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The Psychology of Criminal and Violent Behaviour, 1st Edition
This indispensable introduction to the psychological theories of criminality and violence examines how both psychology and biology play a role in understanding what may drive individuals to commit crime. Drawing on relevant research, real world examples, and gripping case studies, The Psychology of Criminal and Violent Behaviour applies theory to provide deep insight into criminal behaviour.
A theoretical approach helps students identify and understand key psychological theories and concepts
Accessible content: While theoretical in approach, the material is presented in a way that meets the needs of both psychology and criminology students
Coverage of both psychological and biological factors on a range of topics including reactive and instrumental violence, aggression, psychopathy, social cognition, and more explores how and why criminal and violent behaviour occur
“Researching Criminal and Violent Behaviour” boxes discuss important research and topics in the field, including the Danish adoption study, the Bobo doll experiments, the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide, attachment theory, threat/control override symptoms, and cyberstalking
Diverse case studies on such notorious figures as Phineas Gage, Charles Whitman, Richard Ramirez, the Manson Family, Karla Homolka, and Ethan Couch provide real world examples of criminal and violent behaviour and help students apply theory to real life
Chapters on homicide and interpersonal violence provide piercing insight into topics like aggression and violent behaviour, serial murder, school shootings, stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence
The Psychology of Criminal and Violent Behavior has been in the works since the two of us worked together at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In our early years of teaching courses on the psychology of crime, we relied on existing textbooks. The challenge we faced was finding one that explained the major theories of interest at a level appropriate for our audience without delving into laws and legal procedures that did not apply. Later, we switched to individual articles from the published literature, which proved to be a good way of getting the content we desired. The disadvantage was that each article was written
independently and the package as a whole lacked integration and consistency. In the end, we decided that the best approach was to write our own textbook.
Our goal is to show students how psychological theories can help us understand offending behavior. It explores common psychological theories and explains their application to criminal and violent behaviour. This text is a theories book. As such, it avoids detailed discussions of criminal law—specific laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but theories transcend political and legal boundaries. We also include statistics only when they are relevant to the theoretical explanations being presented or highlight common patterns. Our focus is on encouraging the reader to understand each psychological theory
presented and its connection to criminal and violent behavior.
Ultimately, we hope that students find this textbook accessible and engaging. We included numerous real-life case studies so that readers can immerse themselves in the subject matter and grasp the respective theory’s potential application to the world around us. We have also provided a variety of research boxes in each chapter to give readers an opportunity to examine studies and research questions in greater depth. The text’s marginal definitions, chapter summaries, review questions, and additional readings reinforce main concepts and encourage further investigation.
We are both indebted to the staff at Oxford University Press. In particular, we would like thank Dave Ward for his belief in the value of this project, as well as Tamara Capar, Janna Green, and Ella Mazur for their never-ending assistance and patience. We and the press would also like to acknowledge the constructive feedback we received from the anonymous reviewers and the following: Dick Day, McMaster University; Denise Iacobucci, Camosun College; Janelle Jackiw, University of Regina and Lethbridge College; A. Ross Keele, University of Saskatchewan; Hilary Kim Morden, Simon Fraser University; Giselle Patrick, University of Saskatchewan, Amy Prevost, University of the Fraser Valley; Heather L. Price, University of Regina; Paul Valliant, Laurentian University; and Uzma Williams, MacEwan University. As faculty members with full teaching workloads and research programs, we understand the time and commitment involved with reviewing this kind of project. Your feedback and suggestions were greatly appreciated and led to valuable developments in the writing process.
David R. Lyon
I would like to thank the faculty and staff at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for their generous assistance and support. I would also like to acknowledge my friends and colleagues from the Forensic Psychology Program at Simon Fraser University, particularly Steve Hart and Randy Kropp. I appreciate their willingness over the years to offer ideas and share insights on crime and violence. Thanks also to the endless love and support of my wife, Tami, and our children, Graeme and Rebecca, both of whom quite literally grew up alongside this book. Finally, I would like to dedicate this book to my late father, Don,
who heard about it for long enough but never saw it published. I wish I had written faster.
I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to my colleagues in the Departments of Criminology and Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, who supported me while writing this textbook. Whether it was having informal conversations in hallways or proofreading chapters, your willingness to help and support this project has not been forgotten. Many thanks to Alanna Crowder, who listened patiently while I wrestled with the many challenges of writing a book of this magnitude. It would never have been finished without your support.