MORAL DEVELOPMENT AND VIOLENCE:Symbolic functioning, Formal operational stage

<< SOCIAL LEARNING MODEL AND VIOLENCE:Observational learning, Vicarious punishment
BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL MODEL:Mental hospitals are factories of abuse >>
Forensic Psychology (PSY - 513)
Lesson 17
To understand the theory of Moral Development and adult violence
To understand the basic concepts of Bio-Psychological Model
To understand the basic concepts of Attachment theory about violence
To understand the basic concepts of Adler's Model
To understand the basic concepts of Michel Foucault's Model
Moral development
Moral development is the process through which children develop proper attitudes and behaviors toward
other people in society, based on social and cultural norms, rules, and laws.
Moral development is a concern for every parent. Teaching a child to distinguish right from wrong and
to behave accordingly is a goal of parenting. Moral development is a complex issue that--since the
beginning of human civilization--has been a topic of discussion among some of the world's most
distinguished psychologists, theologians, and culture theorists. It was not studied scientifically until the
late 1950s.
Piaget's Theory of Moral Reasoning
Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, explored how children developed moral reasoning. He rejected the
idea that children learn and internalize the rules and morals of society by being given the rules and
forced to adhere to them. Through his research on how children formed their judgments about moral
behavior, he recognized that children learn morality best by having to deal with others in groups. He
reasoned that there was a process by which children conform to society's norms of what is right and
wrong, and that the process was active rather than passive.
Piaget found two main differences in how children thought about moral behavior. Very young children's
thinking is based on how actions affected them or what the results of an action were. For example,
young children will say that when trying to reach a forbidden cookie jar, breaking 10 cups is worse than
breaking one.
They also recognize the purity of rules. For example, they understand that they cannot make up new
rules to a game; they have to play by what the rule book says or what is commonly known to be the
rules. Piaget called this "moral realism with objective responsibility." It explains why young children
are concerned with outcomes rather than intentions.
Older children look at motives behind actions rather than consequences of actions. They are also able to
examine rules, determining whether they are fair or not, and apply these rules and their modifications to
situations requiring negotiation, assuring that everyone affected by the rules is treated fairly. Piaget felt
that the best moral learning came from these cooperative decision-making and problem-solving events.
He also believed that children developed moral reasoning quickly and at an early age.
Piaget proposed four developmental stages
1. Sensori-motor stage
2. Re operational stage
3. Concrete operational stage
4. Formal operational stage
According to Piaget, this child is in the sensorimotor stage and
primarily explores the world with senses (mouth and  body
movements) rather than through mental operations. Infants are
born with a set of congenital reflexes, according to Piaget, in
Forensic Psychology (PSY - 513)
addition to a drive to explore their world. Their initial schemes are formed through differentiation of the
congenital reflexes.
According to Piaget, the Pre-Operational stage of development follows the Sensorimotor stage and
occurs between 2-7 years of age. It includes the following processes:
Symbolic functioning - is characterised by the use of mental symbols, words, or pictures, which the
child uses to represent something which is not physically present.
Centration - is characterized by a child focusing or attending to only one aspect of a stimulus or
situation. For example, in pouring a quantity of liquid from a narrow beaker into a shallow dish, a
preschool child might judge the quantity of liquid to have decreased, because it is "lower"--that is, the
child attends to the height of the water, but not to the compensating increase in the diameter of the
Language acquirement is another mark of this stage.
Intuitive thought - occurs when the child is able to believe in something without knowing why she or
he believes it.
The Concrete operational stage is the third of four stages of cognitive development in Piaget's theory.
This stage, which follows the Preoperational stage, occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 years and is
characterized by the appropriate use of logic and abstract concepts like love, hate, pain happiness and
children starts pointing out the right and wrong deeds of their parents. this stage is very critical from the
moral development.
