Using Psychoanalytic Theory to Explain Why Individuals Commit Crime

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UsingPsychoanalytic Theory to Explain Why Individuals Commit Crime

UsingPsychoanalytic Theory to Explain Why Individuals Commit Crime

Thepsychoanalytic theory was developed by an Australian neurologistnamed, Sigmoid Freud. The psychoanalytic perspective is founded onthe idea that human behavior stems from an interaction of threecomponents that include the ego, id, and superego (Moore, 2011). Itis a structural type of theory that provides an explanation on howconflicts that occurs among different parts of the human mind end upshaping behavior as well as personality. In most cases, conflictsthat shape one’s behavior are unconscious. The psychoanalytictheory holds that human personality develops during childhood. Thepersonality is then shaped in a series of about five psychosexualstages. All children experience a serious conflict between theirsocial expectations and biological drives. Children who manage tonavigate successfully through these conflicts end up mastering eachstage of their development, which reduce the tendency to becomedelinquents.

Abalance between the three components (including the ego, id, andsuperego) plays a critical role in determining whether the child willengage in crime or not. The id works in accordance with the principleof pleasure, where an individual tends to seek for pleasure and avoidpain (Yakeley &amp Meloy, 2012). The component of ego is driven bythe principle of reality, which seeks to establish the balancebetween superego and id. The ego achieves this by driving the id in away that is perceived to be the most realistic. The component of thesuperego is usually driven by the principle of morality, where itacts in association with the morality of the highest thought andaction. The superego tends to work in ways that are sociallyacceptable and help individuals judge between what is wrong and whatis right. The lack of balance between the three components reducesthe capacity of an individual to determine what is morally wrong orright, which increase the chances of committing crime.

Accordingto the psychoanalytic perspective, delinquent behavior developsduring childhood. The occurrence of imbalance between the threecomponents (including id, ego, and the superego) is assumed to be asymbol of a meeting between one’s unconscious needs (Moore, 2011).An individual tends to develop defense mechanisms to cope with theimbalance, which culminates in problematic behaviors (Yakeley &ampMeloy, 2012). Therefore, the tendency to engage in crime is amanifestation of some internal disease. In other words,psychoanalysts believe that all mental processes are unconscious andany case of unresolved intra-psychic conflicts can lead to criminalbehaviors in the later stages of life (Victoroff, 2005). For example,psychoanalysts associated Hitler’s behavior with unresolvedintra-psych issues associated with persistent threats that theGermany experienced (Hyland, Boduszek &amp Kieliewicz (2011). Aftergrowing up in a country that was under threat, Hitler became aviolent leader who could kill to compensate for the perceivedthreats.

Apoor association with parents or poor attachment during childhood canlead to unresolved intra-psychic conflicts. According to Fonagy &ampTarget (2007) child’s social environment determines the type ofbehavior they will adopt later in life. For example, children whoexperience serious deprivation have a higher tendency of engaging incrime as compared to grow up in a safer social environment and undera good parental care. Modern psychoanalysts hold that the socialenvironment influences the process of brain development, which inturn determines the type of behavior and emotional development.

Annotatedbibliography

Curling,A. (2008). Findings,analysis and conclusions.Ontario: Queens Printer.

Curlingexplains the occurrence of criminal behavior using the psychodynamicperspective. The author states that the aggressive behavior that isnormally found in violent criminals is an id-based human impulse thatis repressed in individuals who grow in a safe environment duringtheir childhood. This explanation is based on Freud’s observationthat violent behavior is a product of some unconscious forces thatoperated within an individual’s mind. Criminal behavior occurs whenaggressive behavior remains uncontrolled or it exceeds the usualdegree. The article is a useful resource that will help in explaininghow improper childhood experiences cause aggressive behavior thatleads to criminal behavior when it is uncontrolled.

Fonagy,P. &amp Target, M. (2007). The rooting of the mind in the body: Newlinks between attachment theory and psychoanalytic thought. Journalof the American Psychoanalytic Association,55, 411-456.

Fonagyand Target discuss the relationship between attachment andpsychoanalytic perspectives. The authors established that the child’ssocial environments play a critical role in determining whether theywill adopt criminal behavior. The social environment is in turndetermined by kid-parent attachment. Children who experiencedeprivation or confronted by psychological consequences of abusiveparenting are more likely to develop criminal behavior. The articleis a review of literature, which allowed the authors to identifyresearch trends in the development of criminal behaviors, but theauthors’ analysis is limited to the data collected by otherauthors. The article will be used to discuss how child’s attachmentdetermines the development of criminal behavior.

