To set matters straight, R and R is not defined as rest and relaxation in this paper, but rather as research and researching. Although this phrase may seem odd, it well-describes the process of discovery and learning called research. To further clarify, research is complete whereas researching is ongoing; both completed research and ongoing research are vital to the truth-seeker we call scientist. It also well illustrates the idea that common sense may not be common. It is such so-called common sense that says that it is impossible to apply the scientific technique to social science research.

However, this should not deter criminal justice researchers from seeking answers to problems in the field; such theory is not only needed but should also be eagerly sought (Hagan, 2010). The purpose of this essay is to explore the possibilities of a unified theory of human behavior that will unite the social sciences along with Psychology and the remaining sciences.
When Sigmund Freud founded Psychology, little did he know he was starting a revolution: A revolution of the minds. Not only was Freud’s research revolutionary, but also just the act of studying thought altered human thought forever. What humans think about thinking is vastly different from Freud’s day. As the Social Sciences evolved during the same era, these developed loose ideas but seldom generated very much proper theory (Hagan, 2010). However, because both disciplines focus on behavior and the related thought-patterns, it stands to reason that a single, correct theory should unite the two and usher in a new era of scientific understanding.

A New Theory of Human (and Criminal) Behavior

This is a new theory to both the Social Sciences and Psychology that Positivism suggests can find a basis in empiricism. Empirical research involves first the isolation of a problem, designing the form of experiment to be conducted, the collecting of information or data, analyzing the findings, and drawing conclusions. A difficulty faced by any theorist is avoiding bias and preconceived notions. Inductive logic can lead a researcher to formulate theory based on preconceived notions and attempt to match the findings to these unproven and possibly false beliefs. So as to prevent such from occurring, the conscientious researcher will attempt to use deduction and form the theory based on the facts (Hagan, 2010).

This theory is perhaps a bit of both. Indeed, it has been deduced from facts based on a quasi-scientific search for a sound system for making decisions, but some induction was used in an endeavor to further formulate ideas.
This new theory can unite all the social and psychological sciences because all deal with human behavior; this new theory focuses on the core elements of human behavior, namely, values, needs, and free-will/choice.
Indeed, this theory began as a search for a scientifically sound method of making decisions. In the search for an answer, the writings of Freud, Jung, Maslow, and Glasser were scoured. Other voices in the fields of Psychology and Sociology were reviewed and considered such as Hunter Lewis. Lewis, author of the book, A Question of Values: Six Ways We Make the Personal Choices That Shape Our Lives, suggests that people use what he terms the Emotional Values System more than all others because it is through such that most needs are met (Lewis, 2003).

An investigation into this idea led to the Hierarchy of Needs proposed by Maslow and choice theory espoused by Glasser (Maslow, 1971; Glasser, 2011).

Through readings of various empirical studies coupled with the weaving of elements of several prominent theories, a clearer image of the motivations for various behaviors emerged. This image forms the framework for this theory.

In short, this new theory of human behavior states that,

1. ALL human behavior is based on an internal drive to satisfy various forms and facets of needs while maintaining the peace of mind that stems from a clear conscience (Maslow, 1968).
2. This conscience is the controlling force we call free-will; it is shaped and molded by values.
3. Values in turn are derived from various sources (Lewis, 2003)
4. Only by working within the framework of our values that we can maintain peace of mind.
5. If we step outside our values or beliefs, we begin to experience mental confusion or anxiety, which may manifest as illness, depression, or insanity, or we change our values.
6. Mental clarity, by contrast, occurs when we have satisfied our needs in harmony with both our beliefs and those of society. This is an important area of research in the criminal justice field because deviant behavior is not deviant to the person doing, but only to those observing (Glasser, 2011).
7. All behavior is/becomes rational to the one doing unless a change in values occurs.
8. Humans have four forms of needs: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Transcendent/Spiritual (see also, Maslow, 1971).
9. These needs have three facets: Identity, Security, and Stimulus.
10. Through the combination of these forms and facets there exists a range of 12 distinct human needs.
11. Each human need can further be sub-divided into positive and negative motivators (positive and negative in the sense does not connote good or bad, but rather, opposite).
12. There are six methods all humans use to determine values (Lewis, 2003).
13. The most powerful force for shaping values and thus choices and behavior is the Collective or group.

The complete theory cannot be tested using the scientific method. Therefore, each hypothesis will need testing independent of the whole, but it stands to reason that if each hypothesis is found to be valid, the theory will be sound. This is the approach that should be taken. In addition, further research into current academic findings may reveal some have already been either proven or not.

Learn more about this theory of human (and criminal) behavior by reading Why We Do What We Do?


Hagan, F.E. (2010). Research methods in criminal justice and criminology. (8th
ed.) [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, rEsource,

Glasser, W. (2011). William Glasser Institute. Retrieved from

Lewis, H. (2003). A Question of Values: Six Ways We Make the Personal Choices That Shape Our Lives (3rd ed.). Richmond, VA: Axios Press.

Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and Personality. New York, NY: Harper.

Maslow, A. (1964). Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. New York, NY: Penguin.

Maslow, A. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Van Nostren.

Maslow, A. (1971). The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York, NY: Viking.


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