Have you ever wondered why people commit crimes and what motivates them to violate the law? You probably had similar thoughts, at least while watching popular detective series. Meanwhile, there are people who study this problem professionally. There is even a special area of psychology that studies the behavior of criminals, known as criminal psychology.
Criminal psychology is a special section of legal psychology, which in turn is one of the sections of human psychology. It engages in the study of mental phenomena that serve as the basis for criminal acts, as well as the criminal acts themselves, the identities of criminals, criminal groups and the conditions of crime in society.
The object of scientific research of criminal psychology is mental phenomena that lead to criminal behavior of individuals and groups of people. Also, the object is crime itself in society.
More specifically, we can identify several objects of scientific knowledge that criminal psychology deals with:
- Mental phenomena, as a result of which criminogenic personalities and criminogenic groups are formed.
- Mental phenomena causing criminogenic defects of public consciousness.
- Mental states and processes that are manifested in the criminal behavior of a person and groups of people (this includes the perception of objects of criminal attacks and social situations, motivation for criminal activity, especially the formation of criminal intentions, the decision-making on the commission of criminal acts, the implementation of criminal intentions, etc.).
- Criminal characteristics of the personality of people-criminals and criminal groups, which are subjective prerequisites for illegal behavior.
- Features of public consciousness, which act as catalysts of crime in society.
The subject of criminal psychology examines the relationships of mental phenomena that produce criminal behavior in people, and crime in society in general, as well as in the mechanisms and patterns by which the described phenomena are formed and manifested.
The description and interpretation of these phenomena from the standpoint of science and the deepening of the knowledge gained should be considered the theoretical tasks of criminal psychology.
If we talk about the subject in more detail, we can say that it is engaged in the study of:
- Psychological mechanisms and patterns of mental regulation of illegal behavior.
- Psychological features of various kinds of crimes and offenses.
- Psychological mechanisms and patterns of personality formation, prone to criminal acts.
- Characteristics of socio-psychological phenomena inherent in criminal social entities.
- Psychological characteristics of different types of criminal groups of various sizes.
- Types, structures and qualitative characteristics of the leading psychological properties of criminogenic personalities.
- Psychological characteristics of the personality of criminals of various types.
- Types and characteristics of socio-psychological phenomena in society that produce criminal phenomena, as well as the laws by which they are formed.
- Psychological patterns and mechanisms of the influence of social conditions on crime in individual social groups and society in general.
- Psychological patterns of exposure to social conditions, circumstances of situations and behavior patterns of victims as a result of criminal behavior.
But criminal psychology, of course, is not limited to theoretical tasks. They serve as the basis for the transition to the practical plane, i.e. to solving applied problems.