Criminal Thinking: A Fixed or Fluid Process?

Robert D. Morgan, Ashley B. Batastini, Danielle D. Murray, Catherine Serna, Claudia Porras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This research examined whether levels of criminal thinking are fixed or fluid across situational contexts. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that criminal thinking and antisocial attitudes would increase with greater proximity to a criminal act. Results of Study 1 revealed no significant group differences on measures of criminal thinking and attitudes between college students who were asked to plan what they believed to be a criminal act and those who viewed a movie clip depicting a criminal act. Inmates in Study 2 completed the same outcome measures as participants in Study 1; however, prior to post-assessment, those in the experimental group were instructed to recall a prior crime, whereas the control group completed post-assessments under normal testing conditions. Results of Study 2 were generally consistent with Study 1. Additional research is needed to understand the nature of criminal cognitions over time and their susceptibility to various environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1065
Number of pages21
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2015


  • antisocial attitudes
  • correctional treatment
  • criminal thinking
  • risk assessment


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