Psychology Essays - Offender Media Psychology

Criminal Press Psychology

In media depictions, "legal psychology is frequently portrayed in an exceedingly favourable light, almost as though it were a sort of 'secret knowledge'" (Hale et al, 2005). Critically evaluate mass media (mis)representations relating to the intersection of psychology and crime. Within your answer make particular reference to a filmic depiction of your offending behaviour. Make sure you utilize both mainstream and critical literature within your conversation.

The term 'Serial Killer' attacks fear deep into the hearts of most, however it is often thought that dread is exactly what drives some curiosities, thus finding it appropriate to comprehend why serial killers commit horrific functions of assault repetitively. Finkelhor (1984) four-factor model, public learning theory, psychodynamic theory, 'Aspect V Nurture' and treatment programs for offending behaviour all play a role in understanding and treating psychopathological tendencies.

We all experience trend and inappropriate sexual instincts, yet we've some kind of interior cage that continues our internal monsters locked up. These inside blockades have long since been trampled down in the psychopathic killer. Not only have they let loose the monster within; they are exclusive slaves to its beastly appetites. Why women and men develop into serial killers has been one of the primary questions guiding research on severe deviant behaviour in the 21st century.

The film titled 'Natural Born Killers' is based upon two fictional serial killers who go on a rampage, slaughtering their way across the south-west of United States and ultimately saying fifty-two victims who are then made famous by the mass media. The film catches specific behaviours by both serial killers that may be psychologically explained with regards to that they are first modelled to act in the manner that they certainly and exactly how this behavior was formed from early child years. Serial killers can be inspired from the first stages of life from as early childhood.

Finkelhor (1984) proposed a four-factor style of the preconditions to child intimate abuse, which combine the various ideas about why individuals get started to participate in sexually deviant behavior. Finkelhor produced an organisational construction consisting of four separate underlying factors that describe not only why offenders maltreatment, but also why the mistreatment remains. The factors recognized to donate to child sexual abuse are grouped into four pre-conditions; such as, motivation, internal inhibitions, external inhibitions, and blockage.

Mallory's father would have had to create inspiration to sexually abuse. Morals and taboos would need to be ignored, usually, argues Finkelhor, sexual abuse wouldn't appear. Mallory's daddy found his wife to be of less acceptable of sexual satisfaction, which led him release a his sexual frustration after Mallory. This provided the 'determination' had a need to carry out this kind of maltreatment. In relationship with motivation, the actual fact that ladies are a actually weaker focus on than me clarifies why he selects women as there is a lot more chance to achieve success.

Psychologists assert that internal controls are not developed because of deficient or deviant prices of an person. It really is obvious a man with strong and right beliefs will not even think of such a humiliation of the innocent woman and of ruining her life. Without inside inhibitions, the abuser can proceed with little care for the thoughts of the victim and he's own. This led Mallory's father to sexually abuse Mallory.

Mallory's father experienced no exterior inhibitions to stop him from holding act this abnormal work. In Mallory's circumstance, the sexual abuser, her daddy, had no obstacles avoiding him from sexually abusing Mallory, thus erotic abuse took place. Thus, children who are sexually abused learn intimacy through incorrect means, of course, if uncovered enough, children may internalise this discovered behaviour. When this occurs after an extended time frame, the offender begins to behave appropriately. Thus this leads the sexually abused child to develop chronic low grade unhappiness, low self-esteem, credited to being ridiculed their lifetime thus distorting her view of the world. This distorted view after the earth, perhaps, had influenced her extreme assault upon her victims.

Blockage essentially deals with the abuser's capacity to obtain his intimate and psychological needs achieved in adult associations. The abuser must get over a child's 'resistance', a kind of blockage to being sexually abused. Abusers select a susceptible child who show little or no signs that they could withstand the offender. In Mallory's case, as a child, she covertly shown a self-confident and assertive manner which conveyed a strong meaning to her abuser not to try fear of detection against her, but still, still sexually abusing her when you are co-coerced by her father.

Psychodynamic theory asserts that the real human psyche is composed of three most important elements; the identification, the ego, and the superego. The identification is the unconscious site from which all the instinctual human drives originate (i. e. love-making, hostility). The identification is ruled by the pleasure concept that requirements instant gratification of these urges. The next part of Freud's model, the ego, is the conscious area of the individual psyche that functions as the mediation between your id and the exterior environment. The final aspect, the superego, is additionally referred to as the conscience. Thus, serial killers seem to be to be confused by their identification. This theory seems to have corresponding relations to Mickey and Mallory's intimate maltreatment and later why Mickey raped and sexually abused himself towards his own victims. In this respect, the environment takes on an important part in the up-bringing of a kid and life-long results. Studies have recommended that anywhere from 30% to 80% of offenders have been sexually abused themselves before, and this information may offer credible research to aid this theory.

Both Mallory and Mickey didn't receive care as an infant, thus they were both negatively afflicted into adulthood. In a nutshell, serial killers seem to be to express their feelings of oppression from youth by means of brutal murders. The Superego (or the conscience) of rapists is not strong enough to countervail the untamed inborn instincts of the Identification. Freud promises that the sexual instinct is the most effective in people's decisions, however the Superego manages to regulate it. But when the Superego is weakened, sexual abusers listen to this crazy instinct to gratify the intimate wish. Furthermore, it is quite possible that many sex offenders are very self centred people who are incredibly selfish, and were only seeking to gratify their own yearnings. Thus id, ego and superego become relevant to the argument.

According to Bandura, observational learning is achieved by viewing and then systematically rehearsing the modeled behaviour and then finally reenacted in reality. With regards to the depicted film 'Natural Born Killers' the information injected in to the public can sometimes pass the wrong messages to the wrong viewers. For example, On March 5 1995 Sarah Turnondson and Ben Darrus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, observed the film 'Natural Born Killers' repeatedly and fantasized about recreating the views by randomly killing people. Over the 7th March, near Hernando, Mississippi, Ben joined an office and taken Bill Savage twice in the head at point-blank range. Sarah points out later to the authorities that: "it was as if he was fantasizing from the movie". In this case, Ben 'learned' the modeled tendencies and reenacted the characteristics of your serial killer.

The social learning theory areas that particular individuals, especially children, are affected by the environment and therefore imitate this action, especially modeled action from the mass media which completely ignores a person's biological point out. Also, the interpersonal learning theory rejects differences formed in people that are due to hereditary, brain, and learning dissimilarities. For example, if a child witnessed a crime or murder, he or she might respond in a variety of ways. Biological psychologists believe that the responses would be normal and they result from the autonomic nervous system. Furthermore, the sociable learning theory rejects the traditional and operant conditioning processes.

The 'Social Learning' theory can be broken down into four learning techniques, such as; Attention, Retention, Electric motor Duplication, and Reinforcements. In Attention, individuals cannot learn much by observation unless they keep what they looked at and then respond out significant modeled action, such as Mickey's murdering rampage by Ben Darrison. In order to reproduce this habit, the average person must code this information into long-term storage area. Therefore, the info will be retrieved for later use. For instance, verbal information acted out by backup cat killers by witty one liners such as "you poor darling, you are not inactive yet" by Mallory is recognized as retention.

'Motor reproduction' can be involved with the fact that the observer must have the ability to reproduce the model's patterns. The observer must learn and posses the physical capacities to produce the aggressive function. However, in cases like this, Ben Darrison used the weapon method to work out this particular murder. Ben watched the film consistently to learn the modeled tendencies to perfect the same patterns and physical activity of the imaginary serial killer.

The last process in observational learning is reinforcements. In this process, the observer expects to receive positive reinforcements for the modeled habit. For example, the serial killers in 'Natural Given birth to Killers' were portrayed as super-stars by the imaginary American open public for their killing spree reputation, as well as being portrayed as a form of, yet again, hidden knowledge research. Ben Darrison would thus believe that such patterns would be reflected in 'actuality' as a result of positive reinforcements determined by the media (Bandura, 1977). Furthermore to learning patterns by influence of the surroundings and the mass media, it is important to address the possibilities of hereditary factors that could contribute to unlawful behavior.

