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Re-Examining of Moffitt's Theory of Delinquency through Agent Based Modeling.

Leaw JN, Ang RP, Huan VS, Chan WT, Cheong SA - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Moffitt's theory of delinquency suggests that at-risk youths can be divided into two groups, the adolescence- limited group and the life-course-persistent group, predetermined at a young age, and social interactions between these two groups become important during the adolescent years.We built an agent-based model based on the microscopic interactions Moffitt described: (i) a maturity gap that dictates (ii) the cost and reward of antisocial behavior, and (iii) agents imitating the antisocial behaviors of others more successful than themselves, to find indeed the two groups emerging in our simulations.Moreover, through an intervention simulation where we moved selected agents from one social network to another, we also found that the social network plays an important role in shaping the life course outcome.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychological Studies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616.

ABSTRACT
Moffitt's theory of delinquency suggests that at-risk youths can be divided into two groups, the adolescence- limited group and the life-course-persistent group, predetermined at a young age, and social interactions between these two groups become important during the adolescent years. We built an agent-based model based on the microscopic interactions Moffitt described: (i) a maturity gap that dictates (ii) the cost and reward of antisocial behavior, and (iii) agents imitating the antisocial behaviors of others more successful than themselves, to find indeed the two groups emerging in our simulations. Moreover, through an intervention simulation where we moved selected agents from one social network to another, we also found that the social network plays an important role in shaping the life course outcome.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The (a) antisocial levels ei(t), (b) rewards ai(t), (c) costs bi(t), and (d) net rewards gi(t) of the 30 agents in a typical simulation.In (b), the rewards increase linearly with time in the maturity gap, to reach a different constant for different agents in adulthood. In (c), we see how the costs change with time for all 30 agents. The cost for a given agent is a not a simple sigmoid because his antisocial level changes with time. We also see a gap opening up between a group of agents with nearly constant cost and a group of agents with increasing cost near the end of the simulation. This gap is also seen in (d) the net reward, but is most pronounced in (a) the antisocial level.
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pone.0126752.g003: The (a) antisocial levels ei(t), (b) rewards ai(t), (c) costs bi(t), and (d) net rewards gi(t) of the 30 agents in a typical simulation.In (b), the rewards increase linearly with time in the maturity gap, to reach a different constant for different agents in adulthood. In (c), we see how the costs change with time for all 30 agents. The cost for a given agent is a not a simple sigmoid because his antisocial level changes with time. We also see a gap opening up between a group of agents with nearly constant cost and a group of agents with increasing cost near the end of the simulation. This gap is also seen in (d) the net reward, but is most pronounced in (a) the antisocial level.

Mentions: When Moffitt developed this theory, she pointed out a few phenomena which we would like to highlight here. First, evidence shows that when youths grow up from early childhood to adolescence, the prevalence of antisocial behavior and criminal offences among youths increase with age (see Fig 1). During this transition, the life-course-persistent youths shift from peripheral to more influential positions in the peer social network. Their psychopathological behavior in childhood becomes normative, and the object of imitation by their adolescence-limited peers. Adolescence-limited youths, on the other hand, feel the need to exhibit antisocial behaviors to lessen the psychological burden they experience from the maturity gap. However, when adolescence ends, the trend reverses and both antisocial behaviors and criminal offences become less prevalent as the youths reach adulthood. After assuming legitimate adult roles and attaining adult privileges, the maturity gap is closed, and the adolescence-limited youths have no further need to behave antisocially. Moreover, behaving antisocially will also diminish their past achievements or jeopardize their future goals. With rewards turning into costs, the adolescence-limited group will quit behaving antisocially. In comparison, due to their long histories of antisocial behaviors, the life-course-persistent youths find few options for change, and thus they are more likely to remain antisocial.


Re-Examining of Moffitt's Theory of Delinquency through Agent Based Modeling.

Leaw JN, Ang RP, Huan VS, Chan WT, Cheong SA - PLoS ONE (2015)

The (a) antisocial levels ei(t), (b) rewards ai(t), (c) costs bi(t), and (d) net rewards gi(t) of the 30 agents in a typical simulation.In (b), the rewards increase linearly with time in the maturity gap, to reach a different constant for different agents in adulthood. In (c), we see how the costs change with time for all 30 agents. The cost for a given agent is a not a simple sigmoid because his antisocial level changes with time. We also see a gap opening up between a group of agents with nearly constant cost and a group of agents with increasing cost near the end of the simulation. This gap is also seen in (d) the net reward, but is most pronounced in (a) the antisocial level.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4465023&req=5

pone.0126752.g003: The (a) antisocial levels ei(t), (b) rewards ai(t), (c) costs bi(t), and (d) net rewards gi(t) of the 30 agents in a typical simulation.In (b), the rewards increase linearly with time in the maturity gap, to reach a different constant for different agents in adulthood. In (c), we see how the costs change with time for all 30 agents. The cost for a given agent is a not a simple sigmoid because his antisocial level changes with time. We also see a gap opening up between a group of agents with nearly constant cost and a group of agents with increasing cost near the end of the simulation. This gap is also seen in (d) the net reward, but is most pronounced in (a) the antisocial level.
Mentions: When Moffitt developed this theory, she pointed out a few phenomena which we would like to highlight here. First, evidence shows that when youths grow up from early childhood to adolescence, the prevalence of antisocial behavior and criminal offences among youths increase with age (see Fig 1). During this transition, the life-course-persistent youths shift from peripheral to more influential positions in the peer social network. Their psychopathological behavior in childhood becomes normative, and the object of imitation by their adolescence-limited peers. Adolescence-limited youths, on the other hand, feel the need to exhibit antisocial behaviors to lessen the psychological burden they experience from the maturity gap. However, when adolescence ends, the trend reverses and both antisocial behaviors and criminal offences become less prevalent as the youths reach adulthood. After assuming legitimate adult roles and attaining adult privileges, the maturity gap is closed, and the adolescence-limited youths have no further need to behave antisocially. Moreover, behaving antisocially will also diminish their past achievements or jeopardize their future goals. With rewards turning into costs, the adolescence-limited group will quit behaving antisocially. In comparison, due to their long histories of antisocial behaviors, the life-course-persistent youths find few options for change, and thus they are more likely to remain antisocial.

Bottom Line: Moffitt's theory of delinquency suggests that at-risk youths can be divided into two groups, the adolescence- limited group and the life-course-persistent group, predetermined at a young age, and social interactions between these two groups become important during the adolescent years.We built an agent-based model based on the microscopic interactions Moffitt described: (i) a maturity gap that dictates (ii) the cost and reward of antisocial behavior, and (iii) agents imitating the antisocial behaviors of others more successful than themselves, to find indeed the two groups emerging in our simulations.Moreover, through an intervention simulation where we moved selected agents from one social network to another, we also found that the social network plays an important role in shaping the life course outcome.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychological Studies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616.

ABSTRACT
Moffitt's theory of delinquency suggests that at-risk youths can be divided into two groups, the adolescence- limited group and the life-course-persistent group, predetermined at a young age, and social interactions between these two groups become important during the adolescent years. We built an agent-based model based on the microscopic interactions Moffitt described: (i) a maturity gap that dictates (ii) the cost and reward of antisocial behavior, and (iii) agents imitating the antisocial behaviors of others more successful than themselves, to find indeed the two groups emerging in our simulations. Moreover, through an intervention simulation where we moved selected agents from one social network to another, we also found that the social network plays an important role in shaping the life course outcome.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus