Criminological Psychology

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Social Learning Theory

A01

  • Based on the principles of operant conditioning and observational learning where reinforcements and punishments explain how characteristics may be learned
  • Positive reinforcement explains how someone may recieve something for a good action which encourages repetition. For example, someone may recieve lots of peer attention for vandalising property and so repeats it for the same feeling of acknowledgement 
  • Negative reinforcement expains how the removal of somehing bad will cause the behaviour to be reproduced. For example, a criminal may steal in order to remove financial problems and so is likely to steal again
  • There are a series of stages involved in modelling - Bandura (1977) described that a criminal is likely to catch attention of a particular behaviour once observed, will retain this and reproduce to their maximum ability. Finally there must be a motivation for them to reproduce the behaviour
  • Observational learning also looks at punishment – if a criminal sees another getting sentenced to imprisonment, they are less likely to commit the crime themselves in order to prevent the same effect
  • There are also a series of factors that determine whether or not a model is to be imitated – vicarious consequences (punishment or reward), external motivation (those behaviours that are rewarded are most likely to be repeated) and self-reinforcement (the behaviour is likely to be repeated if it satisfies their internal needs, for example the feeling of excitement when shoplifting)
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Social Learning Theory

A02

  • There is supporting evidence from Bandura (1965) – found that children who were rewarded imitated significantly more aggressive behaviours
  • The theory fails to explain opportunistic crime – when it has not been observed first – can only apply to light crimes rather than murder or ****
  • On the other hand Charlton (2000) provides critical evidence – the introduction of TV has no negative effect on behaviour and did the reverse
  • The theory can be applied to rehabilitation of offenders – using good role models to reinforce appropriate behaviours
  • The theory doesn’t look at individual differences – how we may be affected socially or biologically
  • Studies often provide little evidence of long term exposure
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Self Fulfilling Prophecy

A01

  • Describes how when individuals are labelled as a criminal they begin to see themselves in this way as the label indicates and so become criminals
  • The theory involves various stages – first the label of a criminal takes place, resulting in the treatment which may be that they are avoided out of fear. Finally the individual reacts to this and ultimately becomes the expectation
  • Others in similar areas or family members are likely to also receive this label and so provides an explanation as to why more criminals can be found in the lower classes and poor areas
  • It initially begins with a stereotype which results in the prophecy coming true. For example, teachers may think a new boy is going to be a trouble maker and so come down hard on him – triggering him to believe he is different from the others and so acts badly
  • Usually takes place when a majority group sees a minority group as inferior
  • The term came from places of education especially schools where they studied how educational processes work and the effects labelling had on childrens future
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Self Fulfilling Prophecy

A02

  • There is supporting evidence from Jahoda (1954) – found that those born on a Wednesday were more likely to be convicted for crimes due to the label put on them as part of a belief in a Ghanaian group
  • The theory fails to explain how some may reject the label or simply why everyone isn’t a criminal as we all experience negative labels
  • There is critical research from Gibbs (1974) – found that the effects of going to court and exposure to negative expectations didn’t affect their behaviours
  • The theory can be applied to ASBO’s
  • Few studies have been conducted as the act of creating a label is unethical as there is no reverse – affects are permanent
  • Other factors may cause us to be criminals, these studies are just coincidences – arguable that biological factors have input
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Loftus & Palmer (1974)

A01

  • Aim: to investigate how information supplied after an event influences a witnesses memory
  • Procedure: there were 45 participants from the University of Washington
  • Each was shown 7 clips of traffic accidents lasting from 5-30 seconds long and following this they were asked to write an account of the accident and answer some specific questions
  • There were 5 conditions and the IV was manipulated by means of wording of the question - about how fast were the cars going when they smashed/collided/bumped/hit/contacted each other?
  • Findings: the DV was the speed estimates given - smashed gave the highest mean estimate of 40.8mph and contacted gave the lowest of 31.8
  • Conclusion: the results show that wording of the question caused a change in speed estimate with smashed indicating a higher estimate
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Loftus & Palmer (1974)

