Explaining the Criminal Mind in 60 Minutes: Introduction to the Psychology of Crime | Margit Averdijk, Ph.D. | Skillshare

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Explaining the Criminal Mind in 60 Minutes: Introduction to the Psychology of Crime

teacher avatar Margit Averdijk, Ph.D., Criminologist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

20 Lessons (56m)
    • 1. Promo free course

    • 2. 1.1 Introduction

    • 3. 1.2 About Me

    • 4. 1.3 Course Program

    • 5. 2.1 Personality, Plus EXERCISE

    • 6. 2.2 VIDEO: Example: "Types of People" and Crime

    • 7. 2.3 Summing Up

    • 8. 3..1 Mental Disorders and Crime

    • 9. 3.2 VIDEO: Case Study of Psychopathy and Aileen Wuornos

    • 10. 3.3 Summing Up

    • 11. 4.1 Aggression across the Life-Course

    • 12. 4.2 VIDEO: Life-Course Persistent vs. Adolescence-Limited Offenders

    • 13. 4.3 Summing Up

    • 14. 5.1 Social Cognitions: Imitating Others

    • 15. 5.2 VIDEO: Example: The Bobo Doll Experiment

    • 16. 5.3 Social Cognitions: Processing Information

    • 17. 5.4 VIDEO: Understanding Right and Wrong: Moral Development

    • 18. 5.5 Example: Morality, Feelings, and Delinquency

    • 19. 5.6 Summing Up

    • 20. 6 Conclusion

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About This Class

The learning objectives of this course are:

- Speak about the psychology of crime like an expert even if you’ve never followed a criminology course in college.

- Transform the way in which you understand why people commit crime.

- Educate the people around you about the psychological backgrounds of criminal behavior.

- Apply your newly gained knowledge by critically assessing daily news items about real crimes.

- Improve your performance in psychology and criminology classes.

Course Description

Have you ever wondered what some of the psychological causes of crime are? Do you want to understand better why some people commit crime whereas others don’t?

This free course serves as a brief introduction to the psychology of crime. More specifically, we’ll look into the question of which psychological factors can explain why some people commit crime. We’ll look at several main areas:

  • Personality – How does personality play a role in criminal behavior?
  • Mental Disorders – How can mental disorders contribute to crime?
  • Psychopathy – What is psychopathy and how is it related to crime?
  • Developmental Psychology – How do aggression and youth violence develop across the life course?
  • Thoughts and Feelings about Aggression and Crime – What is the role of thinking and moral emotions in aggression and crime?

Each of these aspects will be covered using comprehensive videos and slide presentations. To make things as engaging as possible, I will also provide examples of major studies, experiments, and a case study. In addition, you can test your newly gained knowledge with quiz questions at the end of each module.

This course is taught by a trained criminologist with over a decade of experience and is based on a university curriculum. But instead of having to show up in a lecture room, reading a full textbook, and paying college tuition, you can enroll in this course in your own time and at your own convenience.

I’m looking forward to seeing you inside!

***About half of this free course is part of my full introduction to explaining crime on Skillshare; the other half is unique content especially added for this course. If you’re looking to get your feet wet and get a quick intro to the psychology of crime, this is a great place to start.***

Meet Your Teacher

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Margit Averdijk, Ph.D.



Hello, I'm Margit. I am a criminologist by training and am passionate about the fascinating field of criminology and crime prevention. I have gained extensive experience with doing research, teaching, and public speaking in the domain of criminology over the course of the past decade. I am a senior university researcher and have published in the top journals in the field. I'm looking forward to the chance to share what I've learned with you!

