Essay on the Relationship Between Psychology and Crime !
Psychology includes within it the study of mind and behaviour attitudes etc. It is the study of individual characteristics such as personality, reasoning, thought perceptions, intelligence, imagination, memory creativity and so on.
Psychologists treat crime as a behaviour learnt by the criminal in course of his contact with different persons. Like sociologists, they seek to explain crime in terms of environmental circumstances.
As stated earlier, Lombroso attributed criminality to atavism which meant that criminals have savagery ancestral history and criminality in them is hereditary. Similar assertions were made by Goring who pointed out that criminalistic traits in criminals are imbibed by heredity and through instinctive patterns and, therefore, environmental conditions are of little importance.
Subsequent researches by psychologists and sociologists have, however, demonstrated beyond doubt that it is not the heredity but the psychological influences operating in delinquent families that marked one criminal. The child unconsciously imbibes criminalistic traits from the family background of the delinquent parents and subsequently turns into a confirmed criminal.
Also, children who are removed away from their parents at an early age tend to follow criminality for want of proper parental care and lack of affection which develops the feelings of inferiority complex, frustration and humiliation in them.
Commenting on this, Sutherland observed that the resemblance between father and son as regards criminality is not due to contagion but it is because of peculiar human psychology of learning things, observation and association that makes them follow criminal behaviour if placed in circumstances which are conductive to crime.
The theory of learning which Sutherland prefers to call as differential association, asserts that crime is learnt in association with others. It is clearly connected with Tarde’s theory of imagination, that is, all men tend to imitate each other, the extent of imitation, however, depending upon how close are their contacts.
He stated that lower classes tend to imitate the upper classes and so is the case with the followers who imitate their leader’s behavioural pattern. And it is in this process of learning and imitation that a person gets involved into criminality.
The central hypothesis therefore, is that crime is not invented by each criminal separately but like all other forms of behaviour, it is learnt from direct contact with other criminals. The behavioural learning takes place through personal contacts with other people.
Psychological researches on teen-age violence have shown that violent careers develop along two main paths. Sometimes children start violence early before puberty. They are more likely to become chronic violent offenders.
More commonly children who turn to violence in adolescence mend themselves sooner or later. The reason for violence may be birth complications, poverty, anti-social parents, poor parenting, aggression, academic failure, psychological problems, alienation from home, school etc.