Formal operational stage
The formal operational stage is the fourth and final of the stages of cognitive development of Piaget's
theory. This stage, which follows the Concrete Operational stage, commences at around 11 years of age
(puberty) and continues into adulthood. It is characterized by acquisition of the ability to think abstractly
and draw conclusions from the information available. During this stage the young adult functions in a
cognitively normal manner and therefore is able to understand such things in a better way as love,
"shades of gray", and values. And if a person develops inability to understand the link of one's own
rights and other people's right and do not care for other people's rights, can result in aggression and
Main concepts relevant to violence
Without formal operations you can't have moral reasoning.
Moral reasoning includes awareness of rights of others.
Since I have rights, you also must have rights.
Why Do Individuals Engage in Crime?
Basic assumption is that people commit crime because they are genetically and biologically predisposed
to commit. This model ignores the importance of environmental factors (only can hinder or foster).they
believe that criminal can not be corrected and totally opposes the humanistic point of view.
It focuses on the effect of the psychological factors on crime. In particular, most of the events and
conditions examined by this model involve relationships with others:
Other people take individuals' valued possessions
Treat them in an aversive manner
Prevent them from achieving their goals through legal channels.
Forensic Psychology (PSY - 513)
Biopsychological theories focus less on the social environment and more on the individuals' traits,
especially personality traits. Such theories argue that certain individual traits are conducive to crime.
2003). Two such traits that seem especially conducive to crime are:
Low constraint
Negative emotionality
Low constraint and negative emotionality are major dimensions of the human personality. Individuals
who are low in constraint are impulsive (tend to act without thinking), like to take risks, reject social
norms or rules, and have little concern for the feelings or rights of others. In popular terms, such
individuals might be described as "wild" or "out of control." Individuals who are high in negative
emotionality are easily upset and quick to anger, tend to blame their problems on others, and have an
aggressive or antagonistic interactional style.
Bio-psychological theories also ask why some individuals possess traits like low constraint and negative
emotionality. Such traits are said to be influenced by a range of biological factors. They are partly
inherited from one's parents (that is, genetically transmitted).
Many statesmen and politicians hold this extreme view that criminals can not be corrected. So for an
offender rapist, they would suggest to sterilize that man and death penalty for murder or long sentences
for acute crimes.
Encountered deaths
Police officers holding such extreme views stage encountered deaths for repeated criminals because
they believe that such criminals can not be corrected so should be eliminated.
Main views of Bio-Psychological Model
People are born different
With different genetic make-up
Environment can help or hinder
The predisposition to crime is biological
Such people can't be corrected
Extreme views such as sterilize the rapist
Death penalty for murder
Long sentences for repeat offenders
"Encounter" deaths usually result of such thinking
This theory resembles psychodynamic model but unlike psychodynamic perspective it is an
environmental theory. This theory proposed that early attachment style of child with parents and care
givers are crucial to determine that what type of person is he would become.
Attachment is defined as an affectional tie that one person or animal forms between him/herself
and another specific one [usually the parent] -- a tie that binds them together in space and endures
over time.
If you are loved and empathasized by you mother in childhood then you are able to love and
empathize with others, early attachment theory looked at some case studies of people who were
violent, wild, offenders and do not respect to other's rights and it was found that all such people
had early separation from mother or father or both. And such separation can be traumatic.
Forensic Psychology (PSY - 513)
Trauma of early separation
Trauma leaves a lasting effect. Trauma especially in boys can lead to a numbing of emotions.
Resulting in the Suppression of empathy, compassion, flattening of emotions, like sadness or
happiness. And such boy can resort to cold blooded violence.
Attachment styles and physical abuse
If an infant is beaten up and maltreated by parents or care givers, it is also a kind of trauma for
innocent child and such child while become an adult can target other people for assault, torture and
violence as they do not understand other's emotions and value of rights.
Attachment styles
Secure Attachment - If the child protested the mother's departure and quieted promptly on the
mother's return, accepting comfort from her and returning to exploration, then the child's
relationship to the mother would be classified as a secure attachment.
Avoidant Attachment - If the child showed little to no signs of distress at the mother's departure, a
willingness to explore the toys, and little to no visible response to the mother's return, then the
child-mother relationship would be classified as avoidant.
Ambivalent Attachment - If the child showed sadness on the mother's departure, ability to be
picked up by the stranger and even 'warm' to the stranger, and on the mother's return, some
ambivalence, signs of anger, reluctance to 'warm' to her and return to play, then this child would be
classified as ambivalent.