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1. Promo free course: welcome to this quick course on the psychology of crime, where you will learn of the psychology of people's minds, can explain their criminal behavior. I am market, and I will be teaching this course. I am a social scientist with a PhD in criminology and over 10 years of experience I have published in the top scientific journals in the field, and I'm currently a senior university researcher. In addition to that, I've taught courses, a university and on research for various well known organizations and NGOs. Internationally, I made this course for anybody who wants to be able to speak about the psychology of criminal behavior like an expert. At the end of this course, you can talk about current Habs criminal logical topics with confidence. This course is a section for my full online course on criminal logical theories, but it also works as a standalone course for anybody who wants to get a first look at the mind and criminal behaviour. And just because I think this stuff is so interesting, I've added in seven extra lecturers that are not available in my other course. Well, look at questions like, What are the psychological crosses for why some people commit crime and others don't. What does personality have to do with it? What is psychopathy and how does child problem behaviour relate to later delinquency? The ideal students for this course, our psychology or criminology? Students, social workers, people who work in law enforcement and more in general people who like to learn more about the psychology of crime without having to enroll in a full college course? The only requirement for this course is to be open minded, So feel free to check out the course information, and I'm looking forward to seeing you inside. 2. 1.1 Introduction: hi there. And welcome to this free course on the psychology of crime. In this course, I'll give you a brief overview off some of the most common psychological explanations for criminal behavior. The lectures in this free course are in part actually from my larger online introduction to criminology course. That course includes not just psychological explanations for crime, but also, for example, biological and sociological ones that I won't cover here. But I thought it would be really interesting to add a couple of lectures to discourse to show you some additional ways in which psychology relates the crime. And so what I've done is added in seven extra lectures that are not part of my larger criminology course. And so those lectures are unique to this course. The idea that committing crime must have something to do with a person's psychology. Your mental health is not new. You may have heard off the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud, for example, with his psychoanalytic approach about how took how unconscious minds are related to behavior. In this course, I'll talk more about modern psychological explanations that look at to what extend There are differences between how offenders and non offenders think, feel and behave. The idea here is that people all go through a series of developments during their life, for example, through certain cognitive, emotional and sexual stages. And for many people these stages develop normally. But for some people they do not. For example, they may experienced something traumatic. And when this normal development is interrupted, someone may start to display problem behaviour, as mentioned, this short courses about the psychology of crime. But this is actually not an entirely correct formulation. Psychologists often times do not so much talk about crime or criminal behavior, but more in general about anti social behavior or deviants. And the reason for that is quite simple, namely, that the definition of what a crime is as a large part to do with criminal law and with what the law in a particular state and in a particular time has determined to be criminal. Instead, psychology focuses much more broadly on human behavior, and not just on what the law says about that behavior. This course is both about psychology and about criminology, and so I'll use different terms, including criminal behaviour, anti social behavior and deviants. In the next lecture I'll give you a quick description off myself and how I got into criminology, and then I'll give you an overview of what we'll talk about in this course. 3. 1.2 About Me: so we've talked about what crime is. But before we go on, I thought it might be helpful if you got the chance to know a little bit more about me and what makes me competent to teach this course. So I am market. I am a criminologist and university senior researcher. I've always been fascinated by the question of why people commit crime and how we can prevent it from happening. I used to want to be a police officer when I grew up, but that didn't ever really happen. Instead, I started learning about criminology about 20 years ago in college when I was studying public policy. Then after that, I went on and got my PhD in criminology. Over the course of the past decade or so, I've completed many criminal logical research studies and published in the top journals in the field. I've taught courses in university, and I have also advised or done research for governmental institutions and NGOs like the World Health Organization and the U. S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, among others. My own research focuses mostly on victims of crime and on the question of how people develop criminal behavior across their life course, but I'm basically interested in every sub field within the fascinating domain of criminology. Hopefully, I can transfer some of what I've learned to you. I'm excited to get started, and I hope you are too. 4. 1.3 Course Program: in this course will look at a number of different psychological explanations for why some people commit crime and other people don't. And we'll start out with the question of what different types of personality exists and how heaven a certain type of personality is related to committing crimes. Then we'll move on to the topic of mental disorders and also psychopathy and what they mean in terms of crime in the section. After that, I'll talk about the fascinating field of developmental psychology, which is about how people develop across the life course and about how crime develops across the life course. So in that section will be looking at questions like, Do people generally commit crime across their whole life course? Or do they tend to stop at a certain point? And finally, we'll see how Childrens and adolescents thoughts and feelings about committing crime influence whether or not they get involved in aggression and crime later on. As I mentioned before, this courses on psychological explanations for crime, and so I haven't included sociological and biological explanations, and I like to stress that this course is not about coming up with excuses or apologies for why some people commit crime. Instead, it's about explanations for criminal behavior, which is something else entirely. To make things as practical as far as possible, I've included examples of major studies and a real life example throughout the sections, and you can find a full list of studies that I'll talk about and studies for further reading in the resource is list in this section, So let's dig into the first topic in this course, which is on personality and crime. 