Walden University Psychology of Criminal Conduct and Criminal Behavior Discussions

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Discussion 1: The Psychology of Criminal Conduct

The Psychology of Criminal Conduct (PCC) is a social learning approach to criminal behavior that posits that criminal behavior is a combination of personality, social learning, and situational factors. This approach assumes that although the causes of crime cannot be scientifically pinpointed, they may be inferred by examining the correlates of criminal behavior. PCC regards the major correlates of criminal behavior as 1) antisocial attitudes, 2) antisocial associates, 3) history of antisocial behavior, and 4) personality factors. These correlates are known as “the big four.” They are used by criminologists and forensic psychology professionals when conducting risk assessments. These assessments are used to identify individuals likely to commit crimes. Evaluating risk is one of the major focuses of PCC, along with the treatment of high-risk offenders.

By Day 3

Post an evaluation of whether or not the psychology of criminal conduct (PCC) is useful for understanding and explaining criminal behavior. Justify your position using specific examples and concepts from the resources or your research.

Note: Put “useful” or “not useful” in the first line of your post. You will be asked to respond to a colleague who argued the opposite position you did.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the resources.

Discussion 2: Learning Theory and Criminal Behavior

Learning theory holds the perspective that all behavior, including criminal behavior, is learned from a person’s surroundings. Social learning theory, a subcategory of learning theory, suggests that individuals learn by watching and imitating and by being rewarded and punished. While there are various specific learning theories, they all suggest that criminal behavior is learned.

They also hold the perspective that how and what an individual learns from his or her environment is significant. This can be illustrated by how, in some neighborhoods, illegally carrying a gun or knife is normal because of the number of individuals carrying weapons for protection, and because those who do not carry guns or knives may find themselves at a distinct disadvantage.

It is not just social environments that influence learned behavior, however. Situational factors may contribute to learned criminal behavior, as well, such as when dangerous protests lead to mob mentality.

For this Discussion, select two crimes to which learning theory may be applied and consider how the general principles of learning theory may apply to them.

By Day 4

Post a brief description of the crimes you selected. Explain each crime by applying a specific learning theory, using a different theory for each. Then, explain how the principles of learning theory may be used to account for each crime. Finally, explain the degree to which you think learning theory accounts for criminal behavior in general and why. Justify your position using specific examples and concepts from the resources or your research.



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