Trait Theory And Cognitive Theory Of Crime And Movie Piracy

2238 Words 9 Pages
In the transition from classical criminology to positivist criminology, trait theories began to emerge. Trait theories developed from scientific facts, and have a cause and effect backbone. There is usually a trait or personal attribute that influences decision making. Among trait theories, there are many explanations of traits, ranging from biological to psychological. This paper will focus on the psychological traits associated with criminal behavior, along with providing empirical evidence that supports this theory’s use as a tool to explain why crimes happen.
Psychological trait theories were founded on the psychodynamic perspective. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychodynamic theory, believed that all individuals had a three-part human
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Jacobs, Ard Heuvelman, Maurice Tan, and Oscar Peters conducted a study on digital movie piracy using the model of social cognitive theory developed by Albert Bandura to compare behaviors and attitudes displayed by movie downloaders and the number of movies they download. Although movie piracy is not a serious crime, it is still considered a crime. Jacobs et al. collected data from college students and attendees of a technological lifestyle forum in the Netherlands. Participants were asked to compete a questionnaire that was available on a Dutch online forum, which asked questions similar to: how many movies have you downloaded in the past month? They then asked participants to use a seven-point Likert scale to analyze their attitudes toward downloading movies (Jacobs et al.). In the results of this study Jacobs et al. found that individuals who downloaded movies believed that they should not have to pay for movies. Although these individuals knew it was wrong to download movies, they said they did not care about the punishment. They still continued to download movies illegally. In comparison, individuals that have never downloaded movies, believed morally it was wrong and that people should have to pay for the entertainment they want (Jacobs et al.). As the results of the study showed, there were differences in attitudes towards downloading movies, which either caused people to download more movies or to refrain from downloading …show more content…
Johnson et al. conducted a longitudinal study to explore the idea that personality disorders during adolescence are associated with high-risk, violent behavior during adolescence and early adulthood. A sample of 717 youths from upstate New York were interviewed to assess for Axis I and II personality disorders and violent behavior (Johnson et al.) The results shows that adolescences with a greater number of DSM-IV personality disorder symptoms were more likely than others to commit violent behaviors (Johnson et al.). Another study done by Carla Sharp and Salome Vanwoerden compares the relationship of psychopathic traits and the theory of mind functioning comprising of top-down and bottom-up processing. Three hundred forty-two adolescents completed the Movie assessment for Social Cognition and The Child Eyes test to measure psychopathic traits and theory of mind functioning (Sharp and Vanwoerden). The results showed that there is a relationship between psychopathic traits and impairment of both top-down and bottom-up processes of theory of mind (Sharp and Vanwoerden). The results from this study demonstrate that psychopathic traits cause individuals to use poor judgment, and lack the ability to empathize, which are all traits that lead to criminal

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