A02

  • As it was conducted in the form of a laboratory experiment there were high controls allowing for replication and therefore it was reliable
  • It found quantitative data which makes it more objective
  • The participants may not have been under the same emotional strain as in a real accident therefore giving an unreal representation
  • Only students were used and so it may not be generalisable 
  • The study has low ecological validity due to the artifical environment meaning that students were likely to act differently
  • There were no ethical concerns as all particpants were asked for concent to take part 
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Yuille & Cutshall (1986)

A01

  • Aim: to investigate the accuracy in recall of eyewitness in a real crime in response to leading questions
  • Background: in Vancoover, a theif entered a shop and tied up the owner in order to steal. While entering the get away vehicle the owner freed himself and took the registration number but was shot twice. He then shot the theif with 6 bullents and was killed. There were 21 witnesses
  • Procedure: 20 of the eyewitnesses were contacted 4-5 months later and 13 accepte to take part, all betwen 15-32 but only 3 were female
  • They were interviewed and given 2 leading questions - half were asked if they saw a broken headlight and a yellow panel and the other half if they saw the broken headlight and the broken panel
  • Findings: over 1000 details were found in comparison to the 650 found by police and half said theree was no broken headlight or yellow panel
  • Conclusion: unlike Loftus, it was concluded that eyewitnesses are reliable having found much more data 
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Yuille & Cutshall (1986)

A02

  • As it was a field study it utilised a real life incident meaning high validity which laboratory experiments don't have 
  • When counting details there were high controls meaning good reliability 
  • There are problems with generalisability as it was a single, unique and specific event
  • Qualitative data was turned to quantitative which could have created a bias in results
  • This can be applied to long and ongoing court cases in that accounts can have full trust in the absense of DNA
  • There are no ethical concerns as witnesses gave their concent to take part and knew what was being investigated
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Yarmey (2004)

A01

  • Aim: to look at effects of being part of an experiment which investigated eyewitness recall and photo identification
  • Procedure: 215 males and 375 females aged 18-70 and only white were randomly selected to take part in 6 conditions: being prepared for being an eyewitness or not, whether a disguise is present, whether retrieval instructions are enhanced or not, whether they are tested immediately or 4 hours later, the gender of witnesses and whether the target was present in the line up or not
  • Participants were approached by the target in public and asked to help look for lost jewllery or for directions and after 2 minutes a female researcher approached and asked them to take part in a study
  • They then immediately asked about identification of target or 4 hours later and were given a questionaire about the target and asked to identify through a set of 6 photos of which within half the target was present 
  • Findings: when the target was present in the line-up, 49% correctly identified her. When she wasnt present 62% said she wasn't in the line-up
  • Conclusion: it was concluded that 50% of the time a witness made a correct iddentification which shadows a doubt over whether eyewitness accounts should be accepted as part of an investigation
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Yarmey (2004)

A02

  • There was a range of ages and balance in gender making the study have good generalisability as it is a good representation of the target population
  • The controls allow for replication and so it is a reliable study - especially given the support from many other studies
  • The study was carried out in a natural environment of the participants and so there was no artificiality causing high ecological validity
  • Yuille & Cutshall (1986) found the opposite meaning not all findings into eyewitness recall support each other
  • The task of identifying the target lacks validity as there was more focus on the face of the target and in real life there would be a focus on build and body language
  • The recall focused on a situation where witnesses had met the target when actually in most real life incidences this isnt the case
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Token Economy

A01

  • Token economy is a programme based on the principles of operant condition - compromises giving a reward for good behaviours and ignoring unwanted behaviours
  • This is utilised in prisons and health institutes as part of rehabilitation where the staff and the criminals take part in the process and it is specific for each individuals targets, convictions and personalit type
  • It can be challenging to create a token that applies or is significant to each individual however can include rewards like providing money to call home and luxuries like gaming
  • Rewards are put in place for chosesn behaviours which are wanted to be replicated once outside and back in society. For example, staff treatment, reduction of fighting. There is a set schedule of reinforcement to decide how often it is to be given out for treatment to be effective
  • There are 8 steps: identifying the behaviour to be changed, selecting a token, ensuring rewards are significant, setting goals, explaining programme to those concerned, giving feedback, providing the reward and reviewing the programme
  • This programme works on a two way basis and so requires efforts of both staff and prisoners in order for it to be effective - often utilised in other institutions like schools due to ease of conducting
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Token Economy

