Somatotype theory

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  1. Who pioneered the Somatotype theory?
    Sheldon in 1949
  2. What are sheldon't three basic body types?
    • Endomorphs: Fat and soft 
    • Ectomorphs: Thin and fragile 
    • Mesomorphs: Muscular and hard
  3. What did sheldon believe?
    Behaviour is linked to body type, these can be split into 3 categories
  4. What type of people did Sheldon believe endomorphs to be?
    • Relaxed
    • Pleasure loving
    • Enjoy food and the company of others
  5. What type of people did Sheldon believe ectomorphs to be?
    • Solitary
    • Restrained
    • Self conscious
  6. What type of people did Sheldon believe mesomorphs to be?
    • Aggressive 
    • Associated with criminality
    • High pain tolerance 
    • Callous 
    • Careless of others' feelings
  7. How did Sheldon group individuals?
    • He rated them on a scale of 1-7 according to the amount of each of the three components they showed
    • E.g 4-4-4 is balanced
  8. How did Sheldon study these body types in 1949?
    • Sheldon rated 200 college students and 200 male delinquents on each of the body types
    • Divided the delinquent sample into various groups according to type and degree of delinquency and compared the criminal group with other types of delinquents
  9. What did Sheldon find after his study?
    Many convicts were mesomorphic and were least likely to me mesomorphic
  10. What did Cortés and Gatti find in 1972?
    • Studied 100 delinquents 
    • 57% were mesomorphic in the delinquent group
    • 19% were mesomorphic in the control group
  11. What did Glueck and Glueck find in 1956?
    • In a sample of delinquents 60% were mesomorphs
    • In the control sample only 31% were mesomorphs
  12. How is Sheldon't theory overly subjective?
    • He rated the body sizes himself, others may have classified people differently
    • The classification into somatotypes was unreliable 
    • The chosen delinquent group was selective- bias was likely
  13. Why was Sheldon't criminal typing method criticised?
    The subdivisions of criminals into criminal types was not based on legal definition but was subjective, different people may have different opinions on what constitutes a crime
  14. What did Sutherland find in 1951?
    • Reclassified the delinquent groups using legal criteria 
    • Found far less difference in the somatotypes of delinquents and non delinquents 
    • Mesomorphs were more common in delinquent youths, however
  15. What did Wadsworth find in 1979?
    British delinquents commenting serious crimes tended to be smaller than average and were late in reaching puberty
  16. What did west and Farrington find in 1973?
    • Longitudinal study of London working-class boys  undertaken
    • No correlation between body type and delinquency
  17. What did Feldman find in 1977?
    • Relationships between shape and criminality can be explained by expectations
    • These features may catch the attention of the police or influence juries during sentencing
  18. How does the self fulfilling prophecy relate to Sheldon's theory?
    If we expect people to act in a certain way they do
  19. How may the Environment play a part in Sheldon's theory?
    • It could be down to an interaction between genetic looks and environment 
    • If mesomorphs look intimidating they may be treated more aggressively and therefore become aggressive
  20. How might the prison system influence a criminal's body type?
    • Nothing to do in prison
    • Gym facilities available 
    • Good to be muscular in order to ward off violence within prison
Card Set
Somatotype theory
AQA PSYB4 Psychology Criminology
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