhood-onset disorders. Conversely, illnesses that manifest throughout adolescence have a lower effect on violent behaviour and peer interactions and are less severe.

Psychopath And Attributes

Relation between psychopathy and gender: antisocial personality disorder, another name for psychopathy, is a disorder marked by harmful and maladaptive behaviours like lying, impulsivity, and crime-committing without regret. These people do not feel guilty or are impacted by the penalty they get. Research has indicated a connection between functional brain variations in psychopathic behaviour and gender, especially in offenders. Compared to male criminals, female offenders typically attempt fewer crimes, are less cunning, and inflict more self-harm.

They frequently display high degrees of physical aggression, commit more violent crimes, and commit acts that draw attention. High levels of EEG abnormalities, with slow waves being the most common abnormality, were found in the brains of male and female psychopathic criminals. The bilateral frontal and centroparietal regions showed higher levels of beta energy in the male group; the paralimbic cortex, parieto-occipital regions, and basal ganglia were also found to be affected.

The sense and identification of fear, which informs choices in unpredictable circumstances, is impaired in male psychopaths. There is a chance that this lack of fear and empathy are related. Emotional, judgmental, and ethical conduct issues can result from abnormalities in specific brain regions that make up the ethical circuit.

A diminished functional connection between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex in men, as well as a weakness in the connectivity between brain regions that are part of the default mode network, are linked to psychopathic traits. The gender-based synchronization discrepancies could suggest that male offenders suffer from impairment in brain connections associated to decision-making and emotional regulation.

Relation between psychopathy and juvenile: The use of psychopathic personality traits to detect children with behavioural issues has been investigated in recent research. Studies have indicated that children who exhibit callous-unemotional features in addition to conduct difficulties are more likely to engage in severe and chronic antisocial behaviour. As a result, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders now lists callous-unemotional features as a specifier for a severe subgroup of conduct disorders. However, these investigations have generally ignored the whole spectrum of psychopathic personality.

According to community-based research, conduct issues alone or in conjunction with callous-unemotional qualities are not as closely linked to antisocial consequences as conduct difficulties with psychopathic personality traits. This indicates that additional research on the multicomponent model of psychopathic personality is necessary to better understand the behaviour difficulties of children who belong to specific subgroups.

Although there has been a lot of discussion regarding the link between antisocial and criminal behaviour and psychopathic personality features, little is known about the other consequences, such as mental and drug use illnesses. Prior research has indicated that psychopathic personality traits in childhood and adolescence are linked to a higher risk of substance abuse; however, these connections are frequently driven by the traits' comorbidity with conduct issues in childhood. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is linked to a higher risk of substance abuse and criminality, and it frequently coexists with both internalizing and externalizing illnesses.

Big Five And Criminal Behaviour

Research has indicated that certain characteristics, such conscientiousness, and agreeableness, are strongly linked to a variety of criminal activities. For example, conscientiousness and agreeableness predict adult criminal activity, but delinquent behaviour is predicted by agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Drug-dealing, burglary, and strong-arming behaviour are characteristics of 12�13-year-old delinquents who score higher on extraversion and lower on agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness. Along with conscientiousness and agreeableness, neuroticism is also a predictor of delinquent behaviour. Self-reported vandalism has a positive correlation with neuroticism and a negative correlation with agreeableness and conscientiousness.

When compared to adolescents who are not delinquent, the antisocial under controllers have moderate scores on extraversion, openness, and neuroticism and extremely low scores on agreeableness and conscientiousness. This makes them the most delinquent subtype. In both men and women, physical violence is linked to high neuroticism, poor conscientiousness, and low agreeableness. Partner violence and neuroticism are closely related personality types.

