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Ch 6: Rational Choice & Trait Theories in Criminology

About This Chapter

Ensure that you understand trait and rational choice theories as they're defined in criminology with this helpful chapter. You can work through our self-paced text and video lessons, which outline the same important topics that you're learning in class, to master these concepts and up your grade.

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

10 Lessons in Chapter 6: Rational Choice & Trait Theories in Criminology
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Rational Choice Theory: Definition & Principles

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.

The Rational Choice Theory of Criminology

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.

Implications of Choice Theory on Social Policy & Crime

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.

The Positivist School of Criminology

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.

Individual Trait Theory of Criminology: Factors & Biases

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.

Trait Theory of Leadership in Criminology: Definition & Summary

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.

The Effect of Trait Theory on Public Policies

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.

Biological Theories of Crime: Overview & Features

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.

Somatotype: Definition & 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.

Psychological Theories of Crime: Assumptions & Weaknesses

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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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