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NCJ Number: 67560 Find in a Library
Title: FOUR STUDIES OF STEALING AS A RISKY DECISION (FROM NEW DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLEGAL RESEARCH, 1980, BY PAUL D LIPSETT AND BRUCE DENNIS SALES - SEE NCJ-71016)
Author(s): D P FARRINGTON; B J KNIGHT
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE DESCRIBES 4 STUDIES WHICH WERE DESIGNED TO INVESTIGATE WHETHER THE SUBJECTIVELY EXPECTED UTILITY (SEU) THEORY CAN BE USED TO EXPLAIN THE DECISION TO STEAL.
Abstract: THE SEU OF AN EVENT OR OUTCOME IS THE PRODUCT OF THE SUBJECTIVE PROBABILITY OF ITS OCCURRENCE AND ITS UTILITY, OR SUBJECTIVE VALUE OR ATTRACTIVENESS. IT IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL THEORY OF (SINGLE STAGE) RISKY DECISIONMAKING AND HAS BEEN DERIVED AND TESTED IN GAMBLING EXPERIMENTS. THE FOUR STUDIES DESCRIBED IN THIS ARTICLE WERE TO TEST THE HYPOTHESIS THAT, GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL, A PERSON WILL DO SO IF AND ONLY IF THE SEU OF STEALING EXCEEDS THE SEU OF EVERY ALTERNATIVE COURSE OF ACTION-- THE PROBABILITY OF STEALING WOULD INCREASE WITH THE SUBJECTIVE PROBABILITY OF PLEASANT OUTCOMES OF THEFT AND WOULD DECREASE WITH THE PROBABILITY OF UNPLEASANT OUTCOMES OF THEFT. THE FIRST STUDY, USING SUBJECTIVE MEASURES AND A CORRELATIONAL DESIGN, TESTED ACTUAL RISK-TAKING BEHAVIOR, ACTUAL STEALING BEHAVIOR, PAST STEALING AND RISK-TAKING, AND HYPOTHETICAL STEALING AND RISK-TAKING AMONG 25 YOUTHS. RESULTS SHOWED THAT THE SEU THEORY COULD BE USED TO EXPLAIN STEALING AND RISK-TAKING. THE OTHER 3 STUDIES USED BEHAVIOR MEASURES AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNS TO TEST THE THEORY. RESULTS FROM THESE STUDIES SHOWED THAT STEALING DECREASED WITH INCREASING PROBABILITY OF AN UNPLEASANT OUTCOME; INCREASED WITH INCREASING UTILITY WHEN LARGE MONETARY AMOUNTS WERE INVOLVED, AND THAT STEALING WAS RELATED TO THE AGE OF THE SUBJECT AND TO HIS BEHAVIOR. THUS COST, UTILITY, PROBABILITY, AND AGE, ALL INFLUENCE THE DECISION TO STEAL. THE CENTRAL POSTULATE OF THE MODIFIED THEORY WOULD BE THAT THE PROBABILITY OF STEALING DEPENDS PARTLY ON THE INDIVIDUAL FACTOR OF AGE AND PARTLY ON THE SITUATIONAL FACTORS OF COSTS, UTILITIES, AND PROBABILITIES. REFERENCES ARE GIVEN. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Criminality prediction; Psychological research; Psychological theories; Studies; Theft offenses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67560

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