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FSU CCJ 4601 - Human Behavior

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1/10/12Human Behavior Introduction• Human Behavioro This course will expose you to some of the most cutting-edge research and it will also provide new and refreshing insights into the study of crime and criminals. • Explanations to criminal behavioro Neighborhoods Social disorganization theory, “code of the streets” theoryo Parents Good or bad parents are quintessential variables; geneticso Povertyo Peers “My friends told/taught me to do it.”o Culture  American dreams and focus on individualityo The list is in-exhaustive • Dominant criminological theorieso Social disorganization theory Chicagoo Social bonding theoryo Social learning theoryo *What do all these theories have in common? Social aspects of crime Only part of the reason people engage in crime• Criminological Theorieso They all employ social factors as explanations for human behavioro Why? Sociology• Most criminologists have received their degree in sociology. • Sociologists don’t like genetics as an explanation of crime. • Haven’t learned anything about personality traits• #1 reason social explanations dominate• Better and more progressive policies Behavior is changeable• Belief • Difficult to make policies for this reason• Parents are resilient to change the way they raise their children.  Not your fault• Ties in with other explanations• These policies are very oppressive.  Biology/genetics is dangerous• The environment can patch up genetic problems Once we know the contributing factors then we can do something to fix it. • Criminologyo Thus, the study of crime and criminals is guided largely by ideology and disciplinary allegianceso But, criminology is supposed to be interdisciplinary? In practice, this is not necessarily true Less than 2% of articles published in criminology journals are interdisciplinary.  Dominated by sociology. • Criminological Theorieso Social explanations to crime continue to dominate the discipline of criminology. Social bonding theory – Hirschi’s theory developed in 1969 – is criminologists favorite theory• Why?o Is it supported by research? Some support for research but not entire theory; some problems tooo Is it easy to understand?o Sociological theories are not necessarily wrong, but in isolation they leave us with an impoverished and incomplete understanding to human behavioro Ex: Heart Disease Is it only due to social factors?• No, it’s a combination of social factors and genetics• The Complexity of Human Behavioro In order to understand the causes of behavior, we need to move away from a monolithic explanation of behavior and examine a range of difficult factors, including: Biology Genetics Environment• Human Behavioro We will examine the different biological and genetic components to behavioro Word of caution: there is no such thing as a crime geneo We will also examine how environmental and genetic/biological factors act in combination to create behaviors Referred to as biosocial criminologyo In addition, we will also track an offender’s life course, from conception through adulthood Most criminology theories only examine antisocial behavior in adolescence and young adulthood• Why? – Official offending peaks• Adolescents are easy to studyo Besides looking at offending in adolescents, and adults, we will also discuss risk factors during fetal development (e.g., prenatal exposure to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco), early childhood, and late adulthood. o This class is grounded in empirical research Based on published research• Publication process• Minimum standard of evidence  Important because it leads us away from beliefs• Course Materialo Some material may go against what you think or what you have learned in other classeso Just remember: if we always followed the status quo, we would still think the earth is flat and the earth is the center of the universe• In the 50s the cause of autism was believed to be from “refrigerator mothers” because the mothers were too cold during their pregnancy.• Death penaltyo Virtually every criminologist is against the death penalty. o Biological research was cited when the death penalty was abolished for juveniles and none was published from criminology or sociology.1/15/13The Nature of BehaviorWhat is aggression and Crime?• Classified as Anti-social behavior. • A tendency to exploit or bring harm to others and to disobey common social ruleso Direct Aggression – overt and typically physical. Punching, hitting, inflicting pain. (Males)o Indirect Aggression – Covert and typically verbal. (Females)• Some aggressive acts are frowned upon, others are not. (Murder vs. NFL)• Crime doesn’t always equate to aggression and vice versa. The Nature of Behavior Over the Life Course• Now that we have a working definition of aggression, we can examine it more directly. o Most offenders commit less than 10 acts of crime/year. o When offenders aren’t offending they live antisocially. Severe drug and alcohol use on spare time.  Drinking all the time is antisocial behavior.  They have bad relationships with close relationships because of constant bad mood from drug abuse.  Financial problems from drug abuse. • It’s hard to pinpoint actual effects of deterrence. • The more serious crimes are usually universal.• First, let’s look at whether antisocial behavior is stable throughout life. o Is it stable or does it change?What is Stability?• A general pattern of offending that 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 stabilityo Absolute stability – absolutely no change in behavior.  5 crimes committed each year.  If you score a 5 on a shyness scale today, then you will score 5 next year.  No differences over time• Person 1o 3 felonies at age 18o 3 felonies at age 35o 3 felonies at age 50o like automatons. o Relative Stability – refers to the rank ordering of individuals (correlational analysis) We can rank people (on some trait or behavior)• Instead of testing shyness on a scale we rank subjects from most shy  most outgoing. • Then we wait 15 years and measure the same subjects• Subjects would all rank in the same place as before. o Although, the absolute values can change. o We can have relative


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