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  • Created on: 10-05-15 14:58

Farrington (Upbringing)

Aim: Document the start, duration and end of offending behaviour from childhood to adulthood in families. Investigate influence of life events, the risk & protective factors predicting offending.

  • 411 boys aged 8 & 9, predominanly white working class, 6 state school registers in East L.


  • At age 48, 404 searched criminal records, 161 had convitions
  • Number of offenders and offences peaked at age 17
  • Most chronic offenders shared childhood charactersitics (convicted parent, high daring, delinquent sibling, young mother, low popularity.)

Conclusions: Offenders tended to be deviant throughout many aspects of their lives. Most important risk factors for criminality in the family are poverty, impulsiveness and poor school performance. Hence early intervention programes for the under 10's could have significant impact in reducing offending.

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Family is not the only influence on criminality.

Differential Association Hypothesis:

Sutherland presents his theory in the form of 9 principles:

  • Criminal behaviour is learnt
  • Criminal behaviour is learnt through interaction with others in a process of communication

He based his theory on two core assumptions:

  • Deviance occurs when people define certain human situations as an appropriate ocassion for violating social norms or criminal laws.
  • Definitions of the situation are acquired throgh an individuals history of past experience.
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Wikstrom & Tafel

Aim: To investigate why young people offend

  • 2000 year 10 students, Cross sectional study, data collected from official records/interviews


  • 44.8% male, 30,6% females had commited atleast one crime in 2000
  • One in 8 were reported or caught by the police for their last crime
  • Offenders are more likely to abuse drink and or drugs

Explanatory factors: Familiy social position, individual characteristics, social situation, lifestyle

Conclusions: W&T suggested 3 groups of adolescent offenders

  • Propensity Induced - Enduring propensity to offend, numerous risk factors ( weak family and social bonds, low self control, anti social values, low levels of shame)
  • Lifestyle Dependant - Offend due high risk life style (e.g socialising with delinquent peers)
  • Situationally limited - Ocassionaly offend if exposed to high levels of situational risk, unlikely to re offend.
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Yochelson & Samenow

Aims: Understand make up of criminal personality, Establish potential techniques to alter personality disorder producing crime, Encourage understanding of criminal responsibility.

  • 255 males (black, white, wealthy, poor, suburbs, city) 
  • longitudinal 14 years, interviews various points throughout
  • 1/2 confined to a mental hospital due plea of diminished responsibility
  • 1/2 convited prisoners not confined to mental hospital
  • Most dropped out only 30 completed the interviews

Findings: Criminals are - Restless, dissatisfied, irritable, habitually angry, lack empathy, set themselves apart from others

Conclusions: 52 criminal patterns were established in the criminal personality which were thought to be errors in thinking, however there was no control group of non criminals we cannot be certain that theese traits are only found in criminals.

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Aim: Find evidence support of progression through stages of moral development.

  • 58 working/middle class boys from chicago ages 7,10,13,16
  • 2 hour interview with 10 dilemas like the hienz to solve
  • some were followed up on 3 yearly intervies

Findings: Younger boyrs tended to perform better at stages 1 and 2 (pre morality)

  • (1) Punishment & Obedience, doing what is right due to fear of punishment
  • (2) Hedonistic Orientation, doing what is right for personal gain (rewards)

Older boys tended to perfrom better at stages 3 and 4 (Conventional morality)

  • (3) Interpersonal Concordance Orientation, doing what is right according to the majority
  • (4) Law & Order Orientation, doing what is right because it is your duty and helps society.

Conclusions: Evidence supports the idea of stage theory and has seen to be consistant when conducted in other counties.

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Gudjohnson & Bownes

Aim: Examine the relationship between type of offence & attribution offenders make about their criminal acts.

  • 80 criminals serving sentence in Northern Ireland
  • 20 Violent offences, 40 Sex offences, 20 Crime against property
  • Criminals had to fill out 42 item Blame Attribution Inventory (BAI)

Results: Sex offenders were seen to have to most guilt, no significant difference between mental element/capacity, Violent offenders tended to blame external attributions the most.

Conclusions: Compared their study to earlier one conducted in England and found high levels of consistency for the way crimnal attributed blame for their crimes.

Higher level of external attribution for violent crimes may be due to the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland, therefore this study could be time locked.

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Aim: Make a multi factor approach to understanding anti social and aggresive behaviour in children

  • Meta analysis of selection of articles covering neuropsychological, neurological and brain imaging sudies 


  • Low resting heart rate = good predictor of individual who will seek excitement to raise arousal levels, creating fearless temperment.
  • Adolescent brain is still forming final connections in pre fontal lobe up till early 20's
  • Activity in pre frontal lobe of impulsive individuals are likely to be antisocial, aggressive is lower
  • Birth complications, poor parenting with physical abuse, malnutrition, smoking, drinking during pregnancy all add to the risk.