5. 2.1 Personality, Plus EXERCISE: in this module will look at different ways in which psychology effects crime will discuss how mental disorders and psychopathy are related to criminal behavior. And as you'll see, there is sometimes overlap with biological factors. But we'll start out with personality in everyday life, and when we look at other people, we often characterize them in certain ways. Some people are extroverted and outgoing. Other people are more introverted and shy. Some people are seen as typical leader personality, whereas other people are seen as more supportive team members. Some people are set to have a great personality without it really being clear what that means, and often what we say things like That's just why am we refer to our personality based on the type of person we think somebody is. We expect certain behaviors off them. We might not expect a shy person to speak up in public, and we might not expect an extroverted person to sit at home by themselves. Personality is thought of is very pervasive, and it is not uncommon for employers, for example, to have employees take personality tests before they hire them. Before I jump into the question of how personality types are related to crime, it's necessary to talk a little bit about personality and how there are different personality types. So before I continue, I want to ask you to read yourself and take a brief personality test. This link This address takes you to a webpage where you can click on the start button. I'm not affiliated with this website, but it has very useful tests, and that's why I chose it. Feel free to pause the video here, complete the test. It's anonymous, and it should take you around 3 to 8 minutes to complete and then when you're done, will continue. Okay, so by now you've probably done the test. At the end of the test, you should have received your results. So let's briefly talk about how to interpret the results. Here are the results off a hypothetical person. All of the items that you answered belonged to one off five personality traits. These air called the Big Five, and we'll talk about those in a second. Your results are twofold. First, for each of the five personality traits, you received a raw score. Those are the collard Bard's. Second, the table gives you a score percentile, and this indicates what percent of other people use scored higher than so for this person. The raw score for extra version seems to be not very high, and that is confirmed in the score percentile because it shows that he or she scored higher on extra version than only 16% of people who also took the test. On the other hand, he or she scored high on emotional stability because this person scored higher than 84% of other people. All right, so let's talk a little bit about what these five factors factors actually mean. Let's start with openness, intellect or imagination. This reflects the extent to which people are open to new ideas and new adventures. People with high openness are thought of as curious, imaginative and creative. On the other hand, people who cling to traditional ideas and habits and who are not so much into new ideas they are thought off as low on openness. Then there is conscientiousness, people who are high on conscientiousness. They are organized, they prepare well, they pay attention to detail and they do not procrastinate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, people who are Lohan Conscientiousness are not so organized but more spontaneous. They might be seen as messy, and they don't finish that tasks. That's that one is extra version. This is a dimension that is pretty well known. Extroverted people like being around other people and talking to people. And they have lots of friends and enjoy making new friends introverted people. On the other hand, they are more quiet. They feel comfortable when they're alone, and they feel energy drained when they have to socialize a lot. There's also agreeableness. People who are high on agreeable knows they care about other people. They're focused on cooperating with other people, and they enjoy helping others. People who are low on agreeableness. On the other hand, they are not really interested in other people, and they're much more focused on competition with other people than on how to help people. And the last one is neuroticism or emotional instability. People who are high on neuroticism are usually less stable emotionally, meaning that they experienced things like anxiety and mood swings. They worry a lot and they get upset easily. People who are low on emotionality. On the other hand, they can handle stress well. They don't often feel depressed, and they're generally more relaxed than worried. That's remember all five elements off the Big Five. You can take the first letters of each, which spells the word ocean or canoe if you prefer. So let's now look at the question of whether personality type is related to crime. 6. 2.2 VIDEO: Example: "Types of People" and Crime: The idea behind personality based explanations of crime is that people who commit crime have certain personality characteristics. Number of studies have shown that personality type is indeed related to crime, meaning that if a person has certain personality characteristics, they are more likely to commit crime than people who do not have those particular personality characteristics. More specifically, it looks like some of the personality traits of the Big Five that we saw in the pre fuse lecture are related to criminal behavior. In other words, having these particular Big Five trades make people more likely to commit crime, whereas having other Big Five traits make people less likely to commit crime. And we'll see for each of these five trades, which those are, and we'll start with conscientiousness. People who are more conscientious generally show less anti social behavior. If you remember, Conscientiousness is the trade that refers to having self discipline to control impulses, into think before acting, so vice versa. People who have less self discipline have less control over their impulses and don't tend to think as much before they act. They have a higher risk of showing anti social behavior, then agreeable news agreeableness refers to caring about other people and cooperating with other people when it comes to crime. It was found that people who are more agreeable generally show less anti social behavior. Vice versa. People who are less agreeable generally show more anti social behavior. Why is that so? Well, people who are agreeable are relatively helpful and considerate, which doesn't align as much with committing crime. And finally, for neuroticism, it looks like things can go into both directions. Neuroticism is a really complex one. On the one hand, people who are less emotionally stable, maybe mawr impulsive, and so they may get into trouble more easily. But people who are less emotionally stable also tend to be more afraid, which can prevent them from committing crime. So the answer is not as straightforward here. Neuroticism seems to be related to criminal behavior. But whether neuroticism increases or decreases the risk that somebody will commit crime can really depend on the measurement of neuroticism. It could be related to mawr impulsive behavior, but also to more fear. Now, what about extra version and openness? The results are not as robust hair, either. They are not related to criminal behavior or there is only a small effect. So it looks like the association between extra version and an anti social behavior and between openness and criminal behaviour is relatively weak. So overall there is considerable evidence that personality type is indeed related to criminal behavior. People have certain personality characteristics have a higher risk of committing crime than other people. And, more specifically, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism have the most robust effects in the next lecture will go through another way in which psychology effects crime, namely, will talk about mental disorders. 