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Eysenck's Criminal Personality Theories

Updated: Mar 9, 2023



Learning Aims


1. Eysenck’s Criminal Personality Theory and criticisms of the theory including the issue of individual differences.


2. Describe the Criminal Personality Theory Research Study – Heaven (1996): Study into delinquency, extroversion, psychoticism and self-esteem.


3. Re-cap or learn research methods - Questionnaires - Features of doing research and their associated strengths and weaknesses including reliability and validity.


• Open questions

• Closed questions

• Rating scales


4. Re-cap or learn research methods – Correlations - Features of doing research and their associated strengths and weaknesses including reliability and validity. • Use of quantitative data

• Positive, negative and zero correlations Research Methods - Analysing


5. Research: Scatter Diagrams.


Task 1


This is a bigger learning unit that can be completed over a number of weeks if you are studying psychology 2.5 hours a week.


To begin with, I want you to use the resources below to research Eysenck's theories. You will then complete a number of activities and finally create a blog post that explains everything you need to know. Use the software you are most comfortable with Canva and Google Docs are good, free options.


You could use Wordpress to begin to blog your learning. Writing about a topic for an audience really gets you to think more deeply and improve your understanding. A blog is also adaptable so you can continually add, remove and improve it as your understanding and knowledge grow. You can add completed tasks or upload photographs of your completed work. By using tags and categories you can link your learning which will really help you develop a richer understanding and give you a great revision resource.


Watch

OCR GCSE Psychology (9-1) - Criminal - Eysenck's Theory




1.8 Personality and criminal behaviour




The Brain of a Murderer - Are You Good Or Evil? - Horizon - BBC




Take the Eysenck's personality test yourself here.


Task 2

1. Create a key terms blog post or flashcard set for:


central nervous system

reticular activation system

cerebral cortex

dopamine reward system

autonomic nervous system

limbic system

dopaminergic neurons

synaptic transmission

extraversion

neuroticism

psychoticism

criminal personality

conditioning

early socialisation


Keep coming back to these definitions to make sure you remember them.


Task 3


1. Explain why extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism are likely to cause criminal behaviour.


2. Draw a character map for the typical criminal. Draw the criminal at the centre and label around the outside.


3. Draw a map of the brain and nervous system of a serial killer, labelling all the main parts and what role they play.


Task 4


Criticisms of Theory


1. It ignores individual differences and places people into broad categories.


2. It seems unlikely that people with a similar personality type would commit such a wide range of crimes.


3. It is too deterministic, individuals do not have control over their criminal behaviour and so the usefulness of such a theory to preventing crime is low.


4. Some argue that psychoticism does not cause criminal behaviour but is rather a definition of criminal behaviour.


5. Some argue that Eysenck does not put enough emphasis on nurture. Rather than saying neurotic extroverts are difficult to condition it would be better to focus on how we condition them. If conditioned correctly then they do not need to turn to crime.


Examples of Other Student websites






You could use Wordpress to begin to blog your learning. Writing about a topic for an audience really gets you to think more deeply and improve your understanding. A blog is also adaptable so you can continually add, remove and improve it as your understanding and knowledge grow. You can add completed tasks or upload photographs of your completed work. By using tags and categories you can link your learning which will really help you develop a richer understanding and give you a great revision resource.


Task 5

Heaven (1996)


This was a longitudinal, cross-sectional study that used self-reporting questionnaires. If you do not understand any of these terms or find you are struggling to understand the media below go and take a good look at the research section of this course first before you continue.


Watch

OCR GCSE Psychology (9-1) - Criminal - Heaven




Heaven 1996 Mrs Curry




Here is a great PDF you can print out to help you identify the main aspects of the study.


Task 6

Add a section to your blog about Heaven's study. Remember to include:


1. The background and aim of the study.

2. The hypothesis.

3. The method (research design, sample and procedure).

4. The results and findings of the study including a graph.

5. The conclusions of the study.

6. The criticisms of the study.

Here is an example of another student's website.



Task 7

Now is a good time to make sure you have completed the self-report methods unit of the course as both Eysenck and Heaven relied on self-reporting to gather data. If you have already completed it, go back and watch the videos if not go and complete the unit.


Then record, as it applies to Eysenck's theory and the Heaven study, what you have learned about this method for future reference.


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