Psychology OCR A2 studies


Kohlberg, Moral Development in Children

Aim - to find evidence in support of a progression through stages of moral development. Participants - 58 boys from Chicago, age range 7-16, some interviewed in 3 yearly interviews up until age 36Each boy was given a 2 hour interview with 10 dilemmas that needed solving - most common was the Heinz dilemmaYounger boys tend to perform at stages 1&2 (pre-morality) behave how they do because they are scared of punsihment or for own benefit. Older boys worked at levels 3&4 - too do what is 'right' according to the majority and because it is their duty (helps society)No support for stage 6 - inner conscious has absorbed principles of justice, equality and sacredness of life.  1969 - UK, USA, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, Yucatan. Similar results cross culturally. Recent replications with criminal samples. Suggest that criminals commiting crime for financial gain show more immature reasoning than say those commiting violent crime - suggests that Kohlberg's stages of development can apply to different types of crime. Research outlines 6 stages of moral development.

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Yochelson and Samenow, Criminal TPs

Aim - understand the make-up of the criminal mind, establish techniques that could be used to alter this, encourage understanding of the legal system, establish preventative techniques. 255 criminals, some were in mental hospital, convicted guilty but better suited to indefinite detention, roughly same amount convicte but hadn't made the same plea. A series of interviews were conducted over a period of several years. Programme consisted of a Freudian style therapy - find the root cause of the behaviour and treat it - criminals had to discover this and change their ways to face it. High attrition rate, only 30/255 completed the round of interviews, only 9/30 were seen to have genuinely changed by the standards set at the start. They found that criminals - lacked empathy, found requests by teachers at school an imposition, were habitually angry, had no obligations apart from to their own desires, were poor at responsible decision making, were restless, disatisfied and irrational, wanted excitement at any cost, and set themselves apart from others. Y&S acknowledged that criminals would change their answers to make them look more favourable to doctors, so changed their emphasis from finding a cause of criminal behaviour to examining CTP. They found 52 'errors' in the way criminals think, these are now part of the diagnosis of the modern day Antisocial Personality Disorder - very hard to treat. The errors are not unique to criminals, but displayed more in criminals than non criminals. No control group, cannot explicitly tell this is true. 

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Castellow, Witness appeal, Attractiveness

Aim - To find the effect of the attractiveness of a defendant on the jury. Lab experiment using a mock-trial format. 71 males and 74 females, studying psychology at East Carolina Uni. Participants were told they would be reading a sexual harrassment case and have to answer questions. Pictures of the defendant and victim were given and had been previously categorised on a scale of 1-9 for attractiveness. The DV was measured by the question 'Do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?' of sexual harrassment. The P's also had to answer 11 bi-polar scales in regard to the defendant such as nervous-calm, dull-exciting. Attractive defendant- guilty rate of 56%. Non-attractive defendant- guilty rate of 76%. Attractive victim- guilty rate 77%. Non-attractive victim- guilty rate 55%. No significant gender differences, both sexes = equally influenced by appearances.The research also show that attractive defendants were scored positively on other attributes. Findings came from a mock-trial, but when applied to a court room, appearances do make a difference. A defendants legal team advises them to make the most of their appearance - appear presentable etc, in court in the hope it will get them credit with the jury. 

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Ross, the use of screening&VT in court

Aim- To see if the use of screening/VT testimony in court increases the liklihood of a guilty verdict.(VERDICT). To investigate the effect of protective devices on jury reaction to testimony - credibility inflation or deflation. (CREDIBILITY). Mock-trial, based upon an actual court case that was re-enacted, mom, father, child and expert witness for each side, recorded by a film crew. 3 version were created - open court, child behind a screen, testimony through link. Case of alleged abuse, father was bathing child and touched her once, trying whether it was innocent or sexual. 300 college students, 150 male, 150 female, mainly white middle class, 100 students were assigned to each condition. Participants watched 1/3 two hour films of court case of aleged abuse. In the screen/VT conditions, the judge read out a script warning for the jury not to be influenced by the use of protective devices. Participants gave verdict after the case and rated the credibility of the witness and their story, also rated the defendant on a variety of dimension to his credibility. No significant different between conditions for guilty verdicts, all betwee 46 and 51%. However significance difference for guilty verdict gender wise, 58.6% Fagainst 38.6% males. Similar results for the credibility of defendant. Same pattern also for the credibility of the witness, no difference for conditions, but difference for gender. EXP 2: Tape was stopped straight after testimony. Ps in the open court cae were far more likely to convict, gender effect was not significant. Effect in the credibility of the witness was the same as before - no significant differences between conditions.