Conclusions: Raine concludes that early intervention programes and prevention may be an effectinve way of reversing biological deficits that predispose to anti social and aggresive behaviour

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Brunner et al

  • Case study on a family from Netherlands
  • Males affected by a syndrom of borderline mental retardation and abnormal violent behaviour
  • such as impulsive aggression, arson, attempted ****, exhibitionism


  • 5 affected males were studies, data collected from urine samples over 24 hours period

Results: Test showed distrubed monoamine metabolism associated with the deficit of enzyme monoamine oxidase A, 

A mutation was identified on the X chromosome of the gene responsible for the production of MAOA

Conclusions: MAOA involved in serotonin metabolism, impaired serotining metabolism is likely to be resposible for mental retardation and this could be linked to aggresive behaviour.

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Daly & Wilson

Aim: Find out if Homicide rates would vary as a function of local life expectancy in chicago

  • Correlation study, survery data from police records, school records, local demographic records
  • Local area life expectancy ranging from from 54.3 to 77.4 were compared to homicide rates in thoose areas


  • Homicide rates varied from 1.3 to 156 homicides per 100,000 persons per anumm in local area
  • Strong correlation between life expectancy and homicide rate meaning lower life expectancies correlated with higher homicide rates
  • school absentiesm was negatively correclate with life expetancy.

Conclusions: Young men from disadvantaged neighbourhoods expected to live shorter lives and were therefore more likely to engage in risky behaviours, however these findings could be explained by social facotrs such as poverty and inequality rather than life expectancy.

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Pennington & Hastie

Aim: Investigate whether or not story order evidence summaries are true causes of the final verdict & The extent to which story order affects confidence in those verdicts.

  • 130 students, Northwestern uni & Chicago, Paid, 1 hour long experiement
  • 4 conditions, 39, Defence/Prosecution items in story order/witness order
  • Listened to tape recording of stimulus trial, respond to written questions, decide guilty or not, and rate confidence on verdict on five point scale


Greatest level of confidence in verdicts was expressed by thoose who heard (Defence/Prosecution) in story order. Lowest by the group who herd witness order.

Conclusions: Present the case in story order has a persuasive effect.

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Cutler et al

Aim: Investigate whether hearing psychological research from expert witness which casts doubt on accuracy of EWT would affect jurrors decison making, by making them more sceptical.

  • 538 undergrads, viewed mock tape of robbery, individually completed questionaires after
  • DV = Verdict, Memory test, Raiting scale of verdict confidence
  • 4 IV - WIC (good = no disguise, hidden gun, 2 day delay in identification, no suggestion)      (bad = disguised, handgun, 14 day delay, suggestive instructions during line up)
  • Witness Confidence (100% or 80%
  • Form of testimony (Descriptive or % and figures
  • Expert Opinion, expressed of 0-25 on accuracy of testimony 

Results: (1) Jurors verdict - WIC were good more guilty verdcts given, this increased when expert witness gave descriptive testimony......(2) Jurors memory - 85% correctly recalled, so poor memory cannot be blamed......(3) Juror confidence - Good in good WIC, stronger if witness was 100%, increased if expert witness also expressed confidence.

Conclusions: EWT improved jurors knowledge, made them pay more attention to WIC.

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Aim: Look at the effect of prior convictions, look at role of judges instructions when followed by legal explanation, examine how much credibilty of witness affects the jurors ability to ignore inadmissble mistakes.

  • 236 Bali state Uni students, 2 conditions, audio tape of mock trial
  • Critical evidence accidently introduced by witness, this was objected, judge ruled it was inadmissible & jury should ignore it, One condition this was followed by legal explanation
  • Participants decided verdict, probable guilt, effect of knowlefge of prior convictions on 10 pScale & credibility of witness

Results: Ruled inadmissble with no legal explanation - were able to ignore it & defendant guilty Those that were given legal explanation were less likely to find guilty as they couldnt ignore it     The credibility of witness & knowledge of prior convictions had no significant effect

Conclusions: It would seem that calling attention to inadmissible evidence makes it more important to the jury and they pay it more attention.

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Castellow et al

Aim: Test hypothesis - attractive defendant is less likely to be seen as guilty, more attractive victim = more likely defendant to be seen as guilty. And gender differences in theese effects

  • 71 male, 74 femles East Carolina Uni, Lab study, Independant measures design
  • All read sexual harrasment case, attached were pictures of defendant & victim (un/attractive)
  • Dv - was their answer "do you think -- is guilty of sexual harrasment"
  • also asked to rate both defendant and victim on 11 bipolar personality scales such as dull, exciting, nervous, calm etc


  • Attractive defendants were found to be guilty 56% of the time and unattractive 76%
  • Victim = attractive, guilty verdict = 77%, Unattractive victim = 55%
  • Attractive victims and defendants were rated positively on bipolar test.
  • No significant gender differences

Conclusions: Looks do matter.

