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Potential Reasons: Criminal Psychology Add in library

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Questioin:

Discuss the potential reasons behind the crimes, murders, and violent sexual?
 
 

Answer:

The potential reasons behind the crimes, murders, and violent sexual abuse could be analysed with psychological theories, evidences and comparisons between cases that will be provided in the course of the case study. The key factors which will be dealt with in the following case study are the background or upbringing of the main subjects of the cases, different psychological theories with will be helpful in providing the reasons behind the commitment of such crimes and its related behaviour. Among the several of theories psychoanalytical/attachment theory, physiological, social learning theory, rape theories, biological factor, and rational choice theory, may be used to evaluate the reasons behind the criminal behaviour in the nature of cases that are to be dealt in this case study. For this purpose, the case of Reginald Tone and Edward Theodore Gein may be compared (Moore).

Outline of the cases                              

In 2008, Reginald Tone was convicted of committing 3 murders and 10 sexual assaults against women. These offences were denied by him, and further comment was made by him that, he was not asked to stop while ‘having sex’ with them. During further investigation it was noticed that all the women (of varied age limit between 18-45 years) had brown hairs. The site of the crime was the house of the women and the further noticeable point is that, while raping the women, he would strangle them with items of victim’s clothing, generally gown’s cord. It was also noticed by the police that in every case, an intimate item of the victim was missing. In brief the key events of Reginald’s life which have resulted in such a criminal behaviour in him are; the distance from his mother, leaving of his sister Susan, watching his father assaulting his mother and sister, watching disturbing videos, followed by the killing of his pet by his father and his head injury ('Editorial Board').

This case may be compared with the case of Edward Theodore Gein (born on August 27th, 1906, birth place-La Crosse, wi. On a 160 acre farmland in Plainfield, Wisconsin, a few meters away of the city, as a child he lived with his family. The major turning point in the life of Edward that may have initiated such behaviour in him are, the ideology imparted to him about the outside world by his mother and the way he was brought up, the death of his mother along with the death of his father and brother, and also obsession of sexual fantasies and human anatomy. In the following period of time, evidences were found of murder, and use of the body parts of the victim were found from him. In both the cases, the above mentioned theories may be used to find out the underlying reason behind such abnormal, criminal behaviours of the mentioned subjects. In the dimention of Reginald’s case the theories which are applicable to understand his behavioural pattern are: Psychoanalytic theory –Attachment theory, Rape theory which may be included in socio-biological approach, Physiological theory, Social learning theory and rational choice theory. On the other hand, in case of the second study, Psychoanalytical theory, Social learning theory and biological theory may be taken into account. While discussing each of these theories in respect to both the cases, it may be noticed and pointed out the way how each of these have in some way or the other contributed the behaviours related to the crimes that each subject have committed in the above discussed cases (Jackson).

 

Analysis of the cases

The case study mentioned here explains an incident of criminal psychology.  The case here deals with the criminal offence of the character named Reginald Tone.  The character here is a 36 year old married man and father of two children, who was convicted in 2008 of drug possession and drug dealing.  In order to analyse the case of Reginald Tone, a look back into the childhood life and family history of Reginald is necessary.  Reginald Tone, the son of Bill and Irene, was the youngest in the family,  who lived with his elder siblings John,  Brian,  David and Susan.  The birth of Reginald was not welcomed by the family and he was born in a family that was in need of money. Soon after the birth of Reginald, his mother Irene became ignorant towards him. Father Bill was always short tempered with reluctant attitude towards his wife and children.  Reginald's elder brothers were always busy with their life.  only sister Susan seemed to be affectionate towards her baby brother.  Reginald who was always deprived from parental affection, at a minor age of 4 was confronted with a violent and abusive act of his father towards his mother.  When 7 year old, he was exposed to a adult video tape showing violent humiliation act. Reginald also had a disturbed school life, committing juvenile crimes like stealing and animal abuse. When he was 15, he experienced see with his school mate. Following this, he was gradually inclined towards unusual sexual behaviour.  He was also sent to young offenders’ institution for rehabilitation. Therefore,  this case marks a clear indication of criminal psychology. 

Based on the case history, analysis can be made with the help of three distinct psychological theories; which may further provide the major reasons behind why the crimes, murders and sexual assult were committed by this character. The theories considered here are the psychoanalytical, physiological and rape theories.