7. 2.3 Summing Up: all right, So in this section I talked about personality, and we saw how there are five different personality personality types in the so called Big Five classification off personality, namely openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. And then we saw how personality type is related to criminal behavior and how certain traits , especially low conscientiousness, low agreeableness and neuroticism are associated with criminal behavior. In the next section will turn to another psychological explanation for crime, which focuses on mental disorders as well a psychopathy so see you there. 8. 3..1 Mental Disorders and Crime: a number of years ago, there was a Hollywood movie called Primal Fear, and in that movie Richard Gere played a defense attorney who got a case with a stuttering altar boy, and that altar boy was played by Edward Norton. Now at one Norton. Norton's character was accused of murdering the archbishop, and one of the defining moment in that movie was when his character suddenly transformed into another person. So he changed from a stuttering boy to a new GREss it and dominant person. And that indicated that he had an identity disorder where he had multiple personalities. And because of that, this order, his character in the end, was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and he was placed in a mental hospital. Now, if you haven't seen the movie, here's a spoiler alert at what Norton's character turned out in the end to have staged the whole thing. So he doesn't in fact have an identity disorder. But I wanted to start this section with that movie because it's a useful example of how mental disorders could affect crime. So when it comes to psychological explanations off crime, it's about how some people experience a nor non normal development. For example, if a child is abused or experiences some other type of trauma that may impair a normal functioning in a normal development off the child's behavior and psychology. And it may actually set kids on a pathway towards developing, for example, on antisocial personalities, order and a long term, persistent criminal career. In other words, criminal behavior, maybe an expression, often internal, psychological issue research has found that there is indeed a link between violent behavior and mental disorders. But the question is, why is that the case? Now? Mental disorders may include things like paranoid psychotic symptoms schizophrenia, and it appears that there are at least two reasons. Two pathways. How mental disorders are linked to violence. First, some of these mental disorders are characterized by delusional beliefs, and these may make people feel like they're threatened. And they may react with violence to these perceived threats and believes. But there is also another pathway, and that is that people with mental disorders are exposed to much more stressful life events than other people. Now, stressful life events may include things like losing their job, seeing household members move out, getting into financial problems and in general getting less social support from other people. And because of thes stresses and the lower social support, they may resort to violence to solve the problems that they face to end this section. I think it's important to say that indeed, mental disorder is are higher among people who commit crime than among people who do not commit crime. But at the same time, it's important to know that many people with mental illnesses live in the community without any problems. So even though there is this link between mental disorders and violence, it is not the case of this applies to everybody with a mental disorder. 9. 3.2 VIDEO: Case Study of Psychopathy and Aileen Wuornos: so we've already seen that personality type and mental disorders are linked to criminal behavior. As the last topic in this module, I'll talk a little bit about psychopathy, which is a personality disorder. The term cycle path is fairly widespread and used often in the popular media. Think, for example, of the movie American Psycho, where Christian Bale plays an investment banker who seems to be very successful and who has a life that appears to be very hip and trendy but who secretly has a second life full of assault and cold blooded murder. Psychopathy is characterized by several things. First, a low empathy for other people, meaning having little regard for the feelings of others and not having close bonds with others. Second, having low guilt and remorse, and third, having a sense of fearlessness and not being responsive to punishment. Psychopathy is associated with the most severe and chronic anti social behavior, and the causes for it have been studied, and what's been found is that genes and dysfunction in certain brain regions seem tohave a considerable influence on psychopathy. But there are also social factors, such as having had parents who used harsh parenting techniques that plea, ruled Canadian psychologist Robert Hare has developed a psychopathy checklist, which is called the PCL, are psychopathy checklist. Revised hair is a copy of that list. It contains 20 items, so it's a little difficult to see here all of the items on this screen. But if you can see it properly, no worries. I've included the list in The resource is for this section, and you're welcome to check it out there. For each of these items, one assesses whether that characteristic is not present here in the first column off the three somewhat present or definitely present in an individual for not present, one would enter a score of zero for somewhat present. One would enter a score of one and for definitely present a score off to. So, for example, the first item here is a glibness or superficial charm. If this is definitely present in a person, the score for this item would be to if it's not present zero and somewhat present a one same thing with the second characteristic egocentricity. One enters the score, and then one continues with the entire list of characteristics so you can see prove nous to boredom. here. Number three about a lot of pathological lying and deception. Number four, lack of sincerity. Number five here lack over more. So guild Sorry, Number six here and the list goes on and on when one has completed all of the items, then you some of the responses across all 20 items. So in that way, the maximum score across all of the items would be 40 because the maximum score per item is too. And then, uh, two times 20 makes 40 people who score more than 25 to £30 points. They are sent to display psychopathy. Why's it 25 to 30? So the score is 25 in the UK and 30 in the U. S. So in the UK, people