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The Life of Alfred Binet

Alfred Binet has made significant contributions within the field of psychology, although most of his research did not gain the popularity it deserved. He is most recognized for his development of the first standardized intelligence test, even though for most of his career he was focused on many other areas.  The purpose of this paper is to explore the life of Alfred Binet up until his death, going into greater detail in many areas of his research, how he has contributed to today’s knowledge in the field of psychology, and why he is not as recognized as he should be for his discoveries. Binet was born in 1857 in Nice, France, and was the only child of wealthy parents; his father, Edoardo Binet, a physician, and his mother, Moina Allard, an artist. After his parents went through a divorce, he lived solely with his mother. At age 15 they both moved to Paris where he completed high school, and then went ahead and earned his law degree at the University of Paris, in 1878. He never ended up practicing law or trying to start a legal practice… Read More

Frustration Hypothesis of Criminal Behavior

What Role Does Frustration Play in Criminal Behavior? Frustration and criminal behavior may be related, but the relationship between the two is complex. It is hypothesized that the more intense and frequent the periods of frustration are in a person’s life, the more sensitive they may become to future frustrating events. When various animals, including humans, are unable to respond in a way that has previously produced a reward, their behavior may often become frantic, energetic, or aggressive. For instance, animals may bite, growl, or scratch; even humans may do this as well, becoming increasingly irritable or rambunctious. Frustration can be seen as an internal state of arousal, producing feelings and behaviors with the goal of reducing the aversive experience. When such behaviors produce the desired result of reducing frustration, they may become reinforced or strengthened. If an individual chooses to act violently, that behavior may reduce the aversive arousal, and will be seen as rewarding; over time, this violent behavior may escalate, and under extreme circumstances may result in murder or other violent crimes. Criminal personalities can be divided into two different groups: the socialized offenders, and… Read More

Association with Anti-Social Peers Inversely Related to DUI

Most research on drunk driving tends to come from various social science communities focused on driving safety or substance abuse. Most individuals do not perceive a DUI as they would a normal “street crime”; and as a result there is very little research looking at the criminological concepts. Alcohol is seen as a social lubricant and its use is widespread in our culture. Driving under the influence often begins with attendance of a sporting event, having drinks at a bar, or just meeting some buddies for drinks after a day of work. This results in some individuals drinking enough to be over the legal limit and then continue to get behind the wheel. Repeat DUI offending is commonly thought of as a byproduct of alcoholism or substance abuse. Although alcohol addiction may be related to recidivism, it cannot on its own provide a decent explanation as to why some individuals never get arrested for DUI, or only once, and others are arrested 3-4 or more times in a matter of a couple years. Many researchers believe that there are actually more complex social and psychological cognitive processes… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 5

While individual and family risk factors play a larger role early in life, negative peer influences usually begin to play an increasingly larger role in early adolescence. A relationship between delinquent peer influence and juvenile offending is generally well established throughout the field of forensic psychology; what is unclear though is whether or not this association with delinquent peers is a result of antisocial tendencies developed earlier in life, or if it actually contributes to the overall risk of developing delinquent behavior. It has been suggested that deviant peer groups do in fact influence non-delinquent individuals to become delinquent. According to the National Youth Survey of juveniles ages eleven to seventeen, a common pattern that was seen was a child switching from a non-delinquent peer group to a deviant peer group, resulting in the commission of various minor offenses, and in some cases more severe crimes. Gang membership is also strongly correlated with self-reported criminal activity. It is suggested that the association of peer groups with antisocial tendencies leads to a greater suspiciousness of other people’s motives, resulting in further hostile and aggressive responses to those outside… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 4

Environmental factors, which include both static and dynamic factors, are also believed to play a significant role in the proper development of a child.It was found that low-income children had a significantly higher risk of antisocial behavior before the age of 5, leading to criminal behavior in adolescence in mixed neighborhoods, compared to those living in concentrated poverty. Non-poor children are also associated with higher levels of antisocial behavior when living in mixed neighborhoods, compared to children surrounded by equally affluent families. Although these individuals are at higher risk of becoming delinquent, the majority of children living in poverty or mixed neighborhoods do not grow to become juvenile offenders; this is referred to as resiliency, a term used to describe an individual’s ability to grow into an adult who lives a socially acceptable lifestyle, despite the exposure to any negative risk factors. Family factors can include parenting practices, divorce, and family size. It has been found that the families of children with conduct problems are eight times more likely to be involved in disciplinary conflict, and are half as likely to engage in positive interactions with parents… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 3

