Forensic Psychology

OCR G543 review of Forensic Studies.

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Turning to crime - Cognition - Criminal Thinking p

Yochelson & Samenow aimed to find the cause of criminal behaviour, however acknowledged that participants may lie so changed the aim to examining criminal thinking patterns. 

Participants included the study was based on 255 male participants from a variety of backgrounds. 1/2 guilty but confined to mental hospital 1/2 just guilty.

Yochelson and Samenow conducted a series of interviews. 

According to Yochelson & Samenow, criminals...

  • are restless, dissatisfied and irratable
  • continually set themselves apart from others
  • want to live a life of excitement, at any cost
  • are habiually angry & lack empathy
  • are poor at decision making 

In 52 errors in thinking were distinguishable in the criminal personality. Many of these errors would be consideres part of ASPD diagnosis.

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Turning to crime - Cognition - Moral Development i

Kohlberg aimed to find evidence in support of a progression through stages of moral development.

The study was based on 58 boys from CHicago aged 7,10,13 & 16. However, the study was later expanded to include several other countries.

Each boy was given a two hour interview in which they were asked to solve 10 moral dilemas (e.g. the heinz dilema). Some boysn were followed up at three year interviews up to the age of 30 - 36 making this a longitudinal study.

Younger boys tended to perform at stages 1 and 2, with older boys at stages 3 and 4 suggesting support for development through the stages. These patterns were consistant in the cross-cultural studies however progression was slower in non-industrialised societies. No support however was found for stage 6 (Doing what is right because of your inner concience). 

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Turning to crime - Cognition - The attribution of

Gudjohnsson and Bownes aimed to examine the relationship between the type of offence and the attributions of offenders make about their criminal act and then cross validate findings on an earlier english sample. 

The method was to use the gudjohnsson and Sign 42-item Blame attribuion Inventory to measure the offenders type of offence and attribution of blame on the three dimensions: internal/external, guilt and mental element.

Participants: Northern Ireland - 20 violent offenders, 40 sex offenders & 20 propert offenders.

Those who ahd committed sexual offences showed the most remorse about their behaviour; this was followed by those who had committed a violent act against a person.Very little difference was found in the mental element for all offenders. With regard to external attribution, the highest scores were found for violent offenders and lowest for sex offenders. When comparing these results to the english ones the irish violent offenders showed lower guilt and higher external scores.

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Making a case - Interviewing witnesses - Recognisi

Bruce aimed to investigate the relative recognisability of internal and external features of a facial composite.

experiment 1: 30 staff and students from Stirling University 50:50 male/female. The stimuli was 10 photos of celebrities and 40 composites. 3 set of composites were used - external, internal and whole. Participants were tested individually on one the three conditions. They were asked to place each composite in front of the celebrity face in their own time until completed. Results showed that whole composites and external features were sorted similarly at 35 %, but internal composites only 19% correct.

Experiment 2: This experiment used a photo array with distractor faces making the task more difficult. the faces and foils were made easy (all very different) or hard (all very similar) to identify. The composites were then presented one at a time along the photo array and the participant had to pick out a celebrity face which matched the composite. As before the composites were either internal, external or whole. results showed that composites of external features were identified more easily than internal features., and this was consistent whether easy or hard.

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Making a case - Interviewing witnesses - Factors i

Loftus' aim was to provide support for the weapon focus effect when witnessing a crime. 

36 students at Washington Uni were split into 2 groups. Both shown a set of slides which shows a queue at a restaurant counter. In condition A the second in line pulls out a gun. in condition B the second in line pulls out a cheque. Apart form this the slides are identical. The participants completed a 20-item multiple choice questionnaire. The participants were also given a line up of 12 head-and-shoulder photos in a random sequence and asked to identify and rate their confidence on a scale of 1 - 6.

Answers from the questionnaire about the slides showed no significant difference between the two conditions. However there was higher correct identification in the cheque group but no difference in confidence. Eye fixation data showed more on gun than cheque.

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Making a case - Interviewing witnesses - The cogni

Fisher Aimed to test the cognitive interview in the field. 16 serving detectives from Florida participated. 

In the first phase of the experiment, detectives were asked to record a selection of their next interviews using the standard techniques they normally used. This took 4 months and 88 interviews were recorded mostly related to theft. The detectives were then divided into two groups and one group was trained in CI.

