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Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending

3. Who Commits Which Offences?

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In this lecture, we think about individual differences in people who commit crimes, to attempt to answer the question ‘who commits which offences?’, focusing in particular on: (i) an important area of research in this field as the observation of childhood behaviours when under threat; (ii) the well documented tendency for, without intervention to actively tackle unhealthy and unproductive responses to stress and trauma, those behaviours to be perpetuated into adulthood; (iii) how children who always operate in a heightened sense of stress often lack the additional capacity to carefully consider the consequences of their actions – something which can result in a criminal conviction if continued into adulthood; (iv) three examples of interventions which might be implemented to help reduce negative behaviours as trauma informed care, dialectical behaviour therapy, and eye movement desensitisation.


In this course, Honorary Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman (Cardiff Metropolitan University) explores behavioural explanations for offending, contextualised in the experiences of a forensic psychologist working with people in prison and secure hospital environments. In the first lecture, we think about the concept of labelling and discuss the impacts it can have on an individuals’ self-perceptions and the way others perceive them. In the second lecture, we discuss interventions that are in place at these institutions to help ensure those in custody can lead better lives upon their release. In the third lecture, we attempt to answer the question ‘who commits which offences?’, as well as highlighting the issues with profiling in this way. Next, we delve into the role of attachment in offending behaviour. In the fifth lecture, we return to this in the context of case formulation, by using the psychodynamic model as a method of comprehensively understanding an individual’s criminal actions. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about research methods, specifically the person-centric considerations of performing research in the field of forensic psychology.


Honorary Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman is a chartered forensic psychologist, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Applied Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, as well as a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Buckinghamshire New University. Dr Akerman’s forensic psychology role involves working with adult males in a prison-based therapeutic community to help reduce the risk of reoffending. Some of Dr Akerman’s recent publications include 'The Development of a fantasy modification programme for a prison-based therapeutic community' (2008) and 'The Development of a Psychometric Measure of Current Sexual Interest' (Submitted).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Akerman, G. (2022, January 26). Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending - Who Commits Which Offences? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Akerman, G. "Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending – Who Commits Which Offences?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Jan 2022,

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