The psychology of criminal behavior Some psychologists

The theory of behaviorism tries to explain how human behaviors are molded and the effects that the inborn and social environments have on once behavior; behavior can be defined as a systematic and observable manner of doing things without much of internal mental state consideration, a person’s behavior becomes his habit (Staddon & Cerutti, 2003). According to the theory; there are two main conditioning of human life depending with the situation the person is under, they are:

Classical conditioning

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Under this condition it involves molding of human behavior through naturally occurring stimulus that Is pared to a certain response: with time the neutral stimulus is able to command some response. For example a person who has lived in a place that has war, may have experienced some attacks made by war planes; after the war is over, by hearing the sound of a passing plane, the persons mind has been conditioned to attach the sound with some attacks, he then becomes frightened.

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is a term used to refer to behavior modification that is attained trough a response-reward system. The major assumption (which happens to be true) is that human beings behavior can be conditioned through a reward system. The reward may be positive, which reinforces a positive behavior, may be negative which discourages a certain negative behavior.

The underlying philosophy of the theory is that animals, human beings included, respond to stimuli. Thus if they can associate a specific stimulate with a certain behavior, and then they are likely to avoid or repeat the behavior in future.

Rationale of why the topic was selected

In social and political theory the trends and systems of human behavior is an important element that cannot be ignored, the way human being behave and what motivates them behave the way they do are important areas of intervention for social scientists.

The topic of behaviorism becomes important as the policy makers seek to learn societal dynamics as well as how people behave and how the behavior can be molded for the benefit of the parties involved. In social movements, people’s behavior can be conditioned to give a certain impression or express their views in a particular manner; other than on public level, the topic is important to understand the behavior of others as well as behavior changes (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009).

Why this topic is important in the study of psychology of criminal behavior

Some psychologists have argued that criminology is a behavior learnt, reinforced and developed like any other behavior; with the study of behaviorism, policy makers and criminologists are able to understand why there exists a certain trend in the community, it is an important topic to understand crime and how it is developed as a behavior in people’s life.

The idea of behaviorism is the approach taken by crime fighters and punishers of offenders; it assists them know the right intervention and the best punishments that can be given to offenders to deter them from committing crime. The thought of the suffering that is likely to come give result to a certain behavior that is mostly keeping away from crime.

Using the theory of behaviorism, psychologists are able to learn different method through which they can understand the world and different segments of society; they can have answers why crime is more predominant to a certain area, thus they are able to offer sound recommendations on the best crime prevention methods to the authority’s concerned (Feud & Strachey, 1976).


Feud, S., & Strachey, J. (1976).The complete psychological work of Sigmund freud. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Olson, M. ,& Hergenhahn, B.R. (2009). An Introduction to Theories of Learning, Eighth Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Staddon, J., & Cerutti, D. (2003). OPERANT CONDITIONING. Annual Review of Psychology, 54(1), 115. Retrieved from Business Source Complete