Role of Differential Psychology and Personalized Medicine in Criminology

Capstone Report: Role of differential psychology and personalized medicine in criminology


Human behaviour is known to be intricate and cannot be measured or analysed by using the same parameters (Whitley, et al., 2010). For better understanding and categorization of criminal behaviour, it is important that criminology studies are aligned with the modern methods of personality assessment and crime investigation. Psychology states that differences among individuals exist in terms of their reaction time, emotional intelligence, preferences, temperament and other factors, which leads to unique profiling for each individual (Lamiell, 1981). Traditional criminal profiling has been carried out based on factors such as childhood trauma, financial stress, family background and dynamics, age, gender, emotional intelligence and similar factors (Sutin, et al., 2010). These factors are known to play a defining role in development of the criminals’ personalities (Weiss, et al., 2009).

This research paper is focused on the main variances that exist among individuals in terms of their responses to different stimuli and how differential psychology as well as personalized medicine can help in better understanding of the criminal personality (Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2006). This information based on variation can be used for better criminal classification and profiling in criminology studies.


  • Perspective of Philosophers and Psychologists on Differential Psychology

Theoretical and applies psychologists and philosophers have been concerned with differential psychology for the past several years. Several models have been proposed for the purpose of determining individual and collective personality traits. These models include Plato’s personality trait description, Theophrastus’ descriptive taxonomy that organised individuals based on “characters”, biological personality models, Hippocrates/Galen four temperaments and Wundt’s two dimensional model (Revelle, Wilt, & Condon, 2011). Through these means, the general psychological processes that apply to all individuals can be determined through the use of differential psychology methods. While several other methods are available, the easiest and most relevant method to this research is the use of lexical and self-report methods completed on paper-based or computer-based forms that have been prepared by psychologists (Bonta & Andrews, 2016). Bonta & Andrews (2016) have focused on criminal conduct based on the following needs and risks: biological basis of criminal behaviour, antisocial personality pattern, role of procriminal associates and attitudes, social context of individual (family, marital, school, work, leisure, recreation and neighbourhood), as well as substance abuse history. This categorization as well as those determined through an in-depth theoretical review can allow determination of the major differential psychology factors that need to be studied for the purpose of criminal categorisation and profiling.

  • Personalised medicine in Criminology

Personalised medicine is a relatively new concept that stems from the differing needs of individuals, their health, requirements and management of disease or predisposition (NHS England, 2019). This model separates individuals into separate groups that are based on medical decisions, interventions, practices or products that are tailored to meet the needs of the specific group (Science Daily, 2019). Criminal psychology can make use of differential psychology and personalised medicine to form categories of individuals and criminals based on several known and new factors that may influence criminal behaviour in individuals.

  • Factors important in Criminal Profiling

Previous studies have tried to differentiate criminal based on different factors. Study by Schmideberg (1947) focused on individuals drawn to crime in the following categories: ordinary men driven to crime due to external circumstances; irresistible impulse of an individual; neurotic criminals driven to crime due to irresisitible and unconcious forces; a genuine criminal who takes pride in crime; and mental deficiency or organic illness in individuals. Recent studies focusing on criminal categorisation and profiling focus on the following categories of individual who are drawn to crime, based on a study of prisoners facing charges: marital status, age grouping, primary level education, employment status and parental marital status has been found to trigger significant offenses, which reoccur if the individual is released (Mundia, Matzin, Mahalle, Hamid, & Osman, 2016). The research further delves into personalised medicine which states that prisoner intervention through education, counselling and psychotherapy can significantly help treat mental problems as well as the criminal behaviour induced by sociodemographic behavior in individuals.

Factors that need to be studied in terms of their relevance to criminal profiling and categorisation include the history of criminal behaviour in the family. This is because research has shown in the past that individuals who had criminal behaviour in the family or people from the same family were more likely to commit crimes. Mednick, Gabrielli, and Hutchings (1984) studied sets of twins, which showed that there was a 50% concordance in identical twins committing crimes despite being separated and 21% chances in fraternal twins. These genetic influences on criminal behaviour as also fundamental for criminal profiling and personalised medicine for different individuals involved in criminal behaviours.


Therefore, it can be summarized that through a detailed in-depth study of the sociodemographic, genetic and economic factors that may have influenced criminal behaviour in individuals and its analysis based on differential psychology, it is possible to form personalised cure for different groups of individuals that have been determined.


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