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Forensic Psychology

A revison tool for OCR A2 psychology
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on 24 February 2014

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Transcript of Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology
Making a case...
Examining the research into the effectiveness of interviews and interrogation techniques and how it has lead to increased knowledge and awareness of the problems of leading witnesses and accuracy of testimony.
Conclusion
Turning to crime...
There are three influences to turning to crime...
*Upbringing:
The influences of families, friends, teachers and general life experiences and their links to offending behaviour. Location is statistically seen to influence crime as well as the majority of criminals being male.

*Cognition
Our thoughts are generally acknowledged to determine our actions. Psychologists believe that criminals have different thought processes, allowing them to view their criminal behavior as logical and attractive and that the guilt/remorse.conscience that prevents law abiding citizens from acting criminally is absent. It is oftenthought that offending might be due to 'faulty thinking' and/or a lack of moral development.

*Biology
Psychologists have looked at genetic, neurological, gender and evolutionary explanations to crime. The developing brain is not fully formed in adolescence (when criminal activity often peaks) and other biological factors.

Many of these factors can work together as they are not mutually exclusive.

Reaching a verdict...
How psychologists have contributed to understanding the influences on jurors as they watch a trial unfold and their decisions and group behaviors when reaching a verdict.
After a guilty verdict...
Sutherland...
The theory of differential association

This theory, summarised in a book, compromises 9 princlipiles including...

1. The more an individual associates with criminals, compared to time assiciating with non-criminals, the more likely it is that the individual will offend.

2. criminal behaviour is learned.

3. it is learned in interactions with others

The theory needs rigorous testing on order to establish its credibility/usefullness. Sutherland'sdiscounting the influence of media indicates this aspect oftheory is out of date.

Behaviourist perspective can be illustrated by sutherlands assertion that criminal behaviour is learned, in interaction with others in intimate personal groups. from this we can infer imitation.

Reductioist as does not take into account influences of media and technology.
Upbringing
Farrington et al...


Aim: this research aims to document the start, duration and end of offending and (anti-social) behavior. To identify risk and protective factors and the influence of family background on offending and to advance knowledge about conviction careers up to age 50.

Sample: 411boys aged 8-9 from East London state schools. 87% white, mainly working class and of British origin.

Method: A longitudinal survey with data gathered from interviews and criminal records data. Interviews conducted
i) at school age 8,10 and 14
ii) in research office age 16,18 and 21
iii) in homes at 25,32and 48 years

At age 48, 394 males were still alive and 365 were interviewed. Parental interviews conducted when boys ages 8-15 in the home. Teachers completed questionnaires when boys were 8,10,12 and 14.

Results: 41% were convicted for standard offences between 10 and 50 years old, with average conviction career lasting from age 19-28 years. With offences peaking at 17.

Chronic offenders (7% of sample) commit over 50% of officially recorded offences and share commonalities.

Conclusion: As most prolific offenders start early, suggests ten-year-olds should be targeted.

Evaluation: Large sample, some subject attrition, but can still be considered reliabale. Self-reports from interview are liable to socially desirable answers affecting the validity.

Longitudinal study allows for development of behavior over time to be identified/more reliable than a snapshot.

Main risk factors can illustrate understanding of the nurture debate. Very useful target resources for example education programmes and oarenting classes.

psychodynamic perspective- early experiences may effect later life.
behaviourist- observations may result in imitation BANDURA LINK
Wikstrom and Tajfel...
Aim: A series of longitudinal studies of social contexts of pathways into crime and is set out to test a range of factors (poverty, substabce abuse etc. ) and to identify which is most significant predictors of criminal behaviour.

Sample: 14-15 year olds from 13 state schools in Peterborough area.

Method: cross sectional, snapshot study. The questionaire study (conducted 200-2001) had a response rate of 92% followed by a randim sample of 339 (20%) who were interviewed about a weeks actuvities which they had logged. this had a respose rate of 83%. Data on neighbourhood disadvantage was obtained from 1991 concensus.

Results: 45% of males and 31% of females had committed one of the studied crimes ( violencem vandalism, burgularly, shoplifting and theft.

10% males and 4% females had committed serious crime (robbery, theft, burgulary)

high frequency offenders commit a wide range of crimes and the most serious crimes.

Oofenders more often drunk/use drugs than non offenders.

Risk factors include i) individual characteristics. (poor self control, antisocial values, low levels of shame)
ii) lifestyles. (high risk soend a lot of time with oeers in piblic settings, using drugs, alcohol and truanting from school. categorsied as lifestyle dependent.

Protective factors include strong family and school bonds, giod attendence snd parental monitoring.

Evaluation: large relaiable sample however targeting age population of youth crime. Self reports are liable to socially desireable answers.

useful in identifying predictive factors for offending behaviour.
Cognition
Yochelson and Samenow...
Aimed to investigate whether criminals think differently to non criminals.

They began with 255 criminals (half pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the other half were convicted criminals that were not in a mental institute.. Only 30 completed the panned interviews.

The study was longitudinal (over 14 years) and was conducted by 2 doctors working in a mental hospital. the interviews were based on Freudian therapy attempting to find the root cause of offending in early life. The focus of the therapy changed over time to investigate thinking processes/cognition. There was no control group.

Results: 52 thinking errors were reported as being identified in the criminal personality, which fall into 3 main categories:

crime related errors
Automatic thinking errors
Criminal thinking patterns

They concluded that criminals are essentially in control of their lives and that offending is a result of the choice they made. They tend to have distorted self image and typically deny responsibility.

Evaluation: The lack of control group = no conformation that behaviors only in offenders
validity problems- socially desirable responses led to the change in focus. and subject attrition means very small sample is unreliable. Clinical semi structured interviews and longitudinal means cannot be replicated to check reliability and data is liable to interpretation bias.

Root causes of criminal behaviour in early life = psychodynamic.




Kohlberg
Biology
Moral development in children. This was heavily influenced by piagets stages of development. Kohlberg aimed to find evidence to support his theory that moral development progresses through stages.

72 boys from Chicago, aged 10, 13 and 16. In each group there was hlaf upper-middle class and half lower-middle class. They had comparible IQ

Method: Interveiws. These were recorded and lasted two hours long. 10 hypothetical moral dilemas were to be solved. (e.g the Heinz dilema.) The study took a longitudinal aspect as some boys were followed up in later work at 3 yearly intervals (up to the age of 30-36)

Results: Outlined three levels of moral development...
*pre morality
*conventional morality
*Post conventional morality
Each of these have 2 further stages. Results confirmed that the younger boys were operating in the early stages (S1 out of fear of punishment; S2 for personal gain)
The older boys in the later stages (S3 doing right to be 'good' S4 obeying laws out of duty.
The finding support the theory of stages of moral development.

Later research by Kohlberg conducted in different countries/cultures confirmed the stage theory across the world.

Evaluation: limitaions like gender bias, the theory is 'thinking', validity is questioned due to slef report, difficult nature of dilemas, especially with younger participants. Debates include nature, nurture.
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