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NCJ Number: 148226 Find in a Library
Title: Applying Chaos Theory to Delinquent Behavior in Psychosocial Stress Situations (From Psychology and Law: International Perspectives, P 55-61, 1992, Friedrich Losel, Doris Bender, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-148224)
Author(s): T Fabian; M Stadler
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Walter de Gruyter & Co
1 Berlin 30, Germany United
Sale Source: Walter de Gruyter & Co
Genthiner Str 13
1 Berlin 30,
Germany (Unified)
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: Germany (Unified)
Annotation: The chaos theory is applied to assess crimes of passion, particularly in the context of diminished culpability and in cases in which offenders do not exhibit pronounced psychopathology.
Abstract: Chaos theory does not explain effects with a classic causal model. Nonetheless, effects in a chaotic system are lawful, not random. Chaotic systems are characterized by a sensitive dependency on initial conditions which cannot be determined exactly. Minimal causes can lead to large effects, and chaotic behavior exists only in nonlinear systems. Related to chaos theory, the basic approach of stress research is physiological stress theory. Psychological stress theory is concerned primarily with the mediative effects of psychological processes in stress events. From the perspective of chaos theory, stimuli leading to crimes of passion may by themselves be of little importance; in the context of changes in marginal conditions, these stimuli can cause a killing reaction. The intensity of the reaction can be explained in terms of instability that causes the offender to reach a bifurcation point. Because of the experienced threat of the situation, behavior tends to gravitate toward response patterns that are not controlled on a cognitive level. The chaos theory is applied to a case study involving a female offender. 22 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Crime causes theory; Crimes of passion; Female offenders; Juvenile delinquency theory; Psychological research; Psychological theories
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