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The 8 types of character (and their relation to criminal behavior)

The 8 types of character (and their relation to criminal behavior)

May 26, 2024

What is the character? What types of character exist and how are they classified?

The same Le Senne defines character as "the methodical knowledge of men, insofar as each one is distinguished from the others by their originality". This concept will help us to understand the behavior of groups in particular and of different individuals.

In simple words, Characterology is the discipline that studies character and its classification . Therefore, it is evident that the study of character is of vital interest for the study of the genesis and dynamics of the most common criminal phenomena to the extent that character is a criminogenic factor.

Characteristics and its importance in criminological study

For the characterology applied to the study of the criminal (the so-called criminal character) the individual predisposition to the commission of a criminal act is represented by the hypertrophy of the characterological mechanisms , of a consecutive atrophy of the other mechanisms, which then lose their faculty of neutralization.

Benigno Di Tulio, eminent student of criminology pointed out that there are dispositions and aptitudes of each criminal that make him feel attracted to a certain form of crime, which in certain cases make the offender repudiate other criminal manifestations. For example, people with fetishistic traits (who commonly tend to be blood character) that enters houses exclusively to steal feminine garments, but not other goods.

Character and predisposition to criminal behavior

On the other hand, already Presten adequately pointed out two points:

1. Certain characterological mechanisms predispose a subject to crime , so the character can be an endogenous criminogenic factor.

2. The criminogenic "power" of a mechanism would seem to be directly linked to its hypertrophy which can be global or selective (in relation to the three constituent factors of this)

Criminal characterization: character classification

The character typology studied by Le Senne proposes the following classification with a total of eight character profiles .

1. Nervous character (emotional, inactive, primary)

Emotional above all, he feels vividly each and every one of the stimuli of the external world, the slightest touch is enough to excite their hypersensed sensitivity . Being inactive, it has a high energetic potential, which by not being discharged by persistent activity is available to instincts and antisocial tendencies. When it reaches its peak, it reacts instantaneously without measuring the consequences of its actions. The most criminogenic of all the characters.

2. Passionate character (emotional, active, secondary)

Is about a subject par excellence related to the so-called "passionate" crimes , although it has a weak criminogenic incidence. The dangerous element of the passionate character comes from the fact that their emotions affected by their secondary nature are prolonged with the passage of time that they tend to organize sometimes on a basis of hatred and / or jealousy that, linked to the activity that they have, facilitates their actions and that they could easily be transformed into actions with murderous intentions. Acquired hypertrophy is the consequence of a derivation of psychic energy that uses the exit route that favors better the perpetration of homicide, caused by hatred, jealousy or revenge. Paranoid states occur quite frequently and easily guide the passionate mechanism towards aggressive antisocial behavior.

3. Choleric character (emotional, active, primary)

Easily observable in this type that emotion is transformed into reaction. The choleric mechanism easily conditions initiative, combativity, aggressiveness: these behavioral traits easily run the risk of being directed against people becoming antisocial acts. The need for action gives rise to certain tendencies such as greed or sexuality and even expressiveness. This choleric mechanism favors more to the injuries and to the fraud that to the robbery .

4. Sentimental character (emotional, inactive, secondary)

Heymans, Wiersma and Resten point out that This character does not predispose to crime . The sentimental is restrained in the expressiveness of his emotions by his secundancy, which draws before him perspectives away from his behavior and also for his inactivity that very rarely leads him down the path of crime. However, their secondaryness can organize emotions on a passional theme, whose basis can be hatred, resentment, envy, etc. Hence, violent, aggressive and unusual reactions, most of the time are directed against people.As the classic example of some subject that overnight decided to kill his entire family or cause a shooting in a school, and then commit suicide. This fact can only be explained by a momentary eclipse of the sentimental mechanism that yields to a nervous mechanism.

5. Blood character (non-emotional, active, primary)

The blood tends to give quick and complete satisfaction to the claims of your body : eating and drinking avidly for example, also trying to satisfy your sexual appetite. Relatively little intervention in crimes against property (such as theft for example), instead has some incidence in sexual crimes and violence against people.

6. Phlegmatic character (non-emotional, active, secondary)

Individuals usually cold, calm, punctual, orderly, truthful and reflective . Of little participation in the crimes. However, his intellectual and meticulous features can make when the phlegmatic choose to channel the crime, perform antisocial behavior at length, carefully prepared and performed, unlike for example the nervous or angry who can commit crimes of impulsivity. They are commonly associated with highly complex intellectual crimes such as bank robberies, white collar crimes, etc.

7. Amorphous character (non-emotional, inactive, primary)

Its dominant feature is extremely radical laziness . He lives in the immediate present and is not usually reflective as to the consequences of his actions, he only attends to his needs to give them satisfaction always with the minimum effort. The amorphous is easily influenced by the influence of others because he has no aptitude to resist the suggestions of a group. The case of those who are only secondary collaborators in a crime (for example in a kidnapping: the one who holds the victim in the house and feeds him).

8. Apathetic character (non-emotional, inactive, secondary)

Characterologically poorly endowed and hardly adaptable to the environment . Sometimes they have mental weakness of some kind with failures in the moral and volitional sphere. With notorious deficiencies in education. Especially participant in sexual crimes against minors, given their multiple difficulties to establish relationships with other individuals.

Character and prevention of aggressive and criminal behavior

Finally we want to indicate that crime prevention should start with the clinic : for the early discovery of the aggressive or antisocial tendencies of young people and the characteristic needs of each individual. Early diagnosis of these needs will allow the establishment of pertinent and proactive relationships on reeducation and biopsychosociological intervention.

Bibliographic references:

  • Marchiori, H. (2004) Criminal Psychology. 9th edition. Editorial Porrúa.


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