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Penrod & Cutler - Confidence and its afect

Aim - to examine several factors, including conifdence, that jurors might consider when evaluating eyewitness identification evidence. Used a mock-trial scenario, independent measures design. Participants were undergraduates, eligible and experienced jurors. viedotaped trial of robbery was presented, eyewitness identification played a key role. Witness testified that she was either 80% or 100% sure she had identified the robber. 9 other high/low level variables were introduced in the film. Participants experienced these on a random basis and were aksed to decide whether the robber was guilty or not after watching the film. The evidence is consistent in showing that confidence is a poor predictor of witness accuracy. Juror's trust in it is undiminished even though judges advise jurors to be wary. Out of the 9 other independent variables, confidence was the only one that had a significant effect under the condition of the mock trial. Cutler condicted a further 9 studies in the relation of confidence and accuracy. Across the studies, the correlation was 0.00-0.20 - very weak link between confidence and accuracy. 

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Mann, Interviewing Suspects, Detecting Lies

Aim - To investigate a police officer's ability to detect lies and truth in interviews with suspects.99 Kent police officers, male and female, mean age of 34.3. Field experiment. P's were asked to jduge truthfulness of of suspects during interviews. Could see their face and torso - expression was viewable. Real life situations, clips of 14 suspects, backed up with evidence which established whether the suspect was telling a lie or the truth. 54 clips, various lengths. PO's had to fill out a questionnaire on how much experience they had in detecting lies. They watched the clips and after indicated whether they thought it was a lie or the truth. Asked to list what cues they used in detecting lies, good lie detectors relied more on story cues than on stereotypical giveaways. Police officers detect lies above the levels of chance, but using cues that aren't diagnostic to deciet - supposedly there are some in the police manual. Higher level of accuracy than in other studies. Experience in interviewing correlated with accuracy. Difference between mean lie accuracy and mean truth accuracy wasn't high, lie - 66.2%, truth - 63.6%, both were significantly greater than chance. Most frequent cue to detect lies was gaze, 2nd was movements, other common ones were vagueness, contradiction and fidgeting.  

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Inabu, Interviewing suspects, Interrogation

Inbau, Reid '9 Steps' of interrogation. Approach to interrogation relied on presenting a mass of damaging facts to persuade criminals they had to confess. Felt that it was justifiable to use lies, tricks and deceit to get a confession. Techniques are described in a book that is the most widely used interrogation manual in the USA. Justifies psychological methods in that they are only being used after an interview on people who are presupposed to be guilty. Psychological techniques and deception are banned in the UK. Criticismis that it is likely ot get a false confession when used on the mentally ill or young. 

9 STEPS: 1)Direct confrontation - suspects are told directly that they have committed the offence. 2)Given the opportunity to shift the blame, sympathetic investigator - makes it easier to admit guilt. 3)Suspect isn't allowed to deny guilt, interruption to prevent this - no psychological advantage. 4)Ignore reasons for innocence - eventually suspects will give up trying. 5)Reinforce sincerity - intimacy. 6)Suspect should start to listen - infer as guilt. 7)Pose the 'alternative question', both options admit guilt, one is more socially favourable than the other. 8)Suspect needs to admit guilt in front of witnesses. 9)Document interrogation and get a signed confession which can't be retracted.