A mother whose child is securely attached would respond appropriately, promptly and consistently
to the emotional as well as the physical needs of the child. She would help her child to transition and
regulate stress, and as a result, the child would use her as a secure base in the home environment.
A mother whose child has an avoidant attachment would show little response to the child when
distressed. She would discourage her child from crying and encourage independence and exploration.
The avoidantly attached child may have lower quality play than the securely attached child.
A mother whose child is ambivalently attached would be inconsistent with her child, at times be
appropriate and at other times be neglectful to the child. The child raised in an ambivalent
relationship becomes preoccupied with the mother's availability and cannot explore his environment
freely or use his mother as a secure base. The ambivalently attached child is vulnerable to difficulty
coping with life stresses and may display role reversal with the mother.
Key concepts of Attachment Theory
Early attachment crucial for love, caring, affection, empathy.
Early separation from mother/father can be traumatic.
Trauma leaves a lasting effect.
Trauma especially in boys can lead to a numbing of emotions.
Suppressing empathy, compassion.
Causing cold blooded violence.
Alfred Adler was an Austrian medical doctor and psychologist, founder of the school of individual
psychology. He was one of Freud's first disciples. He even held important positions in the
psychoanalytical movement initiated by Freud and his supporters. But it is the same person who was
the first great dissident from Freudian psychoanalysis and criticized his purely sexual sense.
Forensic Psychology (PSY - 513)
Adler's approach to human personality
Will to power
He saw people as goal oriented, with an urge toward personal growth and wholeness - this is often
summarized as `the will to power'. He did not give to the unconscious the enormous power that Freud
did. Instead he saw social drives, the training arising from ones cultural heritage, and family
influences, as being the prime forces in our behaviour and feelings. But he saw that these primal
influences could be modified by an individual in a personal way, so that each of us develops personal
styles in dealing with our life. This style or stance became an organizing centre around which the
person's life emerged.
Sexual crimes and will to power
Feminist theories understood Adler's views and concluded that rape is not a sexual crime rather it is an
expression of will to power. If a woman rejects a man, he feels a challenge and takes revenge.
Inferiority complex
Is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. Such feelings can arise from an imagined or
actual inferiority in the afflicted person. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted
individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme antisocial
behavior, or both. Unlike a normal feeling of inferiority, which can act as an incentive for achievement,
an inferiority complex is an advanced state of discouragement, often resulting in a retreat from
It was Adler who originated the term `inferiority complex'. This arose out of his view that as babies and
young children, much of our feeling life is a compensation for a sense of inferiority or inadequacy.
He argued that human personality could be explained in separate strands dominated by the guiding
purpose of the individual's unconscious self ideal to convert feelings of inferiority to superiority the
desires of the self ideal were countered by social and ethical demands. If the corrective factors were
disregarded and the individual over-compensated, then an inferiority complex would occur, fostering the
danger of the individual becoming egocentric, power-hungry and aggressive or worse.
Superiority complex
Superiority complex refers to a subconscious neurotic mechanism of compensation developed by
the individual as a result of feelings of inferiority. Those exhibiting the superiority complex
commonly project their feelings onto others they perceive as inferior to themselves. Behaviors related to
this mechanism may include an exaggeratedly positive opinion of one's worth and abilities,
unrealistically high expectations in goals and achievements for oneself and others, vanity, extravagant
style in dressing (with intention of drawing attention), pride, sentimentalism and affected exaltation,
snobbism, a tendency to discredit other's opinions, forcefulness aimed at dominating those considered
as weaker or less important, credulity, and others. We can easily find people with superiority complex in
our society.
Birth order
Birth order is defined as a person's rank by age among his or her siblings. Birth order is commonly
believed to have a profound and lasting effect on psychological development. In childhood a person
may learn to compensate for such feelings by either pushing toward superior performance in some area,
or by aggressive action, or perhaps even withdrawal or non involvement.
