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Morality and Crime


									Morality and Crime
Do criminals have a different perspective to
             non - criminals?

    Kohlberg’s Theory
    Freud’s theory
    Pavlov’s theory
Social/Moral Development
 Piaget argues that moral development is closely
 related with cognitive development
    Children have difficulties forming moral judgments
   until they get out of egocentric thinking and are able to
   assume another‟s perspective
    Rule-based games are a manifestation of concrete
   operations in children‟s social interactions
    These games provide structures circumstances in
   which children balance the rules of society against their
   own desires
 Methods for studying children‟s moral ideas
    Behavioural observations of games
    Clinical interviews about rules and moral dilemmas

    Can you see any problems with this approach?
Boys - rules in marble games
 Piaget observed children‟s rule-following behaviour during
 the game of marbles.
 Preschoolers typically played in an egocentric manner. If 2
 boys were playing, each would play in his own way. They
 had little sense of winning, one might yell ¨I won and you
 won too!¨
 After age 7, children tried to follow common rules that
 determine who wins. Rules were fixed and determined by
 authority – God or the government!
 After age 10, children were more relativistic - began to
 treat rules as social conventions that could be changed if
 the other players agreed.
Stages of moral development:
Piaget found two qualitatively different forms of
 moral judgments, which follow an amoral stage
 Heteronomous morality (Age 4-7): ¨subject to
 another’s law¨
   child regards adult rules as sacred and unchangeable
   moral wrongness is defined in terms of adult sanctions
   acts that are wrong are ones acts that adults punish
   moral responsibility is understood as obedience to
   evaluate actions in terms of its consequences. e.g., a
   well-intended act with a big physical damage is
   considered to be more naughty than a negatively
   intended act resulting in less physical damage
Moral judgments
 Piaget used stories to assess the nature of moral
 judgments of children.
 Ali was outside when his mother called him in for
 dinner. As he opened the dining room door he
 accidentally knocked over a tray of cups, breaking
 all eight of them.
 Compare him with Osman who came home from
 school hungry. Though his mother told him not to
 eat before dinner, he climbed up the cupboard
 anyway to steal a cookie; while up there, he broke
 one cup.
 Who is naughtier, Ali or Osman?
Moral judgments
 After school Michael ran into a market, stole three
 large, red apples and ran out the door. As he fled a
 policeman saw and chased him.
 In attempting to escape, Michael crossed a bridge.
 As he reached the top, the bridge cracked, Michael
 fell into the water, and he was captured.
 Would the bridge have broken if Michael had not
 stolen the apples?
 What would a younger/older child say?
Stages of moral development:
 Autonomous morality (Age 8 on):
 ¨subject to one’s own law¨
    moral flexibility: rules can be changed
    rules are now regarded as products of group
    wrongdoing interpreted in terms of subjective
   intentions, not objective consequences. See
   previous moral judgement – stolen apples.
Factors causing moral development
General cognitive development from egocentrism
to perspective-taking. Valid?
Stage theory, universal , invariant and
hierarchical.              Flexible?
Changed social relations
  early on, child-parent relations are predominant. But
  peer interactions increase during middle
  childhood…affecting moral development
   peer relations are based on reciprocal negotiations
  based on consensus, not on unilateral respect for
  authority figures or constraint. Valid?
Kohlberg: moral development
 Modified and elaborated on Piaget‟s ideas about
 moral thinking
 Used interviews with individuals based on moral
 dilemmas (e.g., the Heinz dilemma)
 In Europe, a woman was near death from cancer. One drug might
    save her, a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had
    recently discovered. The druggist was charging $2,000, ten times
    what the drug cost him to make. The sick woman‟s husband,
    Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he
    could get together only about half of what it cost. He told the
    druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or
    let him pay later. The druggist said no. The husband got desperate
    and broke into the man‟s store to steal the drug for his wife.