Hyland,P., Boduszek, D. &amp Kieliewicz, K. (2011). A psycho-historicalanalysis of Adolf Hitler: The role of personality, psychopathology,and development. Psychologyand Society,4 (2), 58-63.

Thearticle explores factors that contribute towards the occurrence ofcriminal behavior using the psychoanalytic perspective and with acase study of Adolf Hitler. The authors describe Hitler as an inhumanleader, whose could do anything (including killing) to develop theThird Reich. The author holds that Hitler engaged in criminalbehavior as a way of compensating for perceived threats that he feltafter being brought up in Germany, a country that encountered insultsfrom the international community. The journal article presents theopinion or the contribution of scholarly experts, which means that itis likely to contain some subjective sections. However, given thecredibility of the authors, the article is a useful source that willbe used to explain how perceived threats during childhood canstimulate the development of criminal behavior.

Moore,M. (2011). Psychological theories of crime and delinquency. Journalof Human Behavior in the Social Environment,21, 226-239.

Moorediscusses several psychological theories that can be used to explainthe occurrence of delinquency of criminal behavior. Moore states thatthe personality traits that determine one’s engagement in criminalbehavior develop in early stages, especially during childhood. Theauthor uses the three components (including id, ego, and superego) ofthe psychoanalytic theory to prove that criminal behavior occurs asan individual tries to find a balance after the disruption of thethree components during the early stages of human growth anddevelopment. The author uses literature review, to advance thepurpose of the article. Although literature review allowed the authorto identify research trends in criminal behavior, the review maycontain the weaknesses of other researchers. However, the article isa useful resource that will be used to explain the relationshipbetween criminal behavior and imbalance in the three components ofthe psychoanalytic theory.

Victoroff,J. (2005). The minds of the terrorist: A review and critique ofpsychological approach. Journalof Conflict Resolution,49 (1), 3-42.

Victoroffused the psychoanalytic model to explain the criminal behavior ofterrorists. The author identified that terrorist behavior is asymptom of unresolved intra-psychic issues that are associated withnegative childhood experiences. The negative experiences may resultfrom one’s interaction with other people, parenting that influenceone’s health as well as temperament, and active unconscious forcesthat exclude thoughts that unpleasant from the consciousness. Thearticle is a review of the past empirical studies, which make asuitable source that will enhance the researcher’s understanding ofthe relationship between one’s unconscious world and criminalbehavior.

Yakeley,J. &amp Meloy, J. (2012). Understanding violence: Doespsychoanalytic thinking matter? Aggressionand Violent Behavior,17, 229-239.

Thearticle addressed the use of psychoanalysis theory to assessindividuals for probability of engaging in violent crime. The authorsidentified that behavior that is associated with violent crime israrely identified by psychoanalysts, but a few psychoanalysts whomanaged to use the theory have developed frameworks that enhance theunderstanding of the inner lives of the affected persons. The authorsheld that poor paternal as well as maternal attachment disrupts theprocess of superego development, which increase the probability ofone’s engagement in violent crimes. The authors used the literaturereview methodology, which allowed them to understand the gaps in theprevious studies. The article will make a significant contribution byenhancing the understanding of how childhood experiences are relatedto the development of the superego and violent criminal behavior.

References

Curling,A. (2008). Findings,analysis and conclusions.Ontario: Queens Printer.

Fonagy,P. &amp Target, M. (2007). The rooting of the mind in the body: Newlinks between attachment theory and psychoanalytic thought. Journalof the American Psychoanalytic Association,55, 411-456.

Hyland,P., Boduszek, D. &amp Kieliewicz, K. (2011). A psycho-historicalanalysis of Adolf Hitler: The role of personality, psychopathology,and development. Psychologyand Society,4 (2), 58-63.

Moore,M. (2011). Psychological theories of crime and delinquency. Journalof Human Behavior in the Social Environment,21, 226-239.

Victoroff,J. (2005). The minds of the terrorist: A review and critique ofpsychological approach. Journalof Conflict Resolution,49 (1), 3-42.

Yakeley,J. &amp Meloy, J. (2012). Understanding violence: Doespsychoanalytic thinking matter? Aggressionand Violent Behavior,17, 229-239.

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