Chapter one begins by introducing the role of this book and providing quantitative proof that not all humans are criminals and that we all completely differ from others and from previous versions of ourselves. The psychology of criminal conduct (PCC) strives to describe and predict who will commit crimes and to what extent. The goal placed out is to show differences in repeated criminals, and those who are not criminals or have only committed minor crimes. The PCC attempts to provide the readers with a psychological viewpoint in lieu of a criminal justice standpoint.
The first step in trying to grasp the concept of the psychology of criminal conduct is to fully understand the definition. Psychology of criminal conduct can be defined as tactics used to comprehend criminal behavior of each specific individual being investigated. These tactics are different procedures to understand the actions and risk-factors of criminals through investigations with the goal of predicting future criminal behavior (Bonta & Andrews 2017). There is an obvious distinction between crimes that are committed and by whom they are committed. People who do not signal a lane change or jaywalk are not criminals but rather non-criminals who have been involved with or have committed minor criminal acts.
Many different research designs are available to researchers who seek to examine and begin to comprehend the mind of a criminal. Chapter 2 provides examples and explanations of multiple designs used in the field of criminal justice. The most important designs are cross-sectional, longitudinal, multiwave longitudinal, and randomized experimental. Along with these designs are covariate types. When using covariate and research designs, a criterion variable can be made to begin to predict the future or understand the past (Bonta & Andrews 2017).
Cross-sectional research designs are popular within the criminal justice community due to the low cost to perform the design along with the quickness of the information that is provided to the researcher. This type of design works well with different variables being tested to easily find a common denominator to differentiate between criminals and noncriminals (Bonta & Andrews 2017). An advantage to cross-sectional designs is the ability to show validity and reliability when determining which risk factors continually appear during the research.
Longitudinal designs and multiwave longitudinal design have some similarities when used as a research method. A longitudinal design focuses on the same person or group of people over a certain span of time, concentrating on one dependent variable measured twice within the time span. These two measurements are usually a pretest followed by a post test. A multiwave longitudinal design also focuses on the subject(s) over a span of time while comparing the dependent variable to the independent that is measured multiple times during the experiment (Bonta & Andrews 2017). These measurements may occur in three or more times within the span of the experiment.