The Psychology of Criminal Conduct

The Psychology of Criminal Conduct (PCC) is a social learning approach to criminal behavior that posits that criminal behavior is a combination of personality, social learning, and situational factors. This approach assumes that although the causes of crime cannot be scientifically pinpointed, they may be inferred by examining the correlates of criminal behavior. PCC regards the major correlates of criminal behavior as 1) antisocial attitudes, 2) antisocial associates, 3) history of antisocial behavior, and 4) personality factors. These correlates are known as “the big four.” They are used by criminologists and forensic psychology professionals when conducting risk assessments. These assessments are used to identify individuals likely to commit crimes. Evaluating risk is one of the major focuses of PCC, along with the treatment of high-risk offenders.