Sigmund Freud’s Structure of the Human Mind and Criminal Behavior P.3

in neuroses, or outward, resulting in anti-social and criminal behavior.

Obviously a person that lacks the social coping mechanisms that most people possess, will be inclined to make poor choices within the moral context of society. If, as a child, one had to inflict pain on a sibling to gain the attention of their caregivers, they would be more willing to use this same method in their adult years. They may interpret abusive interactions as a way in which to gain the attention of those around them. Their criminal behaviors would follow the same tradition of their childhood instances of acting out.

Because the child had no parameters in which to seek the approval of their caregivers, but instead gained attention only from negative reactions to behavior, they may still desire boundaries. Since they never developed the internal mechanisms necessary for creating personal boundaries, they will look to society to set these boundaries, as a healthy child would look to their parents to have the same need met.

Freud’s theory of the Structural Model of the Mind supplies an explanation for how the criminal mind operates, and defines the construct in which anti-social behavior is developed. While critics may agree that it leaves little room for human development, it clearly outlines the reasons for which a criminal would conduct himself or herself in a manner, which seeks the attention of others, and desires the boundary setting mechanisms of society.

Works Cited

Vann Spruiell. "Groddeck's Children." Journal of the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis, 1979, Vol. 6: 175-181. <>

James Neill. "Structure of Mind: Freud's Id, Ego,&Superego"<>

Heather D. Flowe, Ph.D. "Psychological Theories of Crime." UC San Diego Psychology. 1996. <>




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