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Gudjohnsson, False Confessions

Aim- To document a case of false confession in a 17 year old youth who was distressed and susceptible to interrogative pressure. Case study. The boy was accused of murdering two elderly ladies, they had been mugged, sexually assaulted and then killed. He was arrested because of inconsistencies in his earlier account of his movements during a routine investigation and because he was spending more money than usual. No forensic evidence and wasn't allowed a solicitor.His first interview lasted 14 hours without breaks, he qas questioned by officers and began by denying that he had ever been near the scene but then agreed after being repeatedly accused of lying. He then retracted his statement infront of a duty solicitor the next day, then confessed again after being put under pressure in regard to his sexual relationships and inability to have these. There was then 3 further interviews. He was examined by psychiatrists in prison who found no signs of mental illness, although he did score 10 for suggestibility on the Gudjohnsson susceptibility scale making him abnormal in that respect. He had an IQ of 94. He was released after a year when another person pleaded guilty to the crimes. Shows that false confessions can happen in anybody, not only the mentally ill and young. 

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CALM, Anger Management Treatment Prog.

Cognitive Behavioural programme, aimed at prisoners who have problems managing their emotions which has played a role in their offending behaviour. Anger Management technique. 6 modules, 26 sessions. Used by the Prison Service. Used in 24 establshments and a further 14 probation areas. 

Module 1: Focuses on motivating the prisoner to join the scheme and want to change.

Module 2: Group members are introduced to the concept of physiological arousal and the relationship between this and performance. Taught to recongise these physiological changes and are taught anger-management techniques to control them. Practice these and receive feedback. 

Module 3: Course leaders help prisoners to understand how their irrational and hurtful causes contribute to their anger and aggression. Learn to recognise their irrational thinking/feeling, argue against it and replace it with more rational thinking - leads to more helpful and less disturbing feelings/behaviour.  

Module 4: Learn a number of skills to enable them to communicate better with others, especialy in response to provocation from others. Learn how to take responsibility for their actions, control their emotions and not blame others.  

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Module 5:  Prisoners apply the skills they've learnt so far to other emotions that could cause offending behaviour.

Module 6:  Pariticpants have to identify situations that are of highest risk to them in the future in terms of anger and aggression. Programme leaders then help to create relapse-prevention plans which incorporate skills learnt from the programme and outside skills. Module includes preparation for what to do in case of a relapse and exploration of 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' ways if coping with a relapse.

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Ireland, Do anger management courses work?

Aim - to assess whether anger-management works in a group of young male offenders. 50 prisoners who had completed such a course, 37 who had been assessed as suitable for one but hadn't been on one. Quasi-Experiment, 2 naturally occuring gorups. Measures were given to prisoners before and after they completed the programme. Control group also got them twice but with no intervention in between. Matched on: Response to cognitive behavioural interviews, Wing behavioural checklist - completed by prison officers rating 29 angry behaviours with scores of 0, 1 or 2 for a week before the interview, a self-report questionnaire on anger-management (AMA) with 53 items completed by prisoners themselves. In the short-term, the prisoners seemed to be helped by the programme, but the study was not longitudinal so there is no way of knowing whether there was re-conviction further down the line. 8% actually got worse - would require further investigation. 90% of the prisoners in the experimental group showed improvement in at least one measure. 48% on 2 measures, and 8% showed deterioration on both measures upon completing the course. Significant reduction in prison-winged based aggression in the experimental group but not in the control group. The experimental group scored lower on the self-report measures after completing the course - no difference in the control group.

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Raine, Anti-social and Aggressiveness in Children

Aim - to take a multifacotrial approach to understanding antisocial and aggressive behaviour in children with a biological focus. Review article. Review and summarise the findigns of nueropsychological, neurological and brain imaging studies and report the findings as they relate to anti-social behaviour through a child's development. Much new reasearch to sugges that the adolescent brain is still forming its final connections in the pre-frontal lobes up until the age of 20 (Blackmore and Choudhury 2006). Activity in pre-frontal lobes has been shown to be lower in impulsive individuals who are likely to be more anti-social and aggressive - may explain why offenidng behaviour peaks in adolescence. Draws together many different threads, low resting heart rate = good indicator of somebody who will seek excitement to raise their arousal levels.  Both complications, poor-parenting, physical abuse, malnutrition, smoking and drinking during pregnancy all add to the risk.  Concludes that early intervention and prevention may be an effective way of reversing biological deficits that predispose to anti-social and aggressive behaviour.

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