In the field of forensic psychological research, not only is importance given to the neurophysiological, cognitive, and psychosocial components of juvenile delinquency that were discussed above, but interest is also given to the various ecological and individual, risk and protective factors of juvenile offending. Risk factors are often used to assess the probability of an individual becoming delinquent, and the chances for repeat offending. Risk factors generally include any individual or environmental factors that increase the likelihood of negative behaviors or juvenile offending. Protective factors are thought to decrease the likelihood of negative behavior, or mitigate the negative effect of certain risk factors. Some factors are considered to be static, which are unable to be changed, such as the increased risk of criminal behavior in the male gender; others are dynamic factors, which can potentially be changed, such as inadequate parenting or discipline. The number of factors, and the length of exposure to them, determines the severity of the impact on the child’s behavior. Individual factors are often thought to be the most influential during early years, and include the individual’s temperament. Low intelligence, and the existence of… Read More

Juvenile Delinquency | Theories and Risk Factors – pt. 2

Judgment theory identifies three developmental factors that explain why, when compared to adults, adolescents tend to make poorer choices: risk perception and preference, peer influence, and temporal perspective. According to judgment theory, adolescents are more sensitive to reward, and less sensitive to the idea of potential punishment or harm. As an individual develops and becomes a young adult, the idea of potential harm or future loss begins to play a larger role in the decision making process. Throughout adolescence, the way peers perceive an individual becomes increasingly important, placing the individual at a higher risk of being negatively influenced compared to adult counterparts. Furthermore, adolescents are more likely to identify the short-term benefits, instead of the potential long-term consequences; even when the long-term implications are identified, an adolescent has less capacity to appropriately weigh the short and long-term consequences. Deficits caused by these three developmental factors slowly begin to taper off as the individual reaches adulthood. This may help explain why crime tends to rise in early adolescence, with a peak in late adolescence, and begins slowly fading in young adulthood. The executive function, defined as a… Read More

Juvenile Delinquency | Theories and Risk Factors

Although some individuals may be born with a predisposition to violence or criminal behavior, the general consensus among forensic psychologists is that in the majority of cases, beginning at birth, a child is exposed to various risk factors that contribute to the development of antisocial behaviors and juvenile offending. Juvenile delinquency, the focus of these posts, will be explored in greater detail in terms of the reasons for antisocial behavior and any measures that can be taken to prevent an offending trajectory; beginning with the relevant statistics pertaining to juvenile criminal activity, and the various well-known psychological theories on the causes of juvenile delinquency, including: the theories of judgment and decision making, along with the social neurocognitive developmental approach. We will explore the various risk factors of juvenile offending and recidivism. Recent research findings will also be mentioned as they relate to the discussion of the topic. A brief discussion on adolescents’ abilities to make informed decisions regarding their rights and their criminal cases will also be included in the last entry. In 2010, 4% of individuals 18 and below were arrested in the United States, which… Read More

Police Enforcement Intensity & DUI

Various articles have been written exploring the associations between increased police activities and a reduction in DUI related crashes and fatalities. A review by James Fell and colleagues attempted to quantitatively measure increased policing efforts and determine if there was a relationship or reduction in DUI’s and DUI’s resulting in crash or jury; number of checkpoints, special DUI/DWI patrols, and arrests are all variables that were considered in the analysis. Various other law enforcement strategies were considered: specific deterrence, general deterrence, highly visible traffic enforcement, enforcement presence, and overall traffic enforcement. Specific deterrence refers to the annual number of DUI arrests per capita within the jurisdiction. General deterrence examined the frequency and duration of field sobriety checkpoints. Highly visible traffic enforcement looked at the annual number of traffic stops per capita. Enforcement presence is defined in the study as the number of sworn police officers per capita. Overall traffic enforcement was focused on the annual number of other traffic citations, examples include: warnings, seatbelt violations, speeding tickets and other moving violations. Each of these variables was compared together and individually to the rates of DUI. The 2007… Read More

Energy Drinks, Alcohol, and DUI

A Comparison of the Combined-Use of Alcohol & Energy Drinks to Alcohol-Only on High-Risk Drinking and Driving Behaviors Energy Drinks Since the introduction of the first energy drink in the United States in 1997, the marketing and sale of these drinks has grown exponentially. In 2006 alone, more than 500 new energy drinks were introduced to the market resulting in billions of dollars in profit. Energy drink manufacturers share similar marketing techniques with the alcohol industry, largely aiming to advertise to young adults between 18 and 24. The sizes of energy drink containers range from 2-20 oz containers; many of the 2 oz energy drink shots are concentrated with stimulants and some are actually stronger than their larger counterparts. It is not uncommon to see a variety of herbal ingredients on labels, including: ginseng, ginko biloba, yohimbine, evodamine, yerba mate, milk thistle, taurine, and guarna. Ginseng, yohimbine HCL, and evodamine have been found to cause enhanced synergistic effects with caffeine, and pose a risk for “serious prescription drug interactions and neurological effects.” Caffeine is the most well-known and heavily researched stimulant in energy drinks, coming in concentrations… Read More

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