Psychoanalytical Theory- Sigmund Freud, the founder of this theory, explained that things that happen to people during their childhood can be a contributing factor to the way they behave in their adult age. Freud stated that the human mind has two parts - conscious and the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind often prompts people to make certain decision even if they are not recognizable on a conscious level. It is very evident from different case studies that the aggressive behaviour of criminal s is often traced to the violent ways they themselves were treated during their formative years. Similar is the case of Reginald who had experienced psychological rejection and isolation during his childhood days, which is quite common in see offenders (Haapsalo and Kannonen, 1997). This theory is mainly based on deprivation from parental affection and rejection by the family members.  Reginald's offending behaviour implied that he wanted to avenge the abuse and the isolation that he faced as a child on the other women he went on to rape in the later years of his life; firstly the physical abuse from his father and secondly the ignorant behaviour of his mother towards him. Research supporting this theory was performed by Marshall (2010); the finding revealed inferior attachment quality with a feeling of loneliness and the absence of romantic relationship.  This attitude was very evident in the case of Reginald.  The finding of  Hallin et al (2012) explained the connection between premature birth with an insecure attachment attitude during adolescence.  Vronsky (2004), through his research showed that a two year old child lacking touch, love and care holds certain psychopathic traits, lacking empathy and sympathy. Tone's life was also affected with similar lack of affection, which lead him to commit criminal offence at the age of 15. The investigation of Wiess (1973) explained that this lack of attachment causes "emotional loneliness" and unstable relationship. Same was the case of Reginald, who inspite of being married, suffered with an unstable relationship.

 

Rape theory- Ellis (1989) detailed the socio-biological approach to crime by three major rape theories; the feminist theory, social learning theory and the evolutionary theory. Tone's life seemed applicable to the feminist theory. Disturbed childhood life, abusive behaviour of father were the major setback in Reginald's life. He slowly became influenced with the desire of power and dominance to gain equilibrium of six disparities in social status and lead him to commit such crime. Detailed studies of scientists like Hirschman (1991), Bates (1996), Howitt (2002), Waterhouse et al (1994) could relate with Reginald Tone's criminal psychology.

Psychological theory- This theory is grounded on traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can be related with criminal offence.  The findings of Williams (2012), revealed that 50-80% of the offender population had a past TBI incident. Also, TBI was shown to affect the frontal lobes which are strongly correlated with impulsive violence and crime, (Brower and Price, 2010). Reginald also suffered from TBI at a minor age causing brain damage. According to Miller (1991), head injuries are of two distinct types: penetrative injury and closed head injury.  Reginald suffered from closed head injury causing dysfunctional frontal, temporal and occipital lobes of the brain.

This case study, whose main character was Reginald Tone, is supported by various theories in order to understand the criminal psychology of the person concerned.  It is quite evident that different unwanted incidents which took place in Reginald's life, eventually lead him towards criminal activities. Beginning with parental deprivation of affection, early brain damage, mother’s ignorance, father's abusive behaviour, disturbed school life, collectively pushed Reginald towards committing criminal offence and eventually turned him into a criminal.

The theories that could be considered in the case of Reginald are mentioned in the above the above the study. Now the mentioned theories may be discussed and the criminal behaviour of the subject may be evaluated on its basis.

Psychoanalytic theory/Attachment theory

As forwarded by Bowlby (1969), it is conveyed by the theory of attachment, for a child to form a sense of security and bond, the early attachment with the mother is necessary. If the child is deprived of this attachment, the child may feel unwanted, unloved and deprived. In the future the consequences may be serious. In the case of Reginald the detachment from his mother (as he had a premature birth, due to which kept in specialist baby unit for care), and the unavailability of his mother in the early bonding period is a crucial factor in his behavioural pattern ('Editorial Board').

 

Social learning theory

As suggested by Bandura (1986), that the origination of violent behaviours may be through imitation. In other words, when one imagines himself or herself in the place of other, then the incorporation of the visions occurs into the self. In relation to this case, Reginald has witnessed violent acts; his father assaulted his mother and sister. He witnessed such acts in a very early age, which may have vast adverse effects in the mind of a child. Reginald, according to the theory of social learning, imitated those violent acts of his father which he had witnessed at a very early age, and had a reflection in the future. This could be seen, from the violent sexual attacks he had committed against the women and through his first sexual encounter with his girlfriend Amy. According to her, he was very rough and violent in their relationship. It can also be noticed that, the sexual violence that he committed against the women was a source of pleasure for him, moreover, the behaviour that was carried out by his father seemed appropriate to him as a result it was justified and motivating for him to repeat those behaviours.

Rape theories

All the major rape theories: feminist theory, evolutionary theory is applicable in this case. The nature of his upbringing is the applicable reason of feminist theory. As of evolutionary theory, it states that there must be some kind of evolutionary gain in the behaviour of rape, which can be seen from the age limit of the victims all in the range of age 18-40 that is the reproductive age ('Corrigendum').

Physiological theory

This theory is based on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) which have a correlation with the risk of offending. According to Williams from a population of offenders 50%-80% had suffered TBI incident. In Reginald’s case he had suffered an injury and was predicted of the future risk of brain damage and its related problems

Rational choice theory

According to this theory, an individual while taking the decision of committing a crime is entirely rationale. This can be seen in this case; by the way he commits the crime by justification of the behaviour of his father and way he felt for his sister.

On the issue of the second case, the theories of attachment, social leaning and biological factors may be taken into account (Alleyne and Wood).

 

Attachment theory

It is known that human is a social being, and cannot live in isolation. In the case of Edward, the death of his close family members followed by the death of his mother, who had huge influence on his life and with no real friend he was totally isolated which may have lead to such criminal behaviours.

Social learning theory

Since his childhood he was taught by his mother that worldly things are all evils which also include women. Such kind of impact on a child’s mind may also be the reason behind his behaviour (Jackson).