who score more than 25 points are set to display psychopathy in the US People who score more than 30 points are set to display psychopathy, a really life example of someone for whom the PCL art was completed. His Eileen Warner's She was a serial killer who was the main character in the movie Monster , where she was played by Charlie Stare in. Her story has been analysed by scientists so let's talk a little bit about what they found out so that her pathway into becoming a serial killer becomes clear. So she was born in Michigan, and her background was one of significant deprivation. Her parents were two teenagers who got divorced around the time that she was born and her father was absent. He was an alcoholic who was sentenced for raping a young girl, and he committed suicide in prison. Her mother was also an alcoholic, and she left her baby. Eileen warn us with her grand parents, who were also alcoholic and emotionally and physically abusive. Already, when Eileen Warners was a child, she started to show behavioral problems such as fighting, stealing and setting fires, and she also had a low I. Q. She became pregnant at age 13 and was forced to give up her son for adoption. Then, when she became an adolescent, she started drinking, running away, using drugs, panhandling and prostituting herself as a prostitute. She was sexually and physically abused by her clients, and she was arrested for a range of crimes. During that time, she also tried to commit suicide multiple times that had many short term relationships at age 34 warn US killed seven men over a one year period. Her victims were all middle itch men, and they were all killed with a firearm afterwards, Warn Us said that she killed them because she wanted to rob them and she wanted to eliminate them as potential witnesses. She was executed by lethal injection in 2002. Three Experts Court Warner's on the PCL R checklist that you just saw, and they reached the conclusion that she scored 32 out of 40 points. She also met the criteria for anti social personality disorder, which is characterized by a lack of regard for moral values and for the feelings of other people. And she was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which is a mental disorder where people have extreme variations and moods, emotions and behavior regarding the factors that could have cost the diagnosis off psychopathy and mental disorders. In the case of Warner's thesis, psychiatrists who studied her case think that these diagnosis were likely caused by her traumatic childhood and the physical and sexual abuse that she experienced. As I mentioned in the previous section, these can disrupt normal human development. Also, they concluded that there may have been a genetic influence towards violence that she may have inherited from her father and that that may have contributed to her choice to murder other people. And some. This case study shows how psychopathy can be related to committing serious violence crimes in this case murder. 10. 3.3 Summing Up: okay. In this section we focused on mental disorders and on psychopathy and how these two factors are related to people's criminal behavior. I talked about the different ways in which mental disorder have been linked to crime, and we also saw what the characteristics of psychopathy are, as well as an example of a checklist of that has been used in real crimes. To score offenders on psychopathy in the next section will turn to another area of psychology that provides insights into crime and criminal behaviour, namely to developmental psychology. 11. 4.1 Aggression across the Life-Course: in this section will have a look at the field of developmental psychology. Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology that looks at how people develop across their life course so how they developed from childhood to teenager to adult and two elderly person. A lot of the focus of developmental psychology is on Children and teenagers, perhaps because so much happens during this time, it seems a little strange to talk about Children when we're talking about crime and criminal behavior, because young Children have not reached the age of criminal responsibility yet. But one of the ideas underlying developmental psychology is that early development can help explain why people commit crime later on in life. And in addition to that, early aggressive behaviour by young Children can be related to later violence. Now, one of the expert applications of developmental psychology has been to aggression and violence, and the types of questions that are answered in this area are things like How does aggression develop across the life course? What are the early early risk factors that make some individuals start to show aggression? And how can people's aggressive behavior change over time? Now, here is what the development off violence over the life course usually looks like this is a graph for the United States, but it's widely applicable. What you can see here is a graph of three crime types. Murder and non negligent manslaughter, which is a darker line. Forcible rape, which is the dash line with the squares and robbery, which is the desh line with the triangles on the Y axis that is the bird ical axes. You can see the number of crimes and then on the X X is that is the horizontal axis. You can see age going from about 10 toe over 60 years old. As you can see for all three crime types, crime increases dramatically in the teenage years. Then it peaks somewhere around age 17 or 18. And then there's another dramatic change when it decreases sharply. So as you can see, the bulk of crime occurs in late adolescence and in early adult hood. Now, this is what is the case for the average person. But not everybody is average. Of course, there are differences between people, with some people showing this exact pattern that you see here and other people not showing this better And it would be really interesting, of course, to see which different patterns exist, so that's what we'll do in the next lecture. 12. 4.2 VIDEO: Life-Course Persistent vs. Adolescence-Limited Offenders: as mentioned in the previous lecture. In general, crime and violence speak in late adolescence and early adult hood, but not everybody at here. So this general pattern and so it would be interesting to see which different patterns exist. And exactly those different patterns were teased out in one of the really influential pieces of research that has been done in this area, which was done by cycle psychologist Terrie Moffitt. In that study, she looked at the different pathways or criminal careers, as they're also called off youth offenders and that when they got into crime and when they stop, According to Moffett, there are basically two groups of teenage offenders or two types of what is called trajectories. The first group is that of the so called life course. Persistent offender. This trajectory starts early in life. Thes Children start to show problem behaviour early on. And as you can see in this graph, Moffett propose that this is only a small group of adolescents who show this type of behavior. It's less than 10% but their criminal career is very lengthy and consistent and continues well into adulthood. The second group, muff it calls adolescence limited offenders. These issues offend Onley in their teenage years, so their involvement in crime is only temporary. And