How does behaviorism explain criminal behavior? What criticisms most damage behaviorisms ties to crime and delinquency? How do they do the most damage? On the word of behaviorism, behavior can be studied in a methodical and observable fashion with no regard of internal mental states. Without regard for scientifically accredited phenomena how are theories given any recognition? Behaviorism doesn’t explain why crime occurs rather than simply attesting the actions and re-actions of the actors engaging in the behavior.
Classical conditioning is a method applied in behavioral training where naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response. Then, a previously neutral stimulus is paired with the naturally occurring stimulus. Ultimately, the previously neutral stimulus comes to induce the response without the presence of the naturally occurring stimuli. Operant conditioning is a method of the learning theory that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.
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Behavior has been proven to be modified but it has not been proven to explain criminal behavior. According to behaviorism, criminal behavior is caused by the reaction to environmental stimuli. For example, an aggressive criminal may act the way he does because he has grown up observing that act in his own family. Ultimately, causing the actor to think that the behavior he was observing and is now engaging in is normal. This seems more of a nature vs. nurture issue. Hans Eysenck (Criminal Personality Theory) who does not believe that the nature vs. urture debate in anyway resolves the crime-causation debate suggests that criminality is not an inherited trait; however, certain inherited characteristics make criminality more likely. He used the nervous system to explain different personality types. He divided controlling behavior into two types (1) that which is the result of the quality of conditioning and (2) that which is inherited. In short meaning how you were conditioned to respond to certain environmental stimuli and your ANS which is inherited. The CNS consists of the brain and spinal chord and contains most of our nervous system and controls behavior.
Hans Eysenck portrays that two personality type’s exhibit the highest proneness to criminal behavior. Persons or neurotic extraverts who require high stimulation levels from their environment due to their biology and persons who are psychotic extraverts???due to unknown physiological reasons are cruel, hostile, insensitive to others, and unemotional but not “out of touch” with reality. Behavioral methodology would not deliberate predisposition in explaining a behavior that could be labeled as “criminal”. Behaviorists would by preference look to the individual’s milieu for indications that would elucidate criminal behavior.