Criminological psychology

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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 14-01-13 23:39


Lab experiments
IV is manipulated, DV is measured. Takes place in artificial environment with artificial task. Test hypothesis from a theory, which is then amended or proven and usually yield quantitative data.

+ scientific methodology so more reliable.
+ strong controls so replicable and testable for reliability.
-  lack validity due to artifical task.
- not ecologically valid due to artificial environment.

Field experiments
IV manipulated, DV measured, cause and effect conclusions can be drawn. Natural setting and usually some controls.

+ replicable to extent so testable for reliability.
+ ecologically valid.
- might not have enough controls over variables to be reliable.
- might not be valid in task. 

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Studies looking at violence in the media

Anderson and Dill
Used survey to link likelihood of playing aggressive video games with admissions of aggression. Then carried out lab exp and found those who played more violent video games were more likely to be aggressive when given opportunity to be angry than boys who didn't.

+ part of study was lab exp so results scientifically gathered.
+ replicable and testable for reliability.
+ 2 different research methods gave reliability as same connection found 2 different ways.
- lab exp lacks validity - demand characteristics.
- only looked at aggression immediately after playing game.

Huesmann and Eron
Looked at children's viewing habits and aggression as adults. Longitudinal correlational study. Found kids who watched more violent TV as children showed more aggressive behaviour as adults.

+ longitudinal so participant variables controlled
+ quantitative data so objective, no need for interpretation.
- longitudinal - many other factors could affect participant's aggression and behaviour.
- correlational, can't determine cause and effect. might be other reasons for behaviour.

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Social Learning Theory

Behaviour comes from observing role models. Attention is paid to behaviour, observations are retained and reproduced if there is motivation to do so. Role models are usually same sex, older age and with status or power. Behaviour more likely to be reproduced if role model is seen being reinforced for behaviour.

Bandura found children imitated aggressive role model. Boys copied physical aggression, girls copied verbal aggression. Male model was copied more.

+ lot of experimental evidence (Bandura, Huesmann & Eron, Anderson & Dill)
+ practical application, can prevent anti-social behaviour and treat offenders
- doesn't look at individual differences
- doesn't account for all crime
- personality theory or high testosterone offer other explanations 

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Labelling and SFP

Labelling involves majority group considering minority group inferior and uses inferior terms. Labelling links to stereotypin. Usually someone stereotypes someone else and the label comes from the stereotype. Stereotyping means thinking a whole group hascertain characteristics from evidence from one member. SFP theory is when individuals are labelled in a certain way, they begin to see themselves in the way and as they are expected to act according to the label, they do. SFP involves various stages.Labelling, then treatment person based on label. Then individual reacting to expectations by behaving according to label. The individual’s behaviour, fulfils the expectations, which confirms the label and the behaviour endures.

+ Madon has studied SFP in education and looked at other areas where false belief can exist and suggests natura of relationship affects SFP e.g. teacher-pupil relationship is special.
+ belief that nature of relationship affects course of prophecy can be applied to expectations of former criminals leading to recidivism.
- few studies have been conducted as it's unethical.
-  most of the research has been in education, but teacher-child relationship is different and more often is fulfilled.

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Studies into SFP

Rosenthal & Jacobsen
Administered IQ test to all students in elementary school and told teachers some students scored highly and would 'bloom' in academic year. Classroom dynamics periodically observed over year and re-testing at end of year = students predicted to 'bloom', did.

+ well-controlled so replicable.
+ other studies have found similar results.
- not necessarily ethical.
- not valid and is artificial - teachers might have thought they were meant to act on info.

Studied Ghanian ethnic group Ashanti who named boys after kra of day they're born. Monday's kra = peaceful, Wednesday's kra = aggressive. Jahoda studied court records and found boys born on Wednesdays were more likely to be convicted of aggression or crime.

+ naturalistic data from court records, not manipulated.
+ hard to see what other factors could have led to findings.
- study hasn't been replicated so not certain to be reliable.

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Aim: to test EW recall and ability to identify target from photographic lineup.

Procedure: 590 participants, randomly assigned to a condition (prepared, retention time span and disguise) approached in public place by female target and asked to help with directions or look for lost jewellery. Then approached by researcher and asked to take part in recall test, either 2 minutes or 4 hours later. Participants given 16 question questionnaire and then asked to identify target from 6 photo line-up.