once they get older, they stop offending. This is a much larger group off youth. So many more youth belong to this group off the adolescence limited offenders than to the other group, but they commit offenses for a much shorter time period. What's interesting is that, according to Moffett, the causes for delinquency are different between these two groups. So for the life course persistent versus the adolescent limited offenders, the life course persistent offenders may have, for example, genetic or neurological deficits. Or they may come from a difficult home environment. They come from problematic backgrounds and have certain characteristics that make their risk of offending very high. On the other hand, according to my offered, the adolescence limited offenders do not really come from a problematic background. Instead, so Maney youth commit delinquency in their teenage years that she considers it almost normative. The causes of delinquency for this group are very different. Thes kids are suffering suffering from what is called the maturity gap, meaning thes youth are biologically mature. Their bodies air almost like an adult body, but they're not allowed to do what adults do. They're not allowed to work to drive a car, to marry or to buy alcohol. They're basically dependent on their parents and their family, and they can't make many decisions for themselves. But they want to make their own decisions, and so they may start to steal the things there that they're not allowed to have and take risks and do things that their parents would never allow them to do. And so they look for new challenges to prove that they are more than capable of conquering them. In this sense, every time a youth does something that adults may think of as bad for them, it is a statement of personal independence. So even though crime peaks in the teenage years for the average person, Moffett's model shows that there are differences between people, whereas for most youth, crime is something that occurs on Lee in the teenage years and not thereafter. This is the adolescence limited group of offenders. There is a small group of people who start to show problem behaviour already in childhood and for whom it continues well into adult hood, and this group is called the Life Course. Persistent offenders 13. 4.3 Summing Up: Okay. This section was a brief introduction to two important findings in developmental psychology . The first was that overall there is a sharp beak and criminal behavior in adolescence and young adulthood, and after that, crime drops considerably. The second was that even though this is the overall pattern, not everybody follows this pattern. Specifically, we saw that among youth offenders, there are different groups, some whose delinquent behaviour is restricted to adolescence and some who show more persistent pattern off offending across their life course. In the next section, I will talk about two developmental processes that are linked to these developments in criminal behavior. The first is how the way in which Children think about social situations, so about things that happened while they are with other people, is related to aggression and violence. And the second is how the way in which people feel about right and wrong is related to aggressive behavior. So I'll see you there 14. 5.1 Social Cognitions: Imitating Others: in this lecture and the ones after this, I'll talk about social cognition. Social cognition means very simply said, thinking about social issues, thinking about how to behave when you are in a situation with other people and thinking about what to do while you are interacting with other people. The idea of social cognitive theory, which was first proposed by the famous psychologist Elbert Bangura, is that people learn aggressive behavior. So according to this idea, aggression is the result of learning. Now people can learn aggression in two ways. First, people can start to try out aggressive behavior themselves. If they are rewarded for it, there was a good chance they'll do it again. If they're not rewarded for it, they might not do it again. So then they've learned whether aggression leads to is to a result that they like or not. Second and very important in this approach, people may see other people behaving aggressively and imitate them. So they observed the behaviour of other people and if that behavior leads to something positive, that's how they learn it. In other words, if they see someone behaving aggressively and that person gets what he or she wants. They learned that aggression is effective now. There are many different people from whom one can learn behaviour, including aggressive behavior. For example, people may learn aggression from the people around them like parents or peers, but they can also learn aggression, for example, from TV or from a video game, especially the behaviors that one learns as a child are important. According to this idea, Children will store what they learn about aggression in their memory, and they will use that memory later on to guide their own behavior and to use it when they get into a conflict or a problem that they have to sold. In other words, if they have learned that aggression is a way off solving problems, they may resort to aggressive behavior when they get into conflict situations later on. So when Children grow up in a violent environment, for example, they learn that violence and aggression are normal and that it is normal to use aggression when dealing with other people. This type of learned behaviour can explain, for example, why Children who were abused by their parents can sometimes behave aggressively themselves to because they learned that behavior when they were young. Now, as I mentioned, the founder of social cognitive theory is Elbert Bangura, and one of the ways in which Ben Dura tested his theory was through the so called Bobo doll experiment, and I'll show you what that is in the next lecture. 15. 5.2 VIDEO: Example: The Bobo Doll Experiment: so as a way to touch the idea that aggressive behavior can be learned by observing other people and then imitating them. Bandara conducted the Bobo doll experiments this consistent off several different experiments that Bandara conducted in the 19 sixties and their famous because it showed something that had never been shown before. An experiment like this would probably not get through today because it confronted the Children who participated in the study with a person who was behaving aggressively. But here is what Pandora and his colleagues did in one of these experiments. In that experiment, 72 Children participated in the study, and they were a 3 to 6 years old. During the experiment, the kids will lead to a playroom where there was a little table in one corner of the room and the kids could play there with a potato prints and picture stickers. Then the researchers had an adult who also came into the room, who was then made to sit in the opposite corner of the room. And in that corner there was also a table with a Tinkertoy set and a five foot inflated Budo, a Bobo doll is the daughter can be knocked down, and then it gets back up into its original position and you can see an example here Now. The researchers had divided the kids into three groups for one group of the kids. The adult in the room would just sit at the table and assembled a tinkertoys quietly in a subdued