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The Influence of Neuropsychological Processes on Criminal Actions

Foley, David (2019) The Influence of Neuropsychological Processes on Criminal Actions. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivational stimuli can be seen as appetitive and aversive stimuli
which activates behaviours within the person to either approach or avoid reward or
punishment. Behavioural psychology suggests that rewards can increase behaviour which is
activated to achieve positive outcomes for the person; or to avoid expected punishment or
adverse outcomes. In contrast, the person will seek to avoid punishment and engage in
behaviours which are protective, and activated to evade negative outcomes. Frustrative nonreward
is also considered punishment, and is experienced by the person through the
unavailability or unattainability of expected rewards. Appetitive stimuli can be seen as
stimuli that activates approach behaviours towards goals or away from punishment; while
aversive stimuli are those that triggers behaviours to avoid punishment or hinder progress
towards a goal. The approach/avoidance behaviours evoked by appetitive and aversive
stimuli have also been associated with activating related emotions. Where the individual can
move towards attaining their goal, emotions, reactions of hope, optimism, and confidence
can be present; while relief and alleviation can be felt when punishment is avoided.
Alternatively, when punishment stimuli are present the individual may feel fearful or
apprehensive; while the removal of potential reward or hindrance towards goals can lead to
anger, frustration, and feelings of victimisation.

Early theories examining the influence of approach – avoidance processes on behaviour and
personality traits proposed the existence of two motivation/emotional instigators of
behaviour. Gray’s (1970) proposed the existence of these processes characterised functions
of neuropsychological processes and motivational states, which in turn evoke associated
physiological and psychological states for the person. He further proposed that within these
neuropsychological processes, personality traits are developed and maintained, and can be
predictive of the person’s behavioural and emotional response to appetitive and adverse
stimuli (DeYoung, 2010).

This study examined the roles criminals perceived for themselves during criminal actions,
through their narrative expression and understanding of their identity and life story
(McAdam, 1985). The characteristics of the criminal narrative roles, as proposed by Youngs
and Canter, (2012), is examined for susceptibility to the motivational neuropsychological
influences identified in through the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory. The study combines
the Narrative Action System and Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory to gain a better
understanding of the motivation of different criminal role types, from a combined
psychological and neuropsychological viewpoint.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
Depositing User: Christine Morelli
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 11:33
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2021 11:45
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/35353

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