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FSU CCJ 4601 - Human Behavior

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IntroCommon Explanations to Criminal Behavior1. Neighborhoods2. Parents3. Poverty4. Peers5. CultureDominant Criminological Theories1. Social Disorganization Theory2. Social Bonding Theory3. Social Learning TheoryWhat do all of these theories have in common?Focus only on social aspects of crimeCriminological TheoriesThey all employ social factors as explanations for human behavior.Why?SociologyBehavior is changeableNot your faultBiology/genetics is dangerousCriminologyThus, the study of crime and criminals is guided largely by ideology and disciplinary allegiances.But, criminology is suppose to be interdisciplinary?In practice, this is not necessarily true.Criminological TheoriesSocial explanations to crime continue to dominate the discipline of criminologySocial Bonding Theory- Hirschi’s theory developed in 1969-is criminologists favorite theoryWhy?It is supported by research? Some support (not full)It is easy to understand?Sociological theories aren’t necessarily wrong, but in isolation they leave us with an impoverished and incomplete understanding to human behavior.Example: Heart DiseaseIs it only due to social factors? NoThe Complexity of Human BehaviorIn order to understand the causes of behavior, we need to move away from a monolithic explanation of behavior and examine a range of different factors, including:BiologyGeneticsEnvironmentWord of Caution: There is no such thing as a crime gene.Biosocial CriminologyHow environmental and genetic/biological factors act in combination to create behaviors.Human BehaviorMost Criminology theories only examine antisocial behavior in adolescence and young adulthood.Why? Official offending peaksAdolescents are easy to studyEmpirical Research: Based on public researchPublication processMinimum standard of evidenceThe Nature of BehaviorWhat is Aggression and Crime?A tendency to exploit or bring harm to others and to disobey common social rulesDirect Aggression: Overt and typically physical.Punching, hitting, inflicting painMales most likelyIndirect Aggression: Covert and typically verbalFemales most likelyThe Nature of Behavior over the Life CourseAntisocial Behavior (Is it stable or does it change?)Doesn’t vary based on lawsDrug use, alcohol (on excess basis), relationship problems (with everyone, not just sporadic), financial problems (cant hold jobs)What is Stability?A general pattern of offending that’s persists over time.A strong linkage among childhood behavioral problems, juvenile delinquency, and adult criminal behavior.What do we mean by Stability?Two types of Stability:Absolute Stability: Absolutely no change, how you act today will predict how you act tomorrow and 10 years from now.No difference over timePerson 1:3 felonies @ 183 felonies @ 353 felonies @ 50Relative Stability: Refers to the rank ordering of individuals (correlational analysis)We can rank people (on some trait or behavior)Rank most outgoing to shy. 1 is shy 100 being very outgoing. Come back 15 years and you fall in the same order as you did before.Can have relative stability without absolute stabilityNumber of Felonies committed at different (EX: Relative Stability)Age 18 Age 25 Age 33A 5 12 4B 4 10 2C 1 5 0Behavior is Highly StableOur behavior becomes patterned and routine; we are creatures of habit.What we KnowIndividual differences in antisocial behavior emerge early in the life course. Some traits are measurable by 6 months of age!These differences can be VERY stable across the life-course.However, most antisocial children do not grow up to be antisocial adults.Most antisocial adults would most likely have antisocial traits at childhood.The most likely people not to change are the ones who lie in the extremes.Age 3 is what we will focus on (3 is where the stability begins to show)What predicts Stability?Variety of antisocial acts (hitting, lying, stealing)Extremity of acts (killing animals, inflicting serious pain)Early age of onset….. the earlier the onset, the worse the condition.Typically the cut-off is 12Misbehavior that occurs across contexts (home, church, school)What we KnowAdult criminal behavior almost requires childhood antisocial behaviorAdult criminal behavior is better predicted by childhood aggression/anti-social behavior than by any other variable (including family background and social class)Stability & BehaviorThe most antisocial children tend to become the most antisocial adolescents who, in turn, tend to become the most antisocial adultsHigh degree of stability in behavior and personality from a very young age through adulthood.What accounts for stability/change?There are two general perspectivesState Dependence (Sampson & Laub, 1993)Population Heterogeneity (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1990)State DependenceStability, according to the position, is the result of the social consequences that emanate from engaging in crime.For example, what happens to a person who has been convicted of a felony?Social consequences; the loss of social capitalCrime, therefore, tends to have a “snowball” effect, wherein engaging in crime immerses an offender into a criminalistics lifestyle that is very difficult to leave.How can you find a good job or a pro-social spouse if you are labeled as a convict?Keep committing crimes to live and this is all caused b/c of my 1st crime (stability)Crime  Consequences  More CrimeOnce an individual becomes ensnared in a life of crime, stability is likely to occur.The Nature of Behavior (cont.)State Dependence (cont.)However, the state dependence perspective recognizes that behavioral change is possible.Why factors promote change/desistance?1. Individuals who enter high quality marriages (with a pro-social spouse) are much more likely to desist from crime.But, why?You now have something to lose, a stake in conformity.Marriage & DesistanceSampson and Laub (1993) maintain that entering into a marriage increases social capital, thereby promoting desistence.Warr (1998) suggests that marriages cut off people from their friends. Losing antisocial friends=desistence.Why factors promote change/desistance (cont.)?2. Sampson and Laub (1993) found that the military fosters the desistence process.3. Gaining lawful, stable employment has also been linked to desistence.Why? More to lose from engaging in crime.Summary of factors accounting for changeIt appears that local life circumstances (getting job, marriage, etc.) are an integral component of change/desistance.Social factors, therefore, appear, at least on the


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