A Problem of Criminal Behavior

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Cognitive theorists mainly focus on how individuals see their social environment and also how they learn to solve their predicaments. One of the earliest psychologists to argue that a person’s reasoning abilities grows in an orderly as well as logical fashion was Piaget (1932). Piaget argued that, throughout the first phase of development, kids react to their social surroundings in an uncomplicated fashion through focusing their attention on appealing objects as well as developing their motor skills. Thus, in the last phase of the development, kids have developed into full-grown adults capable of abstract thought as well as complex reasoning (Ontario Ministry for Children and Youths Services 2010).

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Kohlberg (1969) applied to the criminal behavior study, the perception of moral development. Kohlberg argued that every person goes through six different phases of moral development. During the initial stage, individuals simply comply with the law due to their fear of being punishment. However, on the sixth stage, individuals comply with the law for the reason that it is an assumed condition and also because they have trust in the general principles of fairness, justice, and valuing others. In Kohlberg’s research (Kohlberg et al., 1973), he discovered that the moral development of a violent youth were considerably lesser when compared to a non-violent youth. Since Kohlberg’s pioneering endeavors, time after time studies have found that individuals who comply with the law just to evade punishment are more prone to committing acts of violence than those individuals who are aware of and understand the others’ fundamental rights. Conversely, senior levels of moral reasoning are linked to acts of generosity, humanity as well as peacefulness (Veneziano and Veneziano, 1992). Overall, the weight of the proof implies that individuals with poor levels of ethical reasoning will take part in violence and crime when they believe they can get off scot-free. Conversely, those individuals with superior levels of ethical reasoning will abstain from criminal behavior since they believe it is wrong, even when the opportunity is presented to them (Ontario Ministry for Children and Youths Services 2010).

Psychological research proposes that when individuals make judgments, they undertake a sequence of complex thought processes. Initially, they encode as well as interpret the data or stimuli presented to them; afterwards they search for an appropriate response or a suitable action, and lastly, they take action on their judgment (Dodge, 1986). Violent persons might be using information wrongly when they make their judgments as said by information processing theorists. Violence-prone youth, for instance, may see others as more violent or threatening than they really are. Due to this, some youth may to respond with violence when least provoked. According to this perception, aggressive kids are more alert and suspicious than ordinary youth are. This is a factor that greatly amplifies their chances of engaging in violent behavior (Ontario Ministry for Children and Youths Services 2010).

Is criminal behavior rational?

Rational choice is based on a utilitarian idea that acts are founded on a conscious assessment of the usefulness of acting in a particular manner. This perception presumes that crime is an individual choice, the outcome of personal decision-making procedures. This denotes that each person is responsible for their choices. Rational choice contemplates that in terms of offending; offenders consider the possible benefits as well as consequences connected to committing an offence and afterward make a rational judgment on account of this assessment. Thus, prior to committing an offense, the reasoning criminal considers the likelihood of getting caught, the harshness of the expected punishment plus the value to be achieved through committing the act. Thus, this signifies that if lawbreakers see the act to be excessively dangerous, the costs higher, or the payoff smaller, they will opt to not take part in the act (Ontario Ministry for Children and Youths Services 2010).

Does it matter if it is not rational?

It matters that criminal behavior is not rational. It is cooperative to perceive criminal behavior not as the outcome of socially and psychologically determined dispositions to offend, but as the result of the extensively based rational decisions and choices of the offenders.

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