Classical Fitness (Watson, 1913) argues that tendencies could be grasped in the term of conditioned reactions. He also argued that learning could be studied by observing patterns of people, in the same way that rats, cats and dogs were observed. Based on the murder completed by Ben Darrison, Ben had viewed and studied the film several times before carrying out the murderous rampage. After viewing the film several times, a kind of classical fitness, he modeled this new habit to carry out legal activities.

Classical conditioning causes the process of behavior adjustment by when the subject, Ben Darrison, starts to act in response in a desired manner to a previously neutral stimulus that is repeatedly matched with an unconditioned stimulus. Such unconditioned stimulus is the seen materials of 'Natural created Killers'. The natural stimulus then becomes conditioned and triggers the conditioned response, such as, Ben Darrison reenacting the new modeled action and getting rid of relentlessly.

In a famous research 'Little Albert' he exhibited how specific doubts might be conditioned in humans. Their subject was an 11 month old baby called Albert. 'Little Albert' like the majority of infants, feared loud noises, but not white rats. So Watson and Rayner (1920) shown him with a white rat so when he reached out to touch it, struck a hammer against a metal bar just behind his brain. After seven repetitions of discovering the rat and experiencing the frightening noises, Albert burst into tears at the mere look of the rat. Also 5 times later Albert exhibited generalization of his conditioned reaction to the rat by responding with fear when presented with a rabbit and a puppy. Watson concludes that classical conditioning is one way that all living organisms figure out how to adapt to their environment once specific changes are created to their environment are observed and received.

Operant Fitness (Skinner, 1989) argues that Operant fitness is enough to describe all learning. Skinner argued that' "action operates on the environment to generate repercussions". Thus the backup feline killer, Ben Darrison, was influenced by the legal patterns of the seen advertising source, and because this patterns was preferred in a good light by the filmic depiction of both serial killers acquiring glamour and support by the fictionist American open public, Ben thought that he'd be 'compensated' for such patterns and become glamorized. The topic here, Ben, increased his habit on the remember that he would be rewarded for such tendencies, if however, the film depicted the behavior by both serial killers as negative and damning the behavior that they dedicated, could experienced a different long-term impression on the modeled person.

According to Freud (1912) all humans have natural drives and urges repressed in the unconscious. Moreover he also remarks that all humans have unlawful tendencies. It really is through the process of socialisation these tendencies are curbed by the development of inner settings that are discovered through childhood encounters by being inspired by the environment. (Eysenck, 1977). Thus the issue concerning 'Mother nature V Nurture' was suggested to argue which factor imposes the real reason 'why' certain individuals commit criminal offenses.

According to Gibbons (1968), the genetic theory (character) reveals that inherited traits are specific in nature, i. e. a person inherits inexperienced eye and blonde wild hair. What a lot of people do find difficult is the idea a gene or chromosome may cause the difference between a unlawful and a non-criminal (Eysenck, 1977). There have been numerous studies carried out on twins to determine whether genetic impact plays a component in criminal behavior. Christiansen (1977) reported on the criminality of a total populace of 3, 586 twin pairs from Denmark. He found that 52% of the twins were concordance for criminal behaviour for similar twin pairs, whilst 22% of the twins were concordant for fraternal twin pairs. These results claim that identical twins bring some form of biological characteristics that increases their risk of becoming involved with criminal behavior (McLaughlin, 2003).

Nature is also concerned with not only hereditary traits but also the effects of brain damage. Many scientists consider brain harm creates a change in human being behavior. The frontal lobe is known as to be responsible for human behaviour that makes us stable and also have adequate social relationships. Damage to the limbic system can even be a cause of serial killers 'dysfunction'. The limbic system controls one's thoughts as well as motivations; some serial killers are thought to have limbic system in the mind damaged. If the limbic brain is broken, it may take into account uncontrollable hostility.