manner For the second group of kids. The adult in the room would start assembling the Tinker toys, but after a minute or so, they would turn to the Bobo doll and start to behave aggressively towards it. For example, they would start to bunch the doll, toss it up, kick it up and say aggressive things to it. In total, the kids were in that playroom for about 10 minutes. After those 10 minutes, the kids were brought into a second playroom with a variety of toys, among others, a three football boodle and a one way mirror behind which there were observers. So those were the 1st 2 groups of kids. The kids in the third group were not confronted with the adult who participated in the study, meaning the adult who was kicking the Bobo doll or the adult who said quietly at the table assembling the Tinkertoys. These case were what is called the control group, meaning these are kids who simply acted the way they acted without ever being a opposed to the experiment. The analysis that the researchers did compared thes three groups of kids with each other, so the first group of kids who had been in the room with the adult who was assembling the Tinkertoys quietly. The second group of kids who had been in the room with the aggressive adult and the third group of kids who were part of the control group and the results of the analysis showed the following Children who were exposed to the adults who was aggressive towards the bow boodle showed much more aggressive behaviour afterwards in the second playroom than the other two groups of kids. Not only were they more aggressive physically, but they also imitated the verbal aggression off the adult. They were both more aggressive towards the Bobo doll in the second playroom ash towards the other toys that were in the playroom and interestingly, the types of progression of these Children showed were impart identical two types of aggression of the adult in the fresh playroom had used. What's also interesting is that the kids who were exposed to the adult who set at the plate table and quietly assembled the Tinker toys behave the least aggressive off all three groups. So they were not only less aggressive and the kids who had been confronted with the aggressive adult, but they were also less aggressive than the control group. In other words, the experiment showed considerable differences between these three groups of Children, and these differences were do to the behavior off the adult, in the playroom, in the first playroom. If the adult had been aggressive than the Children imitated that behavior and if the adult had been quiet and subdued than the Children also imitated that behavior. So, in sum, this experiment is a classic example of how Children can imitate the behavior of other people in this case of adults. And so this experiment by Bandara and his colleagues showed support for the idea that aggressive and violent behavior can actually be learned just by observing other people and then imitating them. 16. 5.3 Social Cognitions: Processing Information: as mentioned, the founder of social cognitive theory is Elbert Bangura, and various psychologists have built on his ideas. Leader on and one way, which his ideas were being built on, was that psychologist started to look at how exactly Children go from learning aggression toe actually, disk play aggressive behavior themselves in a particular situation. In other words, they are in a social situation where there is some kind of problem, and now they have to decide how to act. How do they do that? How do they process all of the information in that situation and then decide on what to do ? Very influential approach to this is called social information processing and research has shown that this involves five steps. So Children go through five steps in which they obtain and process information that eventually leads to a decision on how they will behave in a given situation. And here are those five steps. The first step is called encoding, which means that people are trying to read a situation. They try to get a sense of what is going on. What is another person doing? And what is the other person's intention say, for example, that a child is standing in. The play grew in the on the playground and is approached by another child. Then the first child is trying to read the situation and what is happening in that situation. In the second step, the child starts to interpret the situation and the behavior of the other person. What does this situation mean? And what is it that causes another person to behave the way that he or she is behaving? Is the other person trying to provoke you, or is he or she perhaps trying to do something else? For example, are they bullying you, or are they actually simply asking you something? As a next step, the child is searching for how to respond to the situation, and to do that, he or she searches through his or her memory. What other responses that could be used in this situation? This is where the Children can go back to behavior that they have learned like aggression. What type of response could be a solution to the problem that the child is being faced with right now in this situation now there is a potential solution to the problem. The child decides whether or not, this solution is the best, or whether another response might be better. For example, would aggression be the best solution, or perhaps something else? And then, in the final step, the child does what he or she has selected as the best way to act in a situation. So Children have to process information. At each of these steps, they have to read what's going on in a situation. They have to get information about what they could do in the situation from their memory, and then they have to think about which type of behavior would be best in this situation. Now these steps can off course, be partly automatic. We don't necessarily think all all of these steps through consciously, but they can be in part automatic now. The idea is that Children who displayed aggressive behavior do not perform this series of steps correctly, meaning in each of these five steps they have deficits. They may, for example, not interpret situations correctly. They may think that another child or person wants to harm them, but maybe that is not the case at all. Or they may think that responding aggressively is the best way to solve the problem, which may not be the case. So, in sum, the social information processing approach focuses on how Children who show aggressive behavior process information incorrectly and how this may lead them to decide to behave aggressively. This social information processing theory is very influential in developmental psychology, and it has received a lot of support. But what it does not cover so much is how kids develop an understanding of right and wrong , and that is the final topic that will cover in the next two lecturers. 17. 