To understand both the behavioural and the psychological reasoning that influences criminality is to realise that there is no exact science or specific reason for a person to behave criminally. It depends on a plethora of varying factors, and often the reasoning behind the ‘criminal mind’ cannot be perceived with particular clarity.
The Emotional State
Both the permanent and temporary mental state of the individual has an impact on the thought processes that are linked to criminality. Psychologists understand that opportunities for change and the volume of potential solutions are narrowed in more negative moods. Therefore, such negative attitudes can lead to short-sightedness when it comes to criminal activity and the short-term/long-term consequences of actions.
While the idea of blaming violent crime on ‘violence in the media’ persists despite potential uncertainty about its truth, we cannot deny that we are influenced and warped by the media and our society as a whole as to what is correct. The media and individuals we engage with will alter our mentality, for better or worse, based on how they behave or exhibit the behaviour of others. As a result, a correlation between crime and a particular area may indicate specific influences that affect large numbers of people and the mentalities they enact towards the world as a result.
Conversely, areas with higher crime rates may have such because of a sense of dissatisfaction with the authority figures/ organisations of the site that influence how ordinary people are treated and affected, resulting in committing a crime.
When we realise that every situation is specific and that the influences upon another person will not be the same as our own, it becomes obvious how nuanced and specific the factors that influence criminal activity are. As a result, practising empathy in attempting to understand the mind of a criminal is highly effective in trying to associate specific feelings and ideas to the reasoning behind a crime.
Nature or nurture
Scientists and psychologists argue that we are ‘biosocial beings’, meaning our behaviour can be attributed to biology and psychology. We are a combination of our biology and the environment in a very intricate and complicated sense. This shows that both our inherent nature and the people and places we have been surrounded by influence our behaviour and, as a result, may indicate why specific individuals act criminally.
What is essential is to recognise the nuance that results in criminal behaviour; there is no specific combination of factors. Each individual will have different contributing events or ideas that led to their criminal behaviour.
The skill of gaining self-knowledge through the repeated practice of meditation is how we can come to understand our own pull between nature and rationality and understand what drives others to commit unfortunate acts. Our ability to empathise and rationalise why others act in specific ways derives from a capability to know ourselves.