By early adulthood, most people have some consistent explanations or interpretations of the world around them and their place in it. In many cases, our friends, family, or spouses might say they know the way we would react to a situation based on our previous thoughts or reactions to similar situations. This does not mean we are rigid in our thinking, but it does suggest there are established patterns to how we view our world. This can include religion, politics, parenting, education, and criminal justice. In this discussion, you will investigate the psychological theories related to these consistent thinking styles and if they have a place in determining pathology or criminal justice processes.
In the psychological realm, there is a predominant premise that cognition (thoughts or interpretations) following an event or incident is the cause of an emotional reaction or response, which in turn initiates the behaviors of the person. The theory is generally referred to as cognitive behavioral theory (CBT) or rationale emotive behavioral theory (REBT), but it has been under constant mutation and adaptation to encompass additional factors such as physiological arousal or altered states of consciousness prior to the event or incident. This approach is often at the core of the interventions and treatments to remediate deviant behavior through reframing the way the offender interprets his or her environment. If the person does not think a negative thought in response to an event, then it is less probable that he or she will have a negative reaction and in turn even less probable that he or she will act in an aggressive or criminal way.
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- Do some research about these theories (CBT or REBT), and in a chart form, address the strengths and weaknesses of the theories when trying to understand, explain, and even predict criminal behaviors.
- Include the limitations or shortcomings of relying on the theories of CBT or REBT to build a defense for a criminal case involving violence.
- Discuss one or two possible assessment instruments or procedures that may support or negate the premises of these theories in explaining deviant behavior involving violence. For this part of the discussion, search the MMY to find specific assessment tools. Helpful hint: Search using keywords cognitive and emotive.