About This Chapter
Rational Choice & Trait Theories in Criminology - Chapter Summary
Our instructors present the rational choice and trait theories used in criminology in this engaging chapter. Explore our lessons to better understand topics that include the rational choice theory, individual trait theory of criminology and the positivist school of criminology. Take as much time as you need to work through these lessons, and easily go back and review specific portions of the videos using the video tabs feature. If you're getting ready for a big test, our lesson quizzes and chapter test can help boost your confidence ahead of test day. This chapter is designed to help you do the following:
- Discuss the principles of rational choice theory
- Define the rational choice theory of criminology
- Explain the implications of choice theory on crime and social policy
- Provide a summary of the positivist school of criminology
- List factors and biases of the individual trait theory of criminology
- Summarize the trait theory of leadership and how it affects public policy
- Detail some of the features associated with biological theories of crime
- Define somatotype and discuss the relationship to criminological theory
- Share assumptions and weaknesses of several psychological theories of crime
1. Rational Choice Theory: Definition & Principles
When we get down to it, states can only act through people. Consequently, if we want to understand state behavior in international relations, we need to understand human behavior. Rational choice theory attempts to do just this.
2. The Rational Choice Theory of Criminology
Many people weigh pros and cons when they have to make a big decision. But is the same true for people trying to decide whether to commit a crime? Watch this lesson for more on the rational choice theory of crime and hedonistic calculus.
3. Implications of Choice Theory on Social Policy & Crime
Choice theory centers around rational individuals exercising their free will to decide to either commit a crime or not. Resulting public policy attempts to deter and prevent crime through punishment and increased public safety resources.
4. The Positivist School of Criminology
Are people who commit crimes fundamentally different from law-abiding citizens? In this lesson, we'll examine the positivist school of criminology, which tries to answer that question by examining the ways in which criminals and non-criminals are different.
5. Individual Trait Theory of Criminology: Factors & Biases
Ever wonder what makes a criminal mind different from yours? In this lesson, we'll delve into the individual trait theory of criminology, which tries to explain and treat criminal behavior based on personality traits.
6. Trait Theory of Leadership in Criminology: Definition & Summary
This lesson defines the trait theory of leadership and its role in criminology. It also provides criticisms of the theory and discusses recent contributions that address some of the problems within the theory.
7. The Effect of Trait Theory on Public Policies
Ever wonder why certain public policies exist? This lesson explains why people think and behave the way they do, and how that affects which public policies exist in certain areas.
8. Biological Theories of Crime: Overview & Features
Why do some people commit crimes, while others obey the law their whole lives? In this lesson, we'll examine one theory, the biological theory of criminology, including evidence supporting it and some of the shortcomings of the theory.
9. Somatotype: Definition & Theory
In this lesson, we will define the three types of somatotypes. we'll also explore how somatotypes have contributed to criminological theory, and present some visual examples of individuals who match the body types.
10. Psychological Theories of Crime: Assumptions & Weaknesses
What makes you or me different from a criminal offender? Watch this lesson to find out more about the psychology behind crime, including the four basic aspects of psychological theories of crime and some common criticisms of them.
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Other chapters within the Criminal Justice 104: Introduction to Criminology course
- Intro to Criminology
- Crime Categories, Characteristics & Elements
- Measuring Crime through Criminal Justice Research
- Crime Patterns & Trends
- Victimization in Criminal Justice
- Social Structure & Social Process Theories in Criminology
- Social Conflict Theories & Restorative Justice
- Developmental Theories of Crime
- Overview of Violent Crime
- Types of Murder
- Types of Sex Crimes
- Basics of Property Crime
- Economic & Public Order Crimes
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude
- Political Crime & Terrorism
- Understanding Cyber Crime
- American Criminal Justice Systems
- Law Enforcement in America
- Punishment & Corrections
- Studying for Criminal Justice 104