There are many different explanations as to why individuals commit crime. One of the most popular theories says that “crime is born in the brain”, which means there are certain psychological factors that make a criminal a criminal. Specialists studying the psyche of criminals focus on the association among intelligence, personality and criminal behavior.
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, suggest that an individual’s personality is controlled by unconscious mental processes, which are grounded in early childhood. According to him, criminality may result from an overactive conscience. many of his patients suffering from unimaginable guilt, committed crime to be punished. How he put it, human personality has three psychic elements: id, ego and super ego. Id is an structure which pursues instant needs without any analysis, concerned with pleasure and gratification. Second element, Ego, is a result of education and socialization, guided by the reality principle. Super ego psychic instance combines the moral standards and values of parents and community;. Therefore, crime is an effect of Id’s prevalence over superego.
To compare, other specialists, Yochelson & Samenow for instance, who were doctors working in a mental health setting for criminals, accentuate the role of anger. They said that criminals are angry people who think they are better than others. They do not feel responsible for their actions. They are always convinced that they will not be caught.
Noteworthy here seems also a theory of Alfred Alder, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology. He was the first to emphasize the importance of the social element in becoming a criminal. Suffice it to quote Mr. Adler: “A criminal is not interested in others. He can cooperate only to a certain degree. When this degree is exhausted, he turns to crime”. The criminal achieves his goal through what he considers to be an ‚intelligent’ argument. Nevertheless his motives are based on private intelligence, which does not include social interest or responsibility.
It is worth noting that there are many aspects that make a criminal who he is. Origin, family, the way he was treated as a child are very important factors in developing personality. It’s not only psychology what makes a man enter a criminal path. Society or bad financial situation can sometimes push people to do things even they didn’t think they were capable of.
In conclusion, when analyzing criminal behavior, we should take under consideration all explanatory models, both psychological as well as sociological and biological.