   Should the husband had done that? Why?
        Write your answer in private.
Kohlberg: moral development
Found 3 kinds of morality that form a
developmental order. Stage theory.
The preconventional morality: the child shows
no internalization of moral values, just based on
punishment (stage 1) or reward/benefit (stage 2)
  Stage 1 (Heteronomous morality) (Age 4-7):
   • obedience for its own sake
   • involves deference to powerful people, usually the
     parents, in order to avoid punishment
   • the morality of an act is defined in terms of its
     physical consequences
   • Heinz should not steal the medicine because he will
     be put in jail
Kohlberg: moral development
 The preconventional morality
   Stage 2 (Instrumental morality) (Age 7-10):
    • the child conforming to gain rewards
    • although there is evidence of reciprocity and
      sharing, it is a manipulative, self-serving reciprocity
      rather than one based on a true sense of justice,
      generosity, or sympathy
    • justice is seen as an exchange system; you give as
      much as you receive
          I’ll lend you my bike if I can play with your
    • Heinz should steal the drug because someday he
      might have cancer and would want someone to steal
      it from him
The conventional morality: the child‟s
internalization of moral values is intermediate.
He/she abides by certain standards of other people
such as parents (stage 3) or the rules of society
(stage 4)
  Stage 3 (Good-child morality) (Age: 10-12)
   • good behaviour is that which maintains approval and good
     relations with others
   • the child is concerned about conforming to friends’ and
     families’ standards to maintain good-will and good
   • a social-relational moral perspective develops, based on
     feelings and agreements between people
   • Heinz should steal the drug for his wife. He loves his wife
     and his wife loves him. You can do anything for love!
Stage 4
 Stage 4) "He should steal it. Heinz has a
 duty to protect his wife's life; it's a vow he
 took in marriage. However it's wrong to
 steal, so he would have to take the drug
 with the idea of paying the druggist for it
 and accepting the penalty (of) breaking the
 law later." (Rest, 1979)
Stages 5 and 6
 (Stage 5) "Although there is a law against stealing,
 the law wasn't meant to violate a person's right to
 life. . . . Heinz is justified in stealing in this
 instance. If Heinz is prosecuted for stealing, the
 law needs to be reinterpreted to take into account
 (certain) situations. . . ." (Rest, 1979)
 (Stage 6) "If Heinz does not do everything he can
 to save his wife, then he is putting some value
 higher than the value of life. It doesn't make sense
 to put respect for property above respect for life
 itself." (Kohlberg, 1969)
Convention vs. morality
 In a study by Nucci (1981), children were
 asked about dilemmas based on conventions
 and dilemmas based on morality.
 An example of a convention dilemma is:
 There is a school in a faraway place where
 boys can wear dresses.
 Is it okay for a boy to wear a dress in that
Convention vs. morality
 An example of the matching moral dilemma is:
 There is a school in a faraway place where there's
 no rule against hitting other kids.
 Is it okay to hit other kids if you go to that school?
 When these two types of dilemma are juxtaposed,
 even very young children (ages four to six) show
 that they understand that moral transgressions are
 worse than violations of social convention (e.g.,
 it's okay for boys to wear dresses, but it's still not
 okay for kids to hit each other).
Reasoning and actual behaviour
 How does children‟s reasoning about fairness
 correspond to their actual behaviour?
 Damon did a study in which 6-year-old and 10-
 year-old groups were asked to divide candy bars
 given to their group as ¨payment¨ for making
     6-year-olds insisted that fairness means equal outcomes
     Older children were better able to adjust the outcome to
     fit the profile of abilities and contributions in the group
 in about 50 % of the cases, children‟s behaviour matched
 their reasoning level in hypothetical situations
 in 10 % of the cases, their behaviour was at a higher level
 in 40 % of the cases, it was lower. Influence on stage
 real candies make a difference!
 Thorkildsen studied children‟s ability to consider
 context in reasoning about fairness
 She told to children from 6- to 11-year olds that
 there is a classroom where everyone is trying hard
 to learn how to read, but some children finish the
 assignments more quickly than others
 Then asked them to rate the fairness of faster
 readers helping slower readers in each of these 3
   is it fair for the teacher to ask the fast readers to help
   the slow readers during a reading lesson?
   is it fair for the good readers to help the slow readers by
   whispering answers during a spelling test?
   is it fair for the good readers to help the slow readers
   during a test?
 The nature of the activity made a difference in the
 judgments of all the children
 All children thought it was fair to have a reading
 lesson in which children work independently or
 help each other
   but it would be unfair to introduce competition
 if the activity was a spelling test, they thought it
 would be unfair to help
 6-year-olds were as good as 11-year-olds in taking
 social context into account
Evidence for Kohlberg
 Researchers have concluded that
 delinquent adolescents are more likely to
 display Stage 1 or Stage 2 moral
 reasoning whereas non delinquent youth
 are more often in Stage 3 (Arbuthnot et
 al., 1987).
Evidence against Kohlberg
 Poor reliability
 Correlational data
 Inconsistent for different crimes
 Moral dilemma method - ecological validity
Evidence against Kohlberg
 The failure to control for variations in personality;
 The failure to control for the type of offence.
 (Thornton and Reid (1982) reported that convicted
 criminals who had offended for no financial gain
 (assault, murder, sex offences) showed more
 mature moral judgement than those who offended
 for money (robbery, burglary, theft, fraud)).
Evidence against Kohlberg
 As both Ross and Fabiano (1985) and Arbuthnot
 and Gordon (1986) point out, research has focused
 on the offender‟s beliefs and attitudes (content),
 this can be contrasted with the offender‟s actions
 Ross and Fabiano suggest: „One can argue
 eloquently and convincingly about social/moral
 issues yet have a personal set of values which are
 entirely self-serving, hedonistic or anti-social‟
 Consider politicians such as Jeffery Archer who
 during the course of their office espouse virtue but
 do not practice it, by committing perjury for
Evidence against Kohlberg
 Several well-known experiments have
 shown that people will behave in ways
 which they believe or know to be wrong,
 being influenced by the present situation
 rather than their individual disposition to
 behave morally (Asch 1952; Milgram
Evidence against Kohlberg
 Tests of moral development which assess answers
 to hypothetical moral and social issues have also
 been criticized as having little relevance to the
 type of thinking an offender engages in when
 deciding whether to commit a crime (Jurkovic
 Indeed, studies of thinking prior to offending
 show that the criminal is not concerned with moral
 issues, but rather with the likelihood of being
 successful (J. Carroll and Weaver 1986).
          Freud‟s Theory