Pen Factors And Criminality

Psychoticism, extraversion, and neuroticism are three crucial personality traits associated with criminal conduct, according to Eysenck's PEN Model. In comparison to non-delinquents, delinquents frequently score higher on PEN dimensions. While psychoticism is characterized by lack of empathy, brutality, hostility, psychopathy, aggressiveness, and socialization deficit, high neuroticism scores point to emotional instability, impulsivity, and antisocial behaviour. The psychoticism and neuroticism scores of adult offenders are frequently high.

The traits of psychoticism include impulsivity, limited empathy, hostility, and aggression. Because they are more likely to be exposed to dangerous and socially unacceptable activities, people with high Imps scores are also more prone to commit crimes. Research has indicated a favourable correlation between the pursuit of sensations and reckless and illegal activities, including but not limited to alcohol and illicit drug misuse, smoking, and unsafe sexual conduct.

Cognitive Distortion

In criminology and social psychology, the term "cognitive distortion" (CD) refers to erroneous or biased interpretations of social events. CD is frequently linked to antisocial behaviour or a poor ability to understand social situations. Frequently classified as antisocial and criminogenic, it shields people from responsibility or a poor self-image. CDs have a role in the negative emotional and behavioural reactions that can finally result in criminal and abnormal behaviour.

According to studies, CDs can trigger a variety of aggressive and antisocial behaviours. Juvenile delinquency and child sexual abuse are very closely linked to CDs. Research has indicated that CDs are more common among the population of offenders, including young people who have engaged in sexual offenses. Additionally, CDs are commonly linked to sexual murderers, who are characterized by offensive and supporting views.

Rather than being the result of autonomous beliefs, CDs among sexual offenders arose from underlying causal theories. Delinquents had higher CDs than non-delinquents, according to earlier validation research. CDs can take many different forms, including denial, reduction, justification, and rationalization of offending behaviour, and they are frequently associated with externalizing behaviour problems.

Psychopath And Recidivism

One psychological risk factor that can be used to predict recidivism in a variety of clinical settings and samples is the Hare PCL-R. It is a key tool for directing clinical assessments of criminal recidivism and dangerousness since it reliably predicts recidivism. The average correlation between the PCL-R scores and recidivism was 0.27 for general recidivism, 0.27 for violent recidivism, and 0.23 for sexual recidivism.

These relationships hold true with other recognized findings from biological and behavioural studies. Psychopaths have greater overall recidivism rates than non-psychopaths, according to relative risk data. Though they were more equally correlated with violent recidivism, PCL-R Factors 2 and 1 were stronger than PCL-R Factor 1 and general recidivism. Scholars have repeatedly observed that PCL-R scores provide distinct information to the recidivism prediction beyond that provided by important criminal history, demographic factors, and personality disorder diagnoses.

Since this review, more recidivism studies that use The Hare PCL-R as a predictor variable have been published, extending the validity and reliability of the PCL-R. The claim put forth by Salekin in their separately carried out meta-analyses, which the PCL-R predicts recidivism in samples of juvenile offenders, female offenders, male federal criminals, forensic offenders, and sex offenders, is directly addressed by this research. The size of the results has been comparable to what the current review reports.

Criminal behaviour is greatly impacted by psychopathy, an illness marked by impulsivity, manipulation, and a lack of empathy. Recidivism is more likely as a result, particularly for severe and violent crimes. Due to resistance to standard therapy and limitations in tools such as the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, diagnosing and treating psychopathy can be difficult. Interventions designed to lower the recidivism rate among psychopathic offenders are crucial despite these obstacles. Targeted rehabilitation programs and cognitive-behavioural therapy seem promising, but additional study is required to create efficient therapies.

It is essential to comprehend the fundamental causes of psychopathy and how it affects criminal behaviour. Policymakers, mental health providers, and criminal justice practitioners need to work together to create thorough methods for diagnosing, treating, and managing risk for people who exhibit psychopathic tendencies. To address the issues raised by psychopathy in the context of criminal behaviour, a multidisciplinary and evidence-based strategy is required.

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Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Keerthi Kumar.R
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