Psychology Studies - Forensic Psychology

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Measuring Crime

FARRINGTON & DOWDS

  • analysed police crime records in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & Staffordshire
  • records were higher in Nottinghamshire
  • this was because Leicetershire & Staffordshire did not record minor crims, such as thefts of less than £10

THIS SHOWS THAT POLICE RECORDING RECORDS ARE INCONSISTENT AND ARE NOT A TRUE REFLECTION OF CRIME

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The Typology Approach

CANTER AT AL. 

  • studied the organised & disorganised classifications of offenders
  • analysed 100 murders by 100 serial killers
  • looked for organised & disorganised traits, using smallest space analysis
  • found organised characteristics
  • disorganised characteristics were rare and did not occur together in order to be considered as a classification

CHALLENGES THE TYPOLOGY APPROACH, STATING THAT ORGANISED CHARACTERISTICS ARE OBVIOUS 

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The Geographical Approach to Offender Profiling

LUNDRIGAN & CANTER

  • applied the geographical approach to the cases of 120 serial murders to test its validity
  • used smallest space analysis when observing the distance between the offender's home & where they had disposed of bodies

1. their home was geographically in the centre of the geographical pattern

2. each disposal site was in a different direction to the previous (more common when the offenders had travelled shorter distances to dispose)

SUGGESTS THAT GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION COULD BE HELPFUL WHEN DETERMINING THE OFFENDER IN CASES.

but if this method was continually used, wouldn't offenders just ensure they left no trace?

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The Typology Approach

ALISON ET AL.

  • reviewed the two consumptions within the typology approach

1. that offenders' behaviour is the same across their offences

2. that the behaviour of offenders is the same whilst offending and in everyday life

  • challenged the second assumption, introducing the Person X Situation Effect
  • this states that a person acts differently depending on the situation they find themselves in
  • which suggests that behaviour whilst offending and whilst not offending is different

THIS CHALLENGES THE TYPOLOGY APPROACH TO GENDER PROFILING, STATING IT LACKS VALIDITY

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Geographical Approaches to Offender Profiling

CANTER & GREGORY

  • give the distinguishment between defenders

MARAUDERS - those who commit crimes within their own neighbourhoods

COMMUTERS - those who travel out of their neighbourhoods to commit crime

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Geographical Approaches to Offender Profiling

BARTLET

  • introduced mental maps
  • these are a specific type of schema#
  • it is an organised set of spatial information
  • these are individual to each offender, meaning the mental maps can be used to infer where the offender may live, operate and work

THIS SHOWS THE USE OF GEOGRAPHICAL APPROACHES TO HELP PROFILE AN OFFENDER

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The Effectiveness of Offender Profiling

PINIZZOTTO

  • observed 192 cases that used offender profiling
  • only 15 of the cases had been able to use offender profiling to indentify the suspect

BARTOL

  • interviewed 152 police psychologists
  • found 70% were unsure of the use and effectiveness of offender profiling in identification of suspects

ALISON ET AL.

  • found that contradictory areas of the profiling of many individual offenders was accepted by police as an accurate profile
  • this would mean it was not being used correctly, leading to an incorrect result
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The Effectiveness of Offender Profiling

PINIZZOTTO & FINKEL

  • 5 groups of trained profilers, untrained detectives, students etc.
  • gave a solved murder and solved sex offence case
  • asked them to apply gender profiling
  • the trained profilers did better with the sex offence
  • the detectives did better with the murder case, despite being untrained in offender profiling

SUGGESTS THAT TRAINING PEOPLE WITHIN OFFENDER PROFILING HELPS WITH THE INDENTIFICATION OF OFFENDERS, SHOWING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF OFFENDER PROFILING

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Theories of Offending - Sheldon's Somatotype Theor

SHELDON

  • investigted the link between deliquency and mesopmorphic body shapes
  • HE HIMSELF looked at 200 pictures of delinquents & 200 non-delinquents
  • rated them on a scale of 1 - 7
  • 1 not mesopmorphic at all and 7 extremely mesomorphic
  • delinquent photos - 4.6 average rating
  • non-delinquent photos - 3.8 average rating

but what about researcher bias? Could he have given the results he gave simply in an attempt to support his theory? Are the average ratings different enough to give a significant conclusion?

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Biological Explanations of Offending

GROVE ET AL.

  • looked at 31 separated pairs of Mz twins
  • looked at the concordance rates for criminal behaviour
  • conducted double-blind experiment
  • researchers interviewed and looked for traits antisocial disorders
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Biological Explanations of Offending

MEDNICK ET AL.

  • used the social histories of over 14,000 children
  • compared the criminal convictions of boys who had been adopted with those of biological and then adoptive parents
  • 20% of males who had criminally convicted biological parents but non-criminal adoptive parents had criminal convictions.
  • 13.5% of those whose neither biological and adoptive parents had criminal convictions had them

THIS SUGGESTS AN INHERITANCE OF GENETICS THAT CAUSE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR.

but are the figures different enough to infer a significant influence of genes?

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Biological Explanations of Offending

JACOBS ET AL.

  • found an abnormal extra Y chromosome in 1.5% of prisoners
  • this was found in only 0.1% of the general population

THIS WOULD SUGGEST AN INFLUENCE OF CHROMOSOMES ON CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR

WITKIN ET AL.