Results: when target was present in line up, she was correctly identified 49% of time. When she was not there, participants noticed she wasn't there 62% of time. Participants in 'prepared' condition were better at recall but not identification.

Conclusion: recall was accurate 50% of time. Jurors place too much faith in EWT.

+  findings support Haber & Haber so some reliability.
+ ecologically valid.
+ replicable.
- photo line up not the same as real life line up.
- was situation where witness had spoken to target - not always the case 

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Loftus and Palmer

Aim: to examine the use of leading questions affects eye witness recall.

Experiment 1: 45 participants into 5 groups of 9. Each group shown 7 clips of traffic accidents and given questionnaires after including critical question 'how fast do you think the cars were going when they __ eachother?' IV = verb, DV = speed estimate.

E1 results: smashed = 40.8mph. contacted = 31.8mph.

E1 conclusion: either participants completely based answers on what they thought the researchers wanted - demand characteristics - or the leading verb had an effect on recall and distorted memory. L&P said they might remember stuff that didn't happen to 'fit' memory.

Experiment 2: 150 students into 3 groups (smashed, hit, control). Shown a 1 minute clip of multi-vehicle crash and asked how fast cars were going when they ? eachother, or not asked at all. 1 week later, were asked 'did you see any broken glass in the film?'

E2 results: smashed = 16/50 'saw' broken glass. hit = 7/50, control = '6/50.

E2 conclusion: supports argument that leading questions can cause distortion in memory so that the memory 'fits'.

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Loftus and Palmer

+ all participants shown the same film and given same questionnaire except for verb. standardised procedure so replicable and reliable.

+ number of practical applications.

+ quantitative data, so objective and no need for interpretation.

- in experiment 2, all participants were students so lacks generalisability, plus students don't necessarily have an concept of how to estimate speed if they are not drivers. also young so memory might be better, or might be bias in similarity for taking part.

- possibility of demand characteristics. well concealed but participants might have picked up on leading verbs. 

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Yuille and Cutshall

Real life shooting in Vancouver. Thief ties up shopkeeper. Once thief leaves shop, keeper frees himself and goes to get thief's reg. Thief shoots keeper, shopkeeper kills thief.

Aim: to examine issues raised by lab research and look at witness reports, regarding their accuracy and types of errors.

Procedure: out of 21 witnesses, 13 agreed to take part.They were interviewed and the transcripts from the interviews were compared with original police interviews. HOWEVER there were 2 misleading questions - half of participants were asked 'did you see a busted headlight?' on thief's car. Also half were asked about 'a' yellow quarter panel and half were asked about 'the' yellow quarter panel. Also asked about degree of stress (1 being calm, 7 being extremely anxious).

Results: researchers divided incident into description details and accident details. description details were further divided into object and people details. Accuracy remained high after 4/5 months and 10 participants either said there was no broken headlight or yellow quarter panel, or said they hadn't noticed.

Conclusion: first study to look at real event and witnesses. Concluded EW was accurate, possibly because of flashbulb memory and that distress didn't affect recall. 

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Yuille and Cutshall

+ real life study with real life witnesses so high validity.

+ great care taken in counting details so high reliability.

- problems in generalising and researchers themselves admit 'flashbulb memory' is a specific type of memory.

- scoring of details was done conservatively with some inaccuracies noted, though it would be unfair to focus on this. 

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Aim: to investigate the effect of the introduction of TV on the aggressive behaviour of children.

Procedure: the behaviour fo 3-8yr old children was studied before and after the introduction of TV to see if there was any change in anti or pro social displays. the children were filmed in free play in the school playground and 256 minutes of footage was taken. inter-rater reliability was used and behaviour was tallied.

Results: of a possible 64 tallied behaviours, only 9 were significant. decrease in anti-social behaviour in boys and both boys and girls showed an increase in pro-social behaviour overall.

Conclusion: introduction of TV had no negative effect on the children's behaviour, contradicting most lab research. no increase in anti-social behaviours most often associated with TV viewing, such as hitting, kicking etc.

+ no manipulation so ethical.
+ longitudinal so 'before' and 'after' conclusions can be drawn.
- possible children were 'well-behaved' when recorded.
- ehtnocentric, small island with specific close-knit culture, plus restricted viewing.

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Token Economy Programmes

Form of behaviour modification, used in closed institutions like prisons to reinforce desirable behaviour and prevent recidivism, based on operant conditioning. Use system of rewards to reinforce desired behaviour, sometimes use punishment for undesirable behaviour. At first, rewards quickly redeemed but as time goes on are more spaced out.