Structural (Tripartite) Theory

Freud‟s second model of the mind
to explain psychopathology

Developed in the early 1900‟s
The ID
 Home of instinctual Drives
 “I want it and I want it NOW”
 Completely unconscious
 Present at birth
 Operates on the Pleasure Principle
 (instinctual urges) and employs Primary
 Process Thinking (immediate gratification)
The Superego
 Internalized morals/values- sense of right
 and wrong
 Suppresses instinctual drives of ID (through
 guilt and shame) and serves as the moral
The Superego
 Largely unconscious, but has conscious
 Develops with socialization, and through
 identification with same-sex parent (via
 introjection) at the resolution of the Oedipal
 Introjection: absorbing rules for behavior
 from role models
“Ego” Defense Mechanisms
 The Ego employs “ego defense mechanisms”
 They serve to protect an individual from
 unpleasant thoughts or emotions
 Defense Mechanisms are primarily unconscious
 Result from interactions between the ID, Ego, and
 Superego. Thus, they‟re compromises.
 Attempts to express an impulse (to satisfy the ID)
 in a socially acceptable or disguised way (so that
 the Superego can deal with it).
 Some defense mechanisms explain aspects of
   E.g. Identification with aggressor: can explain
   tendency of some abused kids to grow into abusers
Classification of Defenses

Mature Defenses
 Altruism - unselfishly assisting others to avoid
   negative personal feelings
 Anticipation -thinking ahead and planning
 Sublimation - rerouting an unacceptable drive in a
   socially acceptable way; redirecting the energy from a
   forbidden drive into a constructive act. E.g.Martial Arts
 Suppression - deliberately (consciously) pushing
   anxiety-provoking or personally unacceptable material
   out of conscious awareness
Immature Defenses - some examples
Acting Out Behaving in an           Projection Falsely attributing
attention-getting, often socially   one‟s own unacceptable
inappropriate manner to avoid       impulses or feelings onto others
dealing with unacceptable
emotions or material
                                    Displacement Redirection of
                                    unacceptable feelings, impulses
Somatization Unconscious            from their source onto a less
transformation of unacceptable      threatening person or object
impulses or feelings into           Repression Keeping an idea
physical symptoms                   or feeling out of conscious
Regression Return to                Magical Thinking A
earlier level of functioning        thought is given great power,
(childlike behaviours) during       deemed to have more of a
stressful situations                connection to events than is
Denial Unconsciously                    E.g. Thinking about a
discounting external reality            disaster can bring it about
Evidence for Freud
 Are the defence mechanism valid?
 Do you have experience of such
 Socialisation depends on a good
 relationship with parents
 Can explain child abuse and paedophilia
Evidence against Freud
 Case study method (e.g. Little Hans)
 Little research evidence.
 Small samples.
 Difficult to clearly categorise – subjective.
Classical Conditioning

 Is the basis for social learning theory.
Ivan Pavlov and the role of
 Russian physiologist
 studying the digestive
 Focusing on what
 substance helped to break
 food down
 One notable substance
 studied was saliva
 Developed method to
 measure saliva production
Salivary Conditioning Apparatus
Process of Pavlov‟s Saliva Research
 Dog given food and salivation was recorded while the
 dog ate
 Key finding: Experienced dogs salivated before the
 food was presented
 Pavlov‟s Theory: Some stimulus (e.g. experimenter;
 apparatus) that proceeded food presentation had
 acquired capacity to elicit the response of salivation
 What was happening? Dogs were exhibiting simple
 type of learning
 This type of learning is the foundation of Classical
Classical conditioning –
Evidence for
 Children can be made to feel guilt by
 The basis of social learning theory.
 Bandura. Behaviour is a product of
 reinforcement and imitation.
Classical conditioning –
Evidence against
 Ignores cognition. Determinism criminal
 behaviour is out of a persons‟ control vs.
 morality suggests we have a choice whether
 to behave criminally. Free will.
 Children who are reasoned with plus a mild
 punishment show the most improvement
Evaluation points
 These three theories have some research
 evidence to back them up but the methods
 used are all questionable:
   Moral dilemmas
   Case studies
   Story telling (Piaget)
   Animal experiments with dogs applied to
The End

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