Training was after 4 60-minute sessions. Seven detectives completed the programme. Over the next 7 months further interviews were recorded by the 2 groups. The post-training interviews were analysed by a team at the university of California who were blind to the conditions.

results show that after training, the 7 trained detectives elicited 47% more information than before and 63% more than the untrained detectives.

Strong support was obtained for the effectiveness of CI. 

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Making a case - Interviewing Suspects - Detecting

Mann aimed to test police officers' ability to distinguish truths and lies during police interviews with suspects. 

Mann used 99 Kent police officers - 24 female - 75 male. They were asked to judge the truthfulness of people in real-life police interviews. They saw video clips of 14 suspects showing their head and torso. These clips were backed by other evidence which established whether the suspect was lying or telling the truth at any point. The 54 clips varied in length from 6 to 145 seconds. 

The police officers began by filling out a questionnaire about their experience in detecting lies. They watched the clips and after each one indicated whether they thought it was a lie or the truth and how confident they were in that decision. Finally they were asked to list the cues they used. 

The most frequently mentioned cue to detect lying was gaze, secondly movements; vagueness, contradictions in stories and fidgeting were also cues.

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Making a case - Interviewing Suspects - Interrogat

The Reid 'nine steps' of interrogation brief

Inbau developed an approach to interrogation which relied on presenting a mass of damaging facts to persuade criminals that they had no choice but to confess.

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Making a case - Interviewing Suspects - False Conf

Gudjohnsson aimed to document a case of false confession of a youth who was at the time distressed and susceptible to interrogative pressure.

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Making a case - Creating a profile - Top-down Typo

A content analysis using the psychometric method of multidimensional scaling was was applied to 100 cases to find out if the features hypothesised to belong to each typology would be consistently and distinctively different. The cases came from published accounts of serial killers in the USA and were cross-checked with court reports and officers where possible. The third crime committed by each serial killer in a series was analysed for the research. The crime classification Manuel was used to classify the crimes as disorganised/organised as far as was possible based on interviews.

Results showed that twice as many disorganised as organised crimes were identified, suggesting disorganised killers are more common or easier to find. Only two crime scene behaviours co-occurred in the organised typologies which were that the body was concealed and sexual activity occurred. Similarly, only sex acts occur more than 75% of disorganised cases.

Further smallest space analysis failed to separate the two variables.

Canter concludes that there is not a distinction between the two types of murderer, all crimes will have an organised aspect to them.

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Making a case - Creating a profile - Bottom-up app

Canter aimed to identify a behaviour pattern from similarities between offences. 

A content analysis of 66 sexual offences from various police forces committed by 27 offenders was conducted to find 33 offence variables that were clearly linked to a potential behaviour characteristic, e.g. variable 2 was ' surprise attack'/ It was possible to say yes or no to each variable. The data was subject to a smallest space analysis.

The following variables were found to be central to the 66 cases of sexual assault: vaginal intercourse, no reaction to the victim, impersonal language, surprise attack, victims clothing disturbed. 

This suggests a pattern of behaviour where the attack is impersonal and sudden and the victims response is irrelevant to the offender. 

Canter believes that the usefulness of this method is that all 5 aspects have now been shown to contribute to sexual offences, but in a different pattern for different individuals. This can be used to establish whether a series of attacks was committed by one or people.

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Making a case - Creating a profile - Case study -

The case of John Duffy.

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Reaching a verdict - Persuading a jury - Effect of

A laboratory experiment using 130 students from 2 universities. They were allocated to one of four conditions in roughly equal numbers - story order defence, story order prosecution, witness order defence, witness order prosecution.

Participants listened to a tape recording of the stimulus trial and then responded to written questions. they were told to reach a verdict and rate their own confidence on a 5-point scale.

In the prosecution case story order persuaded more jurors of guilt, this was increased if the defence presented evidence in witness order. If the positions are reversed and and the defence has the benefit of story order then the guilty rate drops to 31%.

The greatest confidence in verdict was those who had used story order condition.

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Reaching a verdict - Persuading a jury - The effec

Cutlers aim was to investigate whether hearing about psychological research from an expert which casts doubt on the accuracy of eye-witness testimony would affect a jurors decision making by making them more sceptical.

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Reaching a verdict - Persuading a jury - Effect of

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