Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CRIMETIME (Crime and Time: How short-term mindsets encourage crime and how the future self can prevent it)
Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30
Criminological theorizing is showing a trend towards more integrative approaches. Life-course perspectives in particular have been critical in this respect by demonstrating complementarity between sociogenic and dispositional approaches. This project takes the next step and aims to show that dispositional and sociogenic perspectives are not just compatible but in fact symbiotic: they have a common point of convergence and each offers something the other needs. Dispositional perspectives have demonstrated the importance of shortsightedness in the explanation of crime but have not fully incorporated the extent to which it is also influenced by social environments, events, and specific experiences. Sociogenic views, in contrast, have not entertained the possibility that such factors may influence crime precisely because they encourage short-term mindsets. This project develops a new perspective on criminal behavior –Time Frame Theory (TFT)– that integrates both views. TFT is premised on the idea that short-term mindsets encourage crime and specifies how both individual dispositions and sociogenic variables can encourage such mindsets. This theory is tested using a combination of longitudinal research and behavioral field experiments.
Besides aiming connect the dispositional and the sociogenic perspective and providing the foundation for a common paradigm, the research project goes a step further by using TFT as the basis for a behavioral intervention to reduce crime. We use virtual reality technology in combination with a smartphone application to instill a future-oriented mindset in offenders. Using these technologies we create avatars, i.e. digital age-progressed representations of research participants, and let them interact with this future self. This combination of novel theory and innovative methodology may lead not only to a breakthrough in our understanding of delinquency but can also provide a blueprint for a scalable and evidence-based intervention to reduce it.
Work Packages 3 and 4 involve the use of virtual reality (VR) and smartphone technology. Two articles on the use of VR in criminal justice and crime research have been published, both lead-authored by postdoc Cornet (Cornet & Van Gelder, 2020a, Psychology, Crime & Law; Cornet & Van Gelder, 2020b, Sancties). An article lead-authored by PhD-student Ganschow is currently under review at Self & Identity (Ganschow, Van Gelder, Cornet & Zebel) and a second article by the same authors will be submitted this month (November). Importantly, the first results article showing a decrease in offending in a sample of convicted offenders after our VR simulation is currently under review at Nature – Scientific Reports (Cornet, Van Gelder & Van der Schalk).