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Explaining Crime Essay

547 words - 3 pages

Explaining Crime

A) One Biological explanation of crime is Low intelligence.
Studies have tended to link between low IQ and crime, although the
link is not a simple one. Rutter and Giller (83) suggest two possible
links. Once is that low intelligence leads to educational failure and
consequently low self esteem. This then manifests as emotional;
disturbances, conduct disorders and criminal behaviour. The second is
that intelligence and conduct disorders may have a common starting
point which is not clear, for eg- neurophysiological. Also, more
recent studies do tend to find that the average intelligence is below
average (e.g. - an IQ of 92 compared to a norm of 100).

One sociological explanation of crime is the learning theories of
crime. Children usually learn through classical; conditioning, operant
conditioning or through observation or ...view middle of the document...

It helps people to understand that criminals
are not always fully responsible for their behaviour is a result of
internal factors. These theories are generally simplistic, taking only
one factor (biology) into account. It is very unlikely that criminal
behaviour can be reduced to a biological explanation alone. They also
ignore or underestimate the social causes of crime such as antisocial
role models and an emotionally deprived childhood. In particular more
recent studies do find that criminals have a lower IQ in comparison to
non-criminals but this difference is only small and so could be due to
chance. Also, it should be questioned whether IQ is an accurate
measure of intelligence or not.

In evaluation for the sociological explanations the theories are based
on carefully conducted research which clearly demonstrates the
influence of reinforcement and observation on behaviour. These
theories can also help to explain why criminality does to an extent
run in families. There is a considerable body of evidence to suggest
that in real world situations, people do imitate those around them,
especially family members or friends. Sutherland’s theory supports the
sociological theories of crime and subsequent developments of
Sutherland’s theory which emphasise imitation and observation also
support the theories. Generally, the research is conducted in
laboratories and so are low in ecological validity as in Bandura's
study. Also, the fact that criminal behaviour tends to run in families
is not necessarily due to imitation but may be due to circumstances
such as social deprivation, poor genetic propensity to behave in an
antisocial way. Sutherland’s theory would find it more difficult to
explain crimes of passion and other impulsive offences by people who
have not been raised by deviant values. Another problem is that it
says nothing about the individual differences in susceptibility to
other people.

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