Criminology: Unit Overview

Travis DixonCriminology

Relevant Topics

The follow are the relevant topics related to the learning outcomes from the IB course that this unit will aim to cover.

  • Social Learning Theory (SCLA)
  • Sociocultural Explanations of Violence (Human Relationships)
  • Exposure to Violence (Human Relationships)
  • Strategies to Reduce Violence (Human Relationships)

Grade 12s can also opt to make connections to topics already covered last year:

  • Neurotransmission
  • Hormones
  • Environment and Physiology
  • Cognition and Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Brain Imaging Technologies to study biology and/or cognition.
  • Biology and Cognition
  • Emotion and Cognition

 What you need to know about violence:

Basically, we are going to look at three major aspects of violence:

  • Causes
  • Effects
  • Solutions

Key questions for each of these three major topics are outlined below. However,


  • Why do people commit violence acts?
  • What are possible biological, cognitive and socio-cultural explanations of violence?


  • Why are the physiological effects of experiencing violence?
  • Why does bystanderism occur?


  • How can we apply psychological concepts to reduce violence?
  • Why is the traditional prison system largely ineffective in reducing recidivism rates of violence crime?
  • To what extent is one other strategy effective in reducing violence? (e.g. improving the prison system; the Sabido method in media; Education; long-term strategies to reduce domestic violence, etc.).

Essential Research (Studies and Theories)

You are free to go beyond the range of major research listed below. In your projects you are recommended to at least begin by consulting and using these studies and theories; this is definitely the easier approach for you. However, please feel free to research and explore other research if you wish.

Key Research:

  • Social Learning Theory (Bandura)
  • Bobo Doll Study (Bandura)
  • Realistic Conflict Theory (Sherif et al)
  • Robbers Cave Experiment (Sherif et al)
  • Rosenzweig’s Experiments on Rats