Criminal Psychology

School of Psychology -Criminal and deviant illegal behaviour course from the directory of psychology, criminal behavior and counselling courses at ACS Distance Education, for online or home study.

Course Code: BPS309
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Why do people commit crimes?

 
There are many different theories and approaches to understanding the origins of criminal behaviour. These range from social learning theories to labelling theory and individual differences. It is important to understand different theories in order to nurture a broad understanding of how crime is conceptualised. Once this is in place you can better understand the thoughts and behaviours of criminals and people who cross the boundary of what is considered acceptable in society.  
 
Study this course to develop your understanding of criminal psychology and how psychology is used in law enforcement and crime prevention. 
  • Learn criminal psychology in this unique course
  • Understand your clients with issues with crime and behaviour
  • Understand aggression
  • Build your understanding of people
  • Save money and time, study at home

Who should study this?

  • Welfare officers
  • Youth workers
  • Counsellors
  • Psychologists
  • Support workers
  • Advocates
  • Legal employees

Gain strong understanding of areas in criminal psychology such including
mental disorders and crime, aggression, gender, youth and crime prevention.

 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Criminal Psychology
    • Definitions of Crime
    • Consensus View of what Crime is
    • Conflict View of Crime
    • Interactionist View of Crime
    • Scope of Criminal Psychology
    • What Criminal Psychologists do
    • Case Study
    • Profiling
    • Courts
    • Correctional System
  2. Psychological approaches to understanding crime
    • Biological explanations of Crime
    • Phrenology
    • Eugenics
    • XYY Chromosome Model
    • Genetics
    • Twin Studies
    • Adoption Studies
    • Nature, Nurture
    • Environmental Explanations of Crime
    • Family Influence
    • Agency Explanations
    • Rational Choice Theory
  3. Psychology and understanding serious crimes
    • Aggression
    • Types of Aggression
    • Terminology
    • Drive Theories
    • Freudian Theories
    • Social Learning Theories
    • Biological and Evolutionary Theories
    • Types of Aggression
    • Aggression an against Outsiders
    • Aggression in Species
    • Aggression in Humans
    • Environmental Influences on Human Aggression
    • Imitation or Modelling
    • Familiarity
    • Reinforcement
    • Aggression and Culture
    • Other Factors in Aggression: Alcohol, Pain, Frustration
    • Murder
    • Sexual Assault
    • Stalking
    • Pursuit Behaviour
    • False Stalking Syndrome
  4. Mental disorder and crime 1 ...Learning disabilities and crime
    • Meaning of Learning Disabilities
    • IQ Testing
    • Crime and Intelligence
    • Modern Intelligence Testing
    • Learning Disabilities and Crime
    • Sex Offences and People with Learning Disabilities
    • Courts
  5. Mental Disorder and Crime 2 (Psychopathy)
    • Scope and Nature of Psychopathology
    • Personality Disorder
    • Psychopath
    • Heartlessness
    • Emotionless
    • How do People become Psychopaths
    • Treatment
  6. Gender and Crime
    • Scope and Nature of Gender and Crime studies
    • Rates of Crime
    • Murder and Violence
    • Prostitution
    • Case Study ... Women Offenders
    • Victims
    • Murder
    • Domestic Violence
    • Sexual Abuse
  7. Youth and Crime
    • Age of Criminal Responsibility
    • Risk Factors
    • Mental Health Risk
    • Conduct Disorders
    • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
    • Cumulative Affect of Risk Factors
    • Prevalence and Offending
    • Case Studies
    • Young People as Victims
  8. Psychology and the Police
    • Social Construction of Reported Crime
    • Eyewitness Testimony
    • Early Research
    • Schemas and EWT
    • Police Line Ups
    • Every day Uses of Psychology by Police
  9. Psychology in the Courtroom
    • Social Cognition
    • Behaviour
    • Appearance
    • Expectations
    • The Primacy Effect
    • Attribution
    • Schemas and Social Perception
    • Central Traits
    • Stereotypes
    • Social Inference and Decision Making
    • Psychology and the Law
    • Guilt Bias
    • Media Effect
    • Defendant Attributes
    • Attorney Attributes
  10. Psychology and Crime Prevention
    • Punishment
    • Types of Punishment
    • History of Punishment
    • Reasons for Punishment
    • Deterrents
    • Punishment and Impartiality

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Define crime and criminal psychology.
  • Discuss psychological theories and approaches to understanding crime.
  • Define serious crimes and explain the involvement of psychology.
  • Discuss the relationship between a person having a learning disability and committing crime.
  • Define psychopathy and discuss psychological theories relating to psychopathy.
  • Discuss gender differences associated with crime.
  • Discuss the psychological theories relating to youth and crime.
  • Discuss how psychology is used by the police.
  • Discuss how psychology is used in the court room.
  • Discuss the use of psychology in crime prevention.

How Do You Perceive Crime?

In psychology, there are three theories that are the most widespread approaches to defining crime. There are other approaches, but as these are the most widely accepted, we will consider those here.

The Consensus View

This view stems from the sociological theories of J Shepherd (1981). This school of thought holds that society functions as an integrated structure, the stability of which is dependent on consensus or agreement by its members, so that the rules, values and norms are respected by all. Therefore, the legal system of the society is a reflection of what is considered tolerable and intolerable behaviour within that particular society i.e. intolerable behaviour is disapproved of by the majority.

Before a crime can be said to have occurred, it has to be committed. So without an action, there can be no crime.

The Conflict View

The Conflict View is the direct opposite of the Consensus View.

The Interactionist View

The Interactionist View falls between the Consensus and Conflict View. It began as a field of thought within sociology called symbolic interactionism.

Learn more about these theories and a lot more through this course!


Tutor Quote:

"Why do psychopaths exist?  Why do people commit crimes?  How do we know what “crime” is when it changes over time and from society to society.  This course provides a fascinating insight into the mind of the criminal and the work of anyone working with criminals"
   Tracey Jones, B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies), ACS Tutor


WHY STUDY CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY?
Understanding the criminal mind can be important in many different types of jobs, including:

  • Security Professions
  • Law enforcement
  • Crime Prevention
  • Social Workers, Rehabilitation Officers
  • Prison Guards
  • Legal professions

Working with criminals or with the affects of crime, may or may not require formal studies in criminal psychology; but will almost certainly be more effective and easier when you have studied this course or something similar.

 
 
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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing,

Jacinda Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo

Kate Gibson

Kate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jacinda Cole

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Tracey Jones

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

Davi Ponce

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