Biological factors

One aspect in biological factor is stimulation-seeking theory, according to which if an antisocial individual is low on arousal they find ways to stimulate or increase arousal among them. This can be seen by his obsession for human anatomy and sexual fantasies.

It is also worth mentioning that the restriction imposed on his by his mother to remain virgin, had restricted is sexual life which may also prompt such criminal behaviour against women. He was diagnosed to be schizophrenic, conflicted and considered people as object (Gottschalk,).

Synthesis

During the course of the case study, various theories could be applied on Reginald and Edward to find the contributory factor of their lives in accordance to the theories on their nature of criminal behaviour. The theories that are used for the evaluation of Reginald’s behavioural pattern are rational choice theory, psychoanalytical theory, social learning theory, rape theory and physiological theory. On the other hand, for the purpose of evaluation of Edward’s case, biological factor, social learning theory and attachment theory has been used. In both the cases it can be very well noticed that, there are always some attributing factors in the background of the subjects that had a vast contributing factor to their criminal behaviours followed by few side factors which helps in the elevation of such behaviour. The most important and interesting point in this case study is that that background factor in the behavioural pattern in both the cases is liked with the close ones of the subjects, and in both the cases it is the relation of the subject with their mother, it is then followed by their relationship with their other family members. So it may be said that if the subjects had different relation equations with their close ones, then their behavioural pattern would have been different. So in other words, it may be stated, that sense of isolation and insecurity is the key factors. But the theory of attachment are criticised by many and Holmes is one among them. According to him, a child may have more one point of attachment, so lack of attachment with only mother as the causal factor is such behaviour is considered as void by him. The environment which the subjects get while growing is also a factor that is to be noticed. Because, if they would have a secured relationship with the subject’s close ones but subjected to disturbing activities in their environment outside  their families it may also result in the stimulation of such criminal behavioural pattern. In other words, the social learning theory is applicable in explaining this. The unwanted activities viewing which the subjects resulted to such behaviour of them could be imitated or socially learned by them from some other source of reference. It is also worth mentioning that, many a times there sublime factors which are not reflected for long period of time or at early age, but may have reflection after a gap of long period of time (Hiropoulos and Porter).

 It can be seen in the both the cases studied in this case study. While in the case of Reginald it was the head injury or TBI and on the other hand, in case of Edward the long time sublime factor was psychosis (schizophrenia). After which it is elevated or its reflection may occur with series of incidents. In case of Reginald, these series of incidents may be the going away of his sister Susan on whom he depended a lot due to his mother’s lack of attachment and avoidance towards him, seeing his father’s sexual assault on his mother and sister, his father’s killing of his pet and finally coming across with disturbing videos. On the other hand, in the case of Edward, his isolation from the rest of the world due to his mother’s several imposition about the outside world and religion, restricted sexual life, death of his father and brother, followed by the death of his mother leaving him in complete isolation, obsession with human anatomy and sexual fantasies, and finally coming across Gus his separation with him also and the desire to become a women may be the series of occurrence in his case for such criminal behaviour. It may also be underlined that in case of such case studies all the aspects like the social, political and economic background are also to be undertaken. Like in case of Reginald, the economic factor had a big role to play, as during his birth his family was going through economic hardships which may be said as one of the basic reason behind his behaviour and similarly in Edward’s case, it was the imposed concepts in him by his mother and is interest in Nazi secret camp activities, all of which go unnoticed. It so also to be mentioned that the use of these mentioned theories on these cases and its comparison is the USP of this case study (Hiropoulos and Porter).

 

References

Alleyne, Emma, and Jane L. Wood. 'Gang-Related Crime: The Social, Psychological And Behavioral Correlates'. Psychology, Crime & Law 19.7 (2013): 611-627. Web.

'Corrigendum'. Psychology, Crime & Law 20.1 (2012): 100-100. Web.

'Editorial Board'. Psychology, Crime & Law 19.10 (2013): ebi-ebi. Web.

'Editorial Board'. Psychology, Crime & Law 18.10 (2012): ebi-ebi. Web.

Gottschalk, Petter. 'Theories Of Financial Crime'. Journal of Financial Crime 17.2 (2010): 210-222. Web.

Hiropoulos, A, and J Porter. 'Visualising Property Crime In Gauteng: Applying GIS To Crime Pattern Theory'. SA. Crime Q. 47.1 (2014): 17. Web.

Hiropoulos, A, and J Porter. 'Visualising Property Crime In Gauteng: Applying GIS To Crime Pattern Theory'. SA. Crime Q. 47.1 (2014): 17. Web.

Jackson, Jonathan. 'A Psychological Perspective On Vulnerability In The Fear Of Crime'. Psychology, Crime & Law 15.4 (2009): 365-390. Web.

Jackson, Jonathan. 'A Psychological Perspective On Vulnerability In The Fear Of Crime'. Psychology, Crime & Law 15.4 (2009): 365-390. Web.

Moore, Megan. 'Psychological Theories Of Crime And Delinquency'. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 21.3 (2011): 226-239. Web.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss. New York: Basic Books.

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