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Penrod & Cutler

Aim: Examine several factors (confidence) jurors might consider when evaluating eye witness identification evidence

  • video tape mock roberry trial, undergrad students & experienced jurors
  • 10 IV (confidence), eyewiteness identification was ket to the trial, witness testified she was either 80% or 100% confident she had identified the robber.

Results: 100% confidence = 67% conviction  &  80% confidence = 60% conviction 

The more confidence the witness was the more likely the jury were to belive them.

Conclusion: Further studies by Cutler et al have shown the correlation between accuracy and confidence is very weak, but jurys do tend to belive it even when the judge advises them to be wary in the summing up,

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Ross et al

Aim: If use of protective shield & videotaped testimony increases guilty verdict. The effects of protective devices on jury reaction to testimony.

  • 300 psychology students, 3 conditions, Mock trial on actual script, 3 versions filmed by actors
  • (1) child gave evidence in open court, (2) From behind screen (3) Via video link
  • 2 hour film, childs father acused on child abuse, single touch in the bath, case focussed on whether it was inocent or sexual, The mother, Two expertwitnesses and the Child herself.
  • Judge warned not to imply guilt by the use of screen/ videotape. 


  • No significant difference between the 3 conditions, more females found defendant guilty then males
  • Same pattern emerged for credibility, no difference, however females rated defendant as less credible and child as more credible

Conclusions: Judges warning no disadvantage to defendant in the use of shields, 2nd study when tape was stoped imedietly afer child testified, guilty verdict was more likely in open court.

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Hastie et al

Argues that jury discussions go through the following stages:

Orientation period -

  • Relaxed & Open discussion
  • Set the agenda
  • Raise questions explore facts
  • Different opinions arise

Open Confrontation - 

  • Fierce debate
  • Focus on detail
  • Explore different Interpretations
  • Pressure on minority to conform
  • group decision estabilised

Reconcilliation -

Attempts to smooth over conflicts, tension released through humour

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Solomon Asch

Aim: How people would behave when given unambigous task, would they be influence by behaviour of others or stick to what they know to be right. How much conformity to majority influence

  • 123 American male Undergrads, shown series of lines (standard line & possible answers)
  • 7-9 groups of participant, only one naive rest confederates seated around table
  • 18 critical trial, first 2 = Right answer, 12 = Wrong answers, 4 = Right answers


  • Conformed 1/3 of the time
  • Important individual differences as no one conformed on all 
  • 25% didn't conform at all
  • 75% conformed atleast once, participants experience stress
  • confirming unambiguity, control trial conducted found mistakes 1% of the time

Conclusions: Given the answers were obviously incorrect Asch shows the impact of majority on an individual (strong tendency to conform to group pressure) however not same impact on everyone. Interviews found 3 three reasons why they gave wrong answers: Distortion of perception/ Judgement/Action.

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AIm: Examine minority influence, compare consistent and inconsistent minority influence on the view of the majority. 

  • All females (he thought they would be more intrested in colours)
  • Eye test conducted (no colour blindness), placed in groupr of 6/4 with 2 confederates
  • Shown 36 slides different shades of blue and asked to state the colour out loud
  • Use of filters varied colour intensity, 1st part = consistent (answered green) 2nd part = inconsistent (green 24 times & blue 12)
  • Control with no confederates

Results: Control group 0.25% said green, rest = blues. Inconsistent = 1.25% answered green, Consistent 8.24% answered green

Conclusions: Minorities can influence majorities, more effective with consistency. Consistency is important in minority as they speak with a single voice giving impressions they are convinced they are right appearing confident. 

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Gillis & Nafekh

Aims: Effect of recidivism rates of a community based employment programe

  • Content analysis of data (canada's offender management system) 23,526 released males
  • Matched pairs (gender, risk level, release year, sentence length, family, maritual relations
  • 2 groups compared on outcomes = employed prior release on special prog & umemployed.

Findings: Those on the employment programme were more likely to remain on conditional relase & less likely to return with new offence. 70% remained out compared to 55% of umeployed group.

Conclusions: Employment programes do work and do reduce the likelyhood of re offending.

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Aim: Investigate all unatural deaths occured in prison in England & Wales (1972-87)

  • Content analysis of prison department records
  • checklist included social, psychiatric, forensic histroy to analyse data
  • Groups recorded as sucide were compered to thoose recorded as not sucide


  • 442 unnatural deaths, 300 recorded sucide.. Most deaths occured at night
  • 142 recorded with variety of verdicts (mainly misadventure)
  • 52 conciously self inflicted injury (CSI) (mainly female) 

Conclusions - Increase in sucide & unnatural deaths is attributed to overcrowding and prisoners stress. However some do suffer from mental health issues and have substance addictions before they are convicted to prison.

