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Compare Freud's explanation of criminality with other past and current psychological...

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berty63 | Salutatorian

Posted October 26, 2013 at 6:18 PM via web

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Compare Freud's explanation of criminality with other past and current psychological theories of criminality, and assess whether or not Freud's theories fit the current thinking on causes of criminal behavior.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 26, 2013 at 11:39 PM (Answer #1)

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This is a very complex question, and I can provide only a brief overview on eNotes. Freud's theory of criminality was based, in brief, on the subconscious processing of sexual instincts and how well or poorly a child was able to process instinctual needs for attachment to and defense against the competition of parents. Comparing this to another classic psychological theory of criminality, it was shown in Bandura's behaviorist Bobo doll studies that children learn through modeling and not just through direct rewards and punishments, therefore, social modeling is a determinant in developing criminality. Each of these has flaws, the most obvious flaw being that not all individuals with flawed parental relations or who grow up in high crime areas become criminals.

A current theory of crime is personality and/or intelligence theory that finds a strong connection between persistent criminal behavior and (1) innate personality characteristics that may or may not have been marked by disadvantageous early childhood experiences and (2) intelligence levels with low intelligence, particularly a significantly low Verbal Intelligence score that is also significantly lower than the Performance Intelligence score. While Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test were driven out of favor by sociologists, recent studies have found no confirmation of social, ethnic, racial, or economic bias in IQ tests. Intelligence theory of criminality finds a strong connection between low intelligence and criminality but also between other social failures like teen pregnancy in young women and unemployment in men and women.

Freud's theory of criminality has some carry-over and positive relation with current personality theories of criminality though there is negative relationship with current intelligence theories of criminology.

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