5.4 VIDEO: Understanding Right and Wrong: Moral Development: in the last couple of lectures, we've seen how imitating other people can lead to aggressive behavior and how incorrectly processing information about social situations can also lead to aggressive behavior. In the final two lectures, I'll talk about Children's moral development and how it can result in aggression. Now let's start off with the question of what is moral development. Moral development is essentially about right and wrong, and about what people consider to be right and wrong. And that's of course, very relevant when talking about violence and about crime, because those are also closely related to the difference between right and wrong. And so how people think and feel about morality and about breaking moral rules matters for whether or not they will commit crime later on. In terms of moral development, the question that is often asked is how Children's thoughts and feelings about morality developed as they get older, and I'll focus on the part about feelings here. Feelings about morality are also called moral emotions, and examples of moral emotions are feelings of guilt and empathy. Empathy means taking somebody else's perspective, caring for them, understanding and feeling what they feel, and we've already seen in the lecture about psychopathy that a lack of empathy is related to crime. People who have difficulty imagining themselves in someone else's shoes and who can't imagine what somebody else must be feeling are more likely to show aggression towards other people. But guilt also plays an important role in aggression and violence. When people feel guilty about something, it means that they accept that they are responsible for something that caused harm. Note that this is very different from feelings of shame. Very simply said, Shame is feeling bad about who you are, and guilt is feeling bad about something that you did. Now. Guilt is an interesting emotion because it developed relatively late in life around age six . Other emotions developed much early but not guilt. And interestingly, Children who feel guilty about any harm that they've done behave less aggressively than Children who do not have these feelings of guilt. So it looks like having feelings of guilt means that people show less aggression. But feelings of guilt are not always positive. Of course, if a child has feelings of guilt about things that he or she can do anything about, that's an entirely different thing. For example, if a child feels guilty about Hayes or her parents separating, they're feeling guilty about something they can do much about, and so that can hardly be seen as a positive thing. And feeling excessively guilty in general isn't positive either. So we're talking about a fine line here. But overall it looks like Children who have a certain does of feelings of guilt and empathy behave less aggressively than Children who feel fewer off these moral emotions. 18. 5.5 Example: Morality, Feelings, and Delinquency: in these last couple of lectures, I've talked about developmental psychology and mostly about Children. But as I explained development in childhood matters for later behavior and for later violence and crime. And in this last lecture, I want to give you an example of how the topics that we've discussed also matter. Later on, when Children have reached the age of criminal responsibility. And in particular I'll talk about a study that was done on moral emotions. This was a study in Germany that was done among 13 to 19 year olds, so ranging from adolescence to early adults, the youth and that study were given stories about people who were doing things that were that are questionable or that are considered to be a crime. For example, one of the stories was as follows. It is rather late in the evening, and Stephane is driving home from a party in his car. He has drunk a lot of beer during the party, and he is no longer sober. In the darkness, Stephan overlooks a motorbike and runs into it. The writer falls off the bike but does not appear to be severely injured. Stephan is afraid of being caught for drinking and driving. He therefore speeds up and drives away. So that was a story that the youth God and then the youth were asked. Imagine that you did what this person has done. How would you feel afterwards? So that was the researchers measure off moral emotions off the feelings that used had when they were confronted with the stories. Then the researchers looked at how the participants felt you, how the use felt and also at their own delinquent behaviour to see whether the two were related. In other words, they looked at whether the youth moral emotions were related to their own level of delinquency. And Harris what they found use who said that they would feel worse about driving off after an accident committed less delinquency themselves. In contrast, participants who said that they would feel less bad about driving off after an accident committed more delinquency themselves. In other words, moral emotions were related to the use delinquency. If you felt bad about doing something questionable or about committing a crime, they will less likely to commit a crime in real life as well. So it looks like these moral emotions, meaning how bad participants felt about doing something questionable. We're related to delinquency. So in some it looks like moral emotions are related to delinquency and that moral emotions are not just relevant for Children but also for youth and for early adults. The researchers actually did not find consistent evidence that these moral emotions changed a lot as a teenager's got older. So even though most research in this area has been done among Children, moral emotions are relevant well beyond childhood, and they met her for delinquency. And so people who feel bad about questionable behavior and about crimes are less likely to commit it in real life. 19. 5.6 Summing Up: Okay, So in this section we've looked at developmental processes that focus on how people think and feel about questionable behavior, aggression and crime. And even though much of the research in this area focuses on Children later life, stagers are also part of it. Overall, we saw how imitating the behavior of other people can lead to aggressive behavior, how incorrectly processing information can lead to aggression. And, finally, how moral emotions such as empathy and guilt are related to aggressive behavior. In the next section will wreck of this brief course with a concluding section, so I'll see you there. 20. 6 Conclusion: okay, who are at the end of this course? Congratulations for sticking with it until the last lecture. I hope you enjoy the chorus. I certainly did. And I hope that it was helpful for explaining the different types of psychological explanations for why some people commit crime and why other people doing. We went through several psychological explanations for criminal behavior, including how personality is related to crime, what psychopathy is and how criminal behaviour develops from childhood into the later life stages. There are more explanations for criminal behavior than just the psychological ones, and I've included the full spectrum in my full online course on criminology theories, which you're welcome to check out. Also, if you're interested in more fascinating criminology facts and findings, I have a block at criminology web dot com. So feel free to check that out, too. If you have anything criminology related that you like to talk about, that you have questions about or that you like to comment on, feel free to leave your comments and questions in the discussion section, and I'll be happy to respond to them. Finally, I like to thank you for joining me for the scores I'd be really grateful if you would leave a review for it. And I'm looking forward to seeing you again soon. Somewhere in cyberspace. Have a good day.