  • refuted Jacobs' findings
  • found 12 men in 4,500 had an extra Y chromosome
  • none of these were criminals!

THIS CHALLENGES THE RELIABILITY OF JACOBS' THEORY. 

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Biological Explanations of Offending

RAINE ET AL.

  • observed APD sufferers & non-sufferers, using MRI scanning
  • compared their grey and white matter within the brain
  • and their autonomic responses in stressful situations
  • APD sufferers had 11% less grey matter in their pre-frontal cortex than non-sufferers
  • also showed a reduction in autonomic responses

SUGGESTS THERE IS A BRAIN DEFICIT LINKED TO APD, WHICH COULD ALSO MEAN A BRAIN DEFICIT IS LINKED TO CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR

but how can we establish cause or effect?

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Learning Theory Expalnations of Offending

FARRINGTON ET AL.

  • longitudinal study - the Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development
  • studied boys from a deprived area
  • looked at family backgrounds, criminality, poverty, poor parenting and low school acheivement
  • 41% had criminal convictions between 10-50

SHOWS THAT CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR DEVELOPS AROUND INAPPROPRIATE ROLE MODELS AND DYSFUNCTIONAL REWARD SYSTEMS

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Esyenck's Theory of the Criminal Personality

McGURK & McDOUGALL

  • investigated link between criminal behaviour & personality type
  • used the EPI & calculated the E & N scores
  • within 100 deliquents and 100 controls
  • the 100 deliquent group had high P,E & N scores

SHOWS A LINK BETWEEN PERSONALITY TYPE & CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR

but is this a cause of criminal behaviour or an effect?

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The Effectiveness of Custodial Sentencing

CULLEN & MINCHIN

  • studied prisoners after release
  • 57% reoffended within two years

SUGGESTS IMPRISONMENT IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE MEASURE TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM RATES

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The Effectiveness of Custodial Sentencing

DAVIES & RAYMOND

  • judicial review of custodial sentencing
  • showed custodial sentences do not deter others from committing the same crimes
  • claim they are given to please the public and do little to deter

SUGGESTS THEY ARE INEFFECTIVE AT DETERRENCE

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The Effectiveness of Custodial Sentencing

ZIMBARDO ET AL.

  • students acted as either 'prisoner' or 'guard'
  • prisoner uniforms were worn by the prisoners
  • guards wore guard uniforms
  • prisoners were dehumanised and were punished for 'bad behaviour'
  • they suffered with psychological issues even after finishing

SUGGESTS NEGATIVE PHSYCOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF IMPRISONMENT

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Alternatives to Custodial Sentencing

SHERMAN & STRANG

  • analysed 36 studies which used restorative justice
  • face to face meeting with victims and offenders/fnancial compensation for offenders
  • offenders produced smaller recidivism rate than custodial sentencing
  • victims had less PTS, less desire for revenge and more satisfaction than with custodial sentencing

THIS SUGGESTS THAT RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN IMPRISONMENT

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Alternatives to Custodial Sentencing

CASSIDY ET AL.

  • looked at effectiveness of electronic tagging
  • 12-16 year olds
  • some  electronically tagged after offending at least 7 times were analysed using interviews
  • 7% decrease in the breaching of bail conditions
  • interviewees stated it gave them an excuse to get out of cauing trouble
  • but many still broke their bail conditions

SUGGETS THAT ELECTRONIC TAGGING IS EFFECTIVE IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT NOT ALL

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Alternatives to Custodial Sentencing

CULLEN & SEDDON

  • looked at the modification of behaviour using token economy
  • used boys in a young offenders institution
  • rewarded them with token for good behaviour
  • these could be spent for sweets etc.
  • negative behaviours were not rewarded/reinforced
  • the young offenders began carrying out less negative behaviours

THIS SUGGESTS THAT OPERANT CONDITIONING CAN BE USED TO MODIFY ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

but would this work outside of a prison environment?

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Alternatives to Custodial Sentencing

COHEN & FILIPCZAK

  • compared 2 groups of young male prisoners
  • treatment group recieved token economy, being given tokens to exchange for family visits etc.
  • control group recieved no token economy
  • the treatment group showed more desirable behaviour
  • less likely to reoffend within the first 2 years of release from prison

SUGGESTS TOKEN ECONOMY IS AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO MODIFY ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

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Social Skills Training as a Treatment for Offender

LONG & SHERER

  • studied the effectiveness of SST young male offenders
  • they were either high-frequency or low-frequency offenders
  • given either:
  • 1. social skills training
  • 2. an unstructured discussion group
  • 3. a control group
  • SST more effective w/high-frequency offenders immediately & 2 weeks after

THIS SHOWS THAT SST CAN EB EFFECTIVE WITH SOME, BUT NOT ALL, TYPES OF OFFENDERS

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Anger Management as Treatment Programme

IRELAND

  • studied the effectiveness of A.M with young male offenders
  • angers scores before and after the treatment of A.M was compared with those who did not recieve the treatment
  • the comparison groups were matched by similarities, such as age
  • recorded using a self-report measure and a checklist of 29 problem behaviour
  • 92% improvement of group recieving treatment on one measure
  • 48% improvement of group recieving treatment on both measure

SHOWS A.M IS EFFECTIVE AT REDUCING ANGER & DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR

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