Crime and Personality by H J Eysenck

Hans Eysenck was born on 4th Mar, 1916 in Berlin, Germany during the time of first word war. Later he gone to France and then England. He became a professor of psychology in 1955. He studied and become specialist in Personality, behavioral genetics, hazards of smoking, parapsychology, astrology and many other fields. He wrote 75 books and above 700 articles during his life. Hans Eysenck’s “crime and personality” is a apparent description of scientific manner, followed by a discussion about the biological basis of personality.

It is a leaning deeply upon heredity and constitutional factors, which is followed by a gentle leading of the reader through the work of Galen, Kretschmer and Sheldon asserting the correlations of physical habitus with temperament. He stressed the necessity of introversion and extraversion. Eysenck played an significant role in the development of biocriminology, though a part he assumed as a sideline and performed offstage from mainstream criminology. Eysencks biocriminology was resisted and disregarded by some sociocriminologists, and it does not yet play a central role in elucidating crime, but it is being developed in several ways.

He argued against sociological theories and originated his theory based on biology. He focused on functioning of the central nervous system and autonomic nervous system. In crime and personality he makes two basic assumptions, that the explanation of human behavior lies in personality and that the explanation of personality lies in biology. He used terms like traits and drive and conceived personality as stability of conduct, it is that which enables us to forecast behavior over time.

A personality difference makes behavioral variations among individuals. He concentrates on two main personality proportions of his theory. They are Neuroticism and Extraversion – Introversion. A typical extravert man is sociable, like parties, has many friends, needs to have people to talk to, does not like reading or studying by himself etc. and a typical introvert man is a quiet, retiring sort of person, introspective, fond of books rather than people, reserved and reticent except with intimate friends.

Criminals are more likely to be neurotic, they act emotionally as a drive to habitual ways of responding and under stress like to do what they know best. His contribution to the future lies in his identification of the criminal as a stimulation seeker and in his Fagin’s kitchen vision of social learning as a series of transactions between individual biology and environment. The publication of this book marked a turning point, the instant when biological theories began to recover a toe hold in the criminological arena.

Eysenck made the first thoroughgoing effort of the 20th century to originate a biologically based theory of crime, setting in motion a return to biocriminology that continues into the present and promises to play an increasingly large role in the criminological future. Eysenck has emphasized the role of temperament in the predisposition for antisocial and aggressive behaviour, while acknowledging the importance of socialization experiences in interaction with temperament. His findings of research are one of the few comprehensive statements about genetics and antisocial behaviour.

It recognizes the interaction of the environment (classical conditioning) and the nervous system. It is one of the only attempts from a psychological structure of effort to create a common universal hypothesis of criminal behavior. His cognitive behavioral measures employing social learning principles were also found successful and supported by others. He recommended teaching through rational self analysis, self control techniques, means end reasoning and critical thinking skills. From his model several differential effects predicted while planning an intervention. Reference: 1. H J Eysenck, Crime and Personality (3rd ed. ), 1977