Key concepts of Adler' Model
Individual develop a sense of inferiority
Inferiority Complex
Superiority Complex
Forensic Psychology (PSY - 513)
Considered the will to power the basic motive of human life
Most crimes are expressions of will to power
"Rape is not a sexual crimes" comes out of this approach
He is known for his critical studies of various social institutions; most notably psychiatry, medicine,
education and the prison system, as well as his work on the history of sexuality. He presented a
model similar to Roger's model and focused in the evils of society. He presented extreme views
about prisoners by saying that society does not like differences and seeks to create compliance. He
considered Schools as the factories of making people, who are not different from each other.
Prisons Vs Schools
He viewed that there is no difference in schools and prisons as both have a specific starting time
with the ring of bell and specific places for specific works. He considered schools as the
manifestation of society's will to create compliance people, who do not think differently and if they
do not obey authority, would get punishment like prisoners.
Prisons Vs mental hospitals
Michel Foucault viewed no difference in the system and goal of mental hospitals and prisons.
Key Concepts of Foucault's Model
Society has no tolerance for differences
It seeks to create compliance
Schools and prisons are similar institutions perpetuating conformity
Mental institutions are no exceptions
Psychiatry and Psychology are partners in crime
Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Future of Forensic Psychology
  2. INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC PSYCHOOGY:Way of police investigation
  4. POLICE PSYCHOLOGY:Use of excessive force, Corruption, Personnel Selection
  5. POLICE PSYCHOLOGY:Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation (FFDE), False Confessions
  6. INVESTIGATIVE PSYCHOLOGY:For instance, Empirical and logical approach
  7. INVESTIGATIVE PSYCHOLOGY:Crime Scene Investigation, Staging
  8. PSYCHOLOGY OF VIOLENCE:Law of Conservation of Energy, Super ego
  10. PSYCHOANALYTIC MODEL AND VIOLENCE:Defense Mechanism, Rationalization
  12. JUNGIAN PSYCHOLOGY AND VIOLENCE:Religion and mental illnesses
  13. BEHAVIORIST PERSPECTIVE AND VIOLENCE:Shadow’s violence, Child’s violence
  16. SOCIAL LEARNING MODEL AND VIOLENCE:Observational learning, Vicarious punishment
  17. MORAL DEVELOPMENT AND VIOLENCE:Symbolic functioning, Formal operational stage
  18. BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL MODEL:Mental hospitals are factories of abuse
  20. ISLAMIC MODEL:Nafs al-Ammara, Nafs al-Lawwama, Nafs ul Naatiqa
  21. TREATMENTS FOR THE SOUL:Tawba, Sabr o Shukr, Niyyat o Ikhlaas, Taffakkur
  22. CRIMINOGENIC PERSONALITY:Personality Disorders, Common Crimes
  26. ASSESSMENT OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS:Reasons for referral, Personality Inventories
  28. RISK ASSESSMENT:Violence reduction scale, Stability of Family upbringing
  30. JUNGINA THERAPEUTIC MODEL:Limits of re-parenting, Personality Typologies
  31. GROUP THERAPY FOR OFFENDERS:Learning in Groups, Humanistic Groups
  34. PSYCHOTHERAPIES IN FORENSIC SETTINGS:Avoiding reactance, Externalization
  36. FORENSIC PSYCHOTHERAPY:Exploring therapeutic alliance, Music Therapy
  37. VIOLENCE REDUCTION PROGRAM:Target Population, Lack of motivation
  38. VIOLENCE REDUCTION PROGRAM:Criminal attitude, Interpersonal Aggression
  39. VICTIM SUPPORT:Main features of PTSD, Emotional Support
  40. VICTIM SUPPORT:Debriefing, Desensitization, Eidetic Therapy, Narrative Therapy
  41. SUBSTANCE MISUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM:Marijuana, Unconventional drugs
  42. SUBSTANCE MISUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM:Stages of Change, Homosexuality
  43. EXPERT WITNESS:Insanity Pleas, Sexual Offence Risk, Instructions
  44. COUNTER TERRORISM:Misconceptions, Psychologists & Propaganda war
  45. SUMMING UP FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Problems with Risk Assessment, Expert Witness