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Psychology of Criminal Behavior

One Section Available to Choose From:

Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 30, 2014 - July 11, 20142M-F 12:45-3:35PCourse Full, Waitlist ClosedElizabeth Aston10652

Course Description

People commit crime every day. While this is true, we know that all crime is not the same. What makes one crime different from another? Are all criminals different? Do they commit crimes for different reasons? What do we know about their motivation to commit crime? There is much variability in the occurrence of criminal conduct. In this course, we will learn about crime, criminals, and the psychology of criminal behavior.

Society is full of offenders, delinquents, and criminals. It is important to investigate what makes these individuals different from the rest of society. Who are the individuals committing the crimes? We will discuss several types of criminals and their associated behaviors. How do individuals become criminals? We will go through many explanations for the development of criminals, and we will discuss various theories on how they may become that way. We will also go over several studies on criminal behavior and psychology to improve our understanding of how research can be used to answer many of our questions.

In this course, we will discover which factors and variables may account for the variability in the incidence of criminal behavior. At the end of this course, students will have learned about the different types of crime, specific criminals who have committed those crimes, and the theory behind why those criminals came to be that way. You will be able to identify types of criminals in the media today, and you will have the ability to describe different explanations for their behavior. We will analyze psychopathy, antisocial personality, and crimes of opportunity. We will also discuss how crime affects society and the community.

The format of this two-week course will include lectures, video presentations, group projects, and discussions on multiple topics, including recent news events, notorious criminals and crimes, recidivism, and psychological research. Individual and small group assignments will include readings, quizzes, social media assignments, brief reaction papers, and a final research paper.

-Have a greater understanding about
-"who" commits crimes
-Explain different theories regarding
-"how" these individuals come to be this way
-Describe "which" circumstances, environments, and factors may increase the propensity to commit crime
-Explain "what" we can do about criminals and how we may be able to help them
-Use empirical research to examine individual differences between criminals
-Analyze theories that can account for criminal development
-Work together to identify types of crime and criminals in the media today

None required. This course is an introduction to the psychology of criminal behavior.