- Stephen JonesStephen JonesHonorary Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Bristol
This chapter shows that, although psychological explanations have been used to explain various types of criminal or deviant behaviour, it is violent and sexual offences that are most frequently subjected to analysis. Many crimes involve behaviour that was formerly considered perfectly acceptable, but which society has subsequently decided to criminalise. However, psychological theories are particularly suitable for explaining unusual behaviour that often appears aggressive and is likely to be deprecated in most countries. Some may indulge in a range of criminal offences that many people find easy to understand, if not condone: crimes against property—which make up the bulk of recorded criminal offences—being perhaps the best example of this. Despite the fact that violence was far more common in earlier centuries, many people nowadays find excessively violent and sexual crimes far more difficult to comprehend.