The Psychology Behind Criminal Behaviour: Analysing the Criminal Mind Through Forensic Techniques.

The Psychology Behind Criminal Behaviour:

Analysing the Criminal Mind Through Forensic Techniques

Criminal behaviour is a complex phenomenon that has been studied extensively by psychologists and criminologists alike. Understanding what motivates individuals to commit crimes is a crucial step towards preventing future criminal behaviour and ensuring a safer society.


Forensic psychology is the scientific study of criminal behaviour and the application of psychology to the criminal justice system. By examining the psychological factors that contribute to criminal behaviour, forensic psychologists are able to provide insight into the criminal mind and develop strategies to prevent or reduce criminal activity.

Theories of Criminal Behaviour:

There are several theories that attempt to explain why individuals commit crimes. One commonly cited theory is the social learning theory, which argues that criminal behaviour is learned through the observation and imitation of others. This theory suggests that criminal behaviour can be prevented through positive reinforcement and socialization processes.

Another theory is the strain theory, which argues that individuals are more likely to engage in criminal behaviour when they experience strains or stressors such as poverty, unemployment, or discrimination. This theory suggests that addressing these underlying issues can reduce criminal activity.

The biopsychosocial model is another popular theory that posits that criminal behaviour is the result of a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. According to this theory, understanding the interplay between these different factors is crucial for developing effective interventions.

Psychological Assessment of Criminal Behaviour:

Forensic psychologists use a variety of tools and techniques to assess the psychological factors that contribute to criminal behaviour. One commonly used assessment tool is the PCL-R, or Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, which assesses an individual's level of psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder.

Other assessment tools include the MMPI-2, or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which assesses an individual's personality traits and potential for violence, and the Static-99, which assesses an individual's risk of sexual reoffending.

The Role of Forensic Psychology in the Criminal Justice System:

Forensic psychology plays a key role in the criminal justice system by providing expert testimony, conducting psychological evaluations of defendants, and developing treatment programs for offenders. Forensic psychologists also work with law enforcement agencies to develop criminal profiling techniques and tactics for interrogating suspects.


In conclusion, understanding the psychology behind criminal behaviour is crucial for developing effective strategies for preventing and reducing criminal activity. By examining the underlying factors that contribute to criminal behaviour and using forensic techniques to assess and treat offenders, forensic psychologists play a vital role in ensuring a safer society for all.

  • References:
    • Hart, S. D., & Kropp, P. R. (2010). Forensic psychology: From classroom to courtroom. Sage Publications.
    • Wortley, R., & Mazerolle, L. (2008). Environmental criminology and crime analysis. Willan Publishing.
    • Hare, R. D. (2003). Manual for the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (2nd ed.). Multi-Health Systems.