Important that there are clear definitions of desired behaviour, amount of tokens per reward, gradual changing of giving tokens to shape behaviour and what a reward is.

How to make TEPs work:
- must be consistent, staff must be committed and responsive to behaviours.
Primary reinforcers - must be significant to inmates, ideally chosen by them.
Exchange system - should be set time/place to redeem tokens and each token of known worth and cost should be relative to desirability.
Recording progress: before programme begins, baseline behaviour must be established so feedback can be given as programme goes on and system can be evaluated.

TEPs won't work if staff aren't committed to programme or consistent with rewards, or if the programme doesn't transfer well to real world. 

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Token Economy Programmes

Evidence for TEP
found TEPs to be successful in controlling behaviour in psychiactric hospitals but that more research is needed into how they work alongside drug treatments.

Field et al
 found TEPs were effective in young offenders institution but that there were 10-20% who didn't respond so TEPs need to be individually tailored.

Studies usually show TEPs are effective if well controlled and planned.

+ can be administered by anyone with training so cheap and benefits outweigh costs.
+ found to be successful by Milby and Field.
- might not transfer to home environment.
- must be carefully planned and controlled, many areas where it could go wrong such as lack of consistency from staff.


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Anger Management Programmes

Aim to help individuals control and reduce anger by helping them identify triggers. Based on behavioural principles.

Involves 3 key steps:
Cognitive preparation: helped to recognise anger patterns and identify triggering situations.
Skill acquisition: learn behavioural and cognitive coping strategies to control anger.
Application and practice: role playing and provocation, utilise skills and get positive reinforcement for appropriate responses

Law evaluated 4 AMPs and found people were trying harder to control anger after.
Ireland looked at 50 YOs and found reduction in anger after completition of programme.
Watt found no difference in aggression levels between those on course and those waiting.

+ success reported in self-report data, more likely to be valid (might want to look good?)
+provides tools for managing anger so long-term success.
- doesn't include discussions about consequences and effect on victim so limits success.
-  might just change form of anger from physical to verbal aggression.

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Key Issue - Reliability of EWT

How reliable is EWT: concerns over relibaility as innocent people have been imprisoned.

Factors to consider:
Emotional state of EW and event factors (weapon focus?)

Witnesses can be swayed because if shown a line-up, participant might assume target is in there so choose cloest match.

Out of 69 wrongful convictions, 29 cases or 42% due to incorrect EWT.

Bobby Joe Leaster picked up by police for murdering shopkeeper, taken shop and identified from police car by keeper's wife. 16 years later, found innocent.

Describe... EWT is an account of an event by a witness. Research into EWT is important because some crimes can be well planned and leave no forensic evidence. Forensic evidence is complex so juries might rely more on EWT, reliability of EWT is in doubt due to findings of several studies and experiments.

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Key Issue - Reliability of EWT

Application of concepts
Clifford & Hollin showed footage of man pushing women against wall, stealing her handbag or asking for directions. Recall was poorer for violent footage, violence can affect recall?

Loftus & Palmer identified the misinformation effect of leading questions causing distortion in memory.

Maas & Kohnken - woman approach either with pen or syringe. Syringe group recall = worse when asked to identify woman in line-up - weapon focus affecs EWT.

Yuille & Cutshall found 13 witnesses to real life shooting in Vancouver were still accurate in their EW account 5 months after the incident and did not respond to leading questions. Suggests that although there are some inaccuracies, EW shouldn't be discounted. 

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Aim: to see what factors contribute to unreliable EWT in cases of witness misidentification and also to see any changes police made in light of this.

Key issue and importance: important to society as there are several cases of misdentificaion and wrongfdul imprisonment due to WT. Beneficial to society if real perpetrator is caught.

Gathering of data: secondary data, gathered from the Innocence Project.

Analysis: made summary of main points - weapon used, nature of crime, evidence used for conviction. Then systematically looked at studies to see if findings were mirrored.

Findings: EWT considered vital in court proceedings but can be unreliable e.g. Ronald Cotton. EWT has contributed to several wrongful convictions.

Conclusion: EWT, though important, shouldn't be solely used for conviction because my research shows that has led to many wrongful convictions to be negated by forensic ev.

Problems: hard to find articles with bias as EWT already been proven wrong, and hard to get enough detail about event factors etc to analyse against other studies properly. 

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