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Haney & Zimbardo

 Part 1 - summarising changes over last 25 years

  • Ronald Reagans Republican, led to political pressure to put more criminals behind bars
  • Concept of rehabilitation was discredited (deserved to be punished
  • Rigid sentencing with no posibility of parole, new prisons built, Introduction of supermax cell
  • Black/white tv shows religious services, concrete bed/desk/stool, 4inch window, timed showers                                                                                                                   They argue USA is perpetuating discrimination agaisnt black & encouraging dispositional explanation of criminal behaviour, supermax cell another example of this is being used to catogorise some prisoners as problem prisoners. A Dispositional explanation sees cause of criminal behaviour being due to individuals personality opposed to situational explanation. (environment)

Part 2 - Suggestions for improvements

  • Prisoners used sparingly, they're psychologicall damaging. Prisons should take account of individual difference (reaction to confinment)
  • Rehabilitation needed to teach skills to cope (e.g anger management, drug, alcohol detox)
  • Assesments should include situational factors, reform need to come from outside
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Mair & May

Aim: Investigate experience of offenders on probation orders across England & Wales

  • 3229 Offenders, random from 22 probation offices, all age/offence represented
  • 40% drop out rate
  • Interviews (independant researchers) Closed questions, Likert scale, Multiple choice


  • 88% felt probation was useful
  • 60% thought they would recieve individual he,p
  • only 37% said it will stop them re-offending

Conclusions: Probation was seen as usefull to offenders but over a third of offenders went on to re offend. Other factors need to be considered such as socio economic status, uneployment, family, peers ETC.

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Sherman & Strang

Aim: Look at restoritive justice in practice and measure its effectiveness in terms of reoffending

  • Content analysis on 424 academic papers on restoritive justice
  • Only 36 on comparing re-offending rates for thoose part of restoritive justice programs and those not

Results: More effective when there is a personal victim, tend to work for violence and property

However no effective in all cases, clearest benifits are for victim reducing post traumatic shock syndrome & help them come to terms with the crime

Conclusions: Strong evidence to suggest it is effective in some cases, there is support for its increase use especially with young and first time offenders.

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Eberhart et al

Aim: Whether there's support for hypothesis: black offenders with stereotypically black features more likely to get death sentence then white

  • Analysis of database (death eligible cases in philidelphia
  • 44 cases black man killed white, photography shown to naiive raters
  • Rated facial features for stereotypical black features between 1- 11 (very sterotypical)
  • 51 Raters, 32 white, 15 Asian, 4 other


  • Stereotypically black offenders = 57.7% more likely to recieve death penalty
  • Second study when victim was black no significant difference suggesting black victims = less important.

Conclusions: This suggests that stereotypically looking black men are seen as some how more death worthy.

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Aim: If cognitive skill programmes were effective in lowering re offending rates for a sample of female Prisoners 

  • 180 female offenders given 1 of 2 types CBT: Enhanced thinking skills or Reasoning and Rehabilitation
  • Compared to 540 females prisoners who did not recieve therapy 
  • Re conviction rates were examined two years after release

Results: No significant differences were discovered between the groups. Although the reasoning and rehabilition group did slightly worse and re offended earlier.

Cann suggest the programmes were ineffetive:

  • Women offend for different reasons to men, may have cognitive deficits, drug abuse ...
  • Cognitive therapies have been developed with male prisoners therefor inappropriate for women
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Aim: Asses whether anger management programmes work with young male offenders

  • Natural experiment, 50 prisoners completed CALM, 37 assesed as suitable but had not taken the course
  • pisoners given cognitive behaviour interview, prison officers completed WBC, raiting 29 behaviours with scores of 0, 1, 2 for week before interview
  • prisoners completed self report on anger management with 53 questions  


  • Prisoner who completed CALM rated themself lower on anger questionaire & by prison officers
  • 92% showed improvements on at least one measure of aggression and anger.

Conclusions: In the short term the treatment seemed effective but there is no re offending data.

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Aim: Evaluate the effectiveness of ear accupuncture

  • 350 prisoners in 6 high security prisons recieved acupuntre & standard care program (FOCUS)
  • compared to control group just got FOCUS
  • 2 trained practitioners worked with 10-15 prisoners in relaxed setting, 5 accupunture points in ear
  • needles were inserted for 40 mins

ResultsPrisoners reported better sleep, improved relaxation, reduced nicotine craving

  • staff reported better communication with staff & family, improved attendance to class, calmer atmosphere, less use of healthcare facilities
  • 70% reduction in drug related incidents 
  • 41% reduction in serious incident reports
  • 42% reduction in positive drug test

Conclusions: Belives that there is enough evidence to expand delivery of accupunture throughout prison system, works best as a complimentary therapy alongside other programmes.

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