Describe How Social Cognition Can Explain Criminal Behaviour.

361 Words2 Pages
Social cognition refers to the way our thoughts are influenced by the people we mix with, but also look at an individual's cognitions. In the context of criminality, the social context is the criminal act, therefore it is helpful to try and find out what a criminal is thinking when they commit a crime so that these cognitions can be altered. What the criminal is thinking may differ depending on whether the crime is committed individually (intrapersonal) or within a group (interpersonal). Gudjonsson and Bownes looked at the relationship between the type of offence an individual committed and the attributions offenders made about their criminal acts. Results were also cross-validated on an English sample. The Gudjonsson and Singh 'Blame Attribution Inventory' was used to measure the offenders types of offence and attribution of blame on three dimensions including internal/external, mental element and guilt. 80 participants were used, whom were serving sentences in Northern Ireland. These participants were divided into groups. The first group of 20, were serving sentences for a violent offences, including homicide and grievous bodily harm. The second group of 40 were sex offenders including rapists, paedophiles and those who had committed sexual assault. The final group of 20 had committed property offences including theft and burglary. Gudjonsson and Bownes found that those who had committed sexual offences showed the most remorse about their behaviour; this was followed by those who had committed violent acts. Very little differences was found in the mental elements of the different participants. The highest scores on external attribution were found for violent offenders and the lowest for sexual offenders. This suggests that violent offenders were more likely to be violent to another individual due to social and environment factors such as having delinquent
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