chapter  1
22 Pages

Individual Propensities and Rational Decision-Making: Recent Findings and Promising Approaches: Stephen G. Tibbetts and Chris L. Gibson

THE CURRENT STATUS OF RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY A Significant portion of the studies on rational choice theory in the late 1980s and early 1990s dealt with integrating perspectives that emphasize persistent individual differences with traditional decision

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Bernard and Snipes (1996) argue that there are two categories of criminological theories: structure/process and individual difference theories. To simplify their argument to the relevant issue, these theorists claim that some perspectives, such as rational choice theory, assume criminals are "normal" in that they are comparable to noncriminals in the processes by which they interact with the immediate en'vironment and in the motives that direct their reactions to the environment. On the other hand, individual difference theories assume that variations in characteristics of persons predict the probabilities that a particular individual will engage in criminal activity. Additional contrasting assumptions of individual difference theories are that the dispositions or characteristics of the person explain his/her behavior more so than social or other environmental/situational factors, and that criminals can be distinguished from noncriminals based on these measurable individual characteristics (Bernard & Snipes 1996).