Psychologists have done different studies to see why people commit crimes. Some have said that it is because a person is born a criminal whilst others argue that a person is influenced by society. Those who say that a person who is influenced by society might do it because they live in a poor area or they are brought up to think it is normal. Or they might have a role model who commits crimes. Those who say that a person is born a criminal say that the person might have excessive testosterone which makes them more aggressive and therefore commit more crimes.
Milgrim (1963) studied the obedience of the participants. As his aim was to investigate the stages of obedience that would be shown when participants who taken part in this experiment which were told from authority figure to control the electric shock to another person. This theory started off by the teachers asking questions to the participants and if the participant answer is wrong, he would be punished with an electric shock. The voltage increases for each wrong answer. None of the participants left the experiment without givng the intense shock.
Another case study was done by Albert Banduras. He concludes that observing aggressive or violent behaviour, would make the participant behave more aggressively or violent. A group of young children were put into a room and had seen a video of an adult beating a doll. After the video was shown the children were put into another room as there were toys and the same doll was shown in the video. The children were not allowed to play with the toys and the only thing they can touch was the doll. 88% of children got frustrated by not playing with the toys and gave verbal or physical abuse to the doll.
Cesare Lombrosso had done a case on morphology which describes the person body shape and type. As the results he found and concluded that criminals have these following body structures such as enlarged cheekbones and jaw, fleshy, protruding lips, abnormal teeth and excessive tattoos. In 1963 Milgrim's behavioural study of obedience took place. It consisted of volunteers being asked to initiate electric shocks to strangers. Milgrim took only male participants between 20 and 50 years old as these were recruited through a newspaper advertisement, and paid them $4. 50.
Milgrim gave an order to the teachers which were to administer the shocks when the learners who were strapped into a chair gave the wrong answer. On the machine there were 30 different switches ranging from 15v to 450v. Also on the machine were labels ranging from light shock all the way up to danger. A list of answers was given to the teacher and every time they heard a wrong answer they were to flick a switch. For every wrong answer the voltage of the shock would increase to the next level. Throughout the experiment the learners would purposely give wrong answers.
There were no electric shocks actually involved but the learners gave out screams and reactions to make it seem real. The teachers were told to continue right the way to the end no matter what they heard. At the start of the experiment the learners told the experiment that they had a slight heart problem, Milgrim made out that it wouldn't be a problem but really they didn't actually have heart problems. In result over 60% of participants continued to shock even when the learner screamed out to stop.
22.5 % of the participant stopped at 315v. Also 65% went to levels that would have been lethal (450 volts) to the learners. This experiment just shows to what extreme people will go to when told to. Even the participant gives the wrong answer he would still get electric shocked as this shows obedience to authority figures. Before the experiment began a class of psychology students were asked to estimate the percentage of participants who would continue giving shocks up to 450v, they estimated only 3 per cent.
This situation was unlikely to occur in everyday life so the participants acted in a different way to how they would usually act and the results could not be generalised to the real world. A lot of cheating was used meaning the reactions of participants were not real as they haven't got electrocuted. Also the participants suffered psychological harm. They showed signs of distress, nervousness and tension. This again will not produce the most accurate results as this is unethical.