Environmental factors (nurture) also can cause severe problems and donate to deviant behavior, and sometimes resulting in serial killer status. In relation to 'Natural Given birth to Killers' Mallory was brought up in a hostile environment with her repulsive, abusive daddy who traumatised her into committing mass murder. Mallory was also environmentally influenced by Mickey to influence her to kill her parents and also to 'run free' with him to escape her current hostile environment. Also in the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, who got an seemingly normal upbringing, environment will not seem able to explain the behavior displayed. If there is a genetic reason, it is difficult to explain, as we do not see complete families of, in cases like this, serial killers.

No one analysis completed can be said to provide conclusive facts for either genetic factors or environmental factors (Christionsen, 1983). "There should be something in the child himself that your environment brings about in the form of delinquency" (Gibbons, 1968). This price demonstrates the importance of both mother nature and nurture operating together. Any difficulty. it takes a blend of both nature and nurture to comprehend how and just why serial killers decide on sinister means. However if genetics were to be seen as the reason for criminality, this might post future problems, it could lead to hereditary screening for the eye of risk examination. This could lead to genetic discrimination, thus if offense was due to genes, the average person would not be to blame yet they would be punished.

Understanding how and just why offenders stop committing offences is critical for the development of effective crime elimination and criminal justice practises. Thus developing treatment programmes to take care of all criminals, and specifically serial killers, is critical to your society

The psychology of the serial killer is intriguing yet frightening. There is no concrete theory to describe neither the mindset nor the actions of serial killers. The occurrence of serial getting rid of goes back to folks such as Jack the ripper in 1887 and also have continued into the present in simple fact as well as mirrored in the advertising as a kind of 'secret knowledge'. Through criminological and sociological research perhaps a better understanding of serial killers will establish, thus producing a way to deter such criminal actions.


  • Ainsworth, P. (2001). 'Offender Profiling and Crime Examination'. London: Willan Publishing.
  • Bandura, A. (1969). 'Sociable Learning and personality development'. London: Holt, Rine hart and Winston.
  • Bartol, R, C. (2002). 'Offender Behavior: A Psychosocial Strategy'. Sixth edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Box, S. (1981). 'Deviance, Reality and Society'. London: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Harrower, J. (1998). 'Applying Psychology to Criminal offense'. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Hollin, C, R. (1992). 'Criminal Behavior: A Psychological Method of Explanation and Reduction'. London: Falmer Press.
  • Jewkes, Y. (2004). 'Press and Crime: A Critical Introduction'. London: Sage Publication.
  • Mason, P. (2003). 'Felony Visions: Advertising Representation of Crime and Justice'. Devon: Willan Publishing.
  • McGurk, B. J, Thornton, D. M and William, M (Eds) (1987). 'Applying Mindset to Imprisonment: Theory and Practice'. London: Her majesty's Fixed office.
  • Moir, A. And Jessel, D. (1997). 'A Mind to Criminal offense: The Controversial link between your mind and unlawful behavior'. London: Signet.
  • 'Natural Born Killers' (1994). Directed by Oliver Stone [DVD]. USA: Warner Bros. Pictures.
  • Ormroad, J, E. (1999). 'Individual Learning'. (3rd Ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Palmer, J, E. (2003). 'Offending Behaviour: Moral Reasoning Felony Conduct and the Rehabilitation of offenders'. London: Willan Publishing.
  • Savage, J. (2004). 'Do observing violent mass media really cause unlawful violence?' A methodological review. Hostility and violent behavior, Vol 10, (1), pp. 99-128.
  • Schweizer, P. (1996). 'Bad Imitation- Oliver Stone movie locates murderous admirers. 'Natural Born Killers', Country wide Review. Available at: http://findarticles. com/p/articles/m:_m1282/is_25_50/ai_53548481 [Seen: 04/03/2008].
  • Towl, G. (Ed) (2003). 'Mindset in Prisons'. Leicester: The British isles Psychological world and Blackwells Posting Ltd.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)