A02

  • The rewards used must be consistent if the process is to be effective as extinction can occur and it is likely that these will not be replicated once back in society and so it is a short term treatment
  • The real problem lies at the fact that there is no single crime and so no single treatment and consequently some may resist and some may find it patronising - treats behaviours and not causes of peoples actions
  • It is a very cost effective method due to the lack of knowledge and the fact that no specialist or psychologist is needed
  • Sindelar et al (2007) - 120 cocaine abusers took part ina 12 week programme and when payouts were larger the abusers stayed clean for longer
  • Requires relations between guards and prisoners to create better atmosphere and so this shows its ease of use however, if relations are poor guards can use this to their advantage
  • Hobbs & Holt (1976) - found an increase in target behaviours after a 14 month programme in all 3 cottages by 25.6%, 34.1% and 21%
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Anger Management

A01

  • It is assumed that anger is a result of faulty mental processes and we get better by looking at rational ways of thinking. For example, blinding is a faulty thinking process where an individual cannot see beyond the issue.
  • CALM is an anger intervention programme which aims to reduce intensity, frequency and duration of offenders experiences of anger
  • Programmes are offered on a cocurse of 24 sessions arranged into 6 blocks designed to teach skills to those who have poor emotional control (expressive aggressionalists)
  • Within sessions there is role play and discussions which are utilised to enhance a positive manner and help those to learn to cope with other opinions
  • It requires the help of a qualifited psychologist and other treatments like relaxation and healthy eating are often used along side it 
  • It is based on cognative behavioural therapy where stategies like identifying triggers are used in order to control them
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Anger Management

A02

  • Anger management looks at causes of peoples anger unlike token economy which only focuses on the symptoms and so it is considered to have more long term effects
  • Law (1997) - looked at 4 anger management programmes and found prisoners were trying to control their anger to a greater extent after the programme
  • If the wrong individual begins the programme it could be used for their release - instrumental aggression- meaning it would also be ineffective as well as taken advantage of
  • It requires a qualified psychologist which is costly
  • The individual must be motivated and have the right skills in order for it to take affect - more demanding than token economy as they must take an active role
  • Token economy can be used by all prisoners whereas anger management can only be utilised by those with expressive anger (result of poor emotional control)
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Laboratory Experiment

A01

  • A laboratory experiment creates a situation where one or more variables are manipulated
  • The situation is an artificial and controlled environment which has high controls over extraneous, participant and situational variables
  • Cause and effect conclusions are drawn and it may be claimed that manipulation of the IV caused the DV
  • Generally measured through both qualitative and quantitative data
  • The IV is manipulated so that we can measure the resulting effect on the DV
  • Both participants and reseachers are therefore aware of the aims of the investigation
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Laboratory Experiment

A02

  • We can use these to measure accuracy of recall or exposure to crime scenes 
  • There is high reliability due to the high controls allowing for replication
  • There should be no subjectivity from experimentor intervention because of the high controls and so this makes it more similar to a real life crime situation
  • Low ecological validity because of the artificial environment - participants wont act in the same way as in a real life situation
  • Low experimental validity as participants are aware of experiment and so may conform to demand characteristics and perform accordingly
  • Generally ethical due to consent needed to perform in an artificial environment - all that must be considered is confidentiality and protection due to the many vulnerable participants or potential witnesses that may take part
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Field Experiment

A01

  • A field experiment takes place in a natural environment - real world situation
  • The IV is manipulated in order to find the resulting effect on the DV
  • As many variables are controlled as possible without altering the situation of the experiment
  • Conclusions are made on cause and effect from the resulting measure taken on the DV
  • Happens in participants own environments or set up environments which are likely to occur in a real life situation
  • Participants are not usually aware of their participation until after in order to disguise the aims
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Field Experiment

A02

  • Can be used in eyewitness testimony to look at effects of photo identification
  • Generally good reliablity due to controls in place however arent as reliable as laboratory experiments
  • High ecological validity due to being in the participants own environement - likely to act as they normally would
  • These situations can be difficult to replicate due to being the the field which reduces its reliability
  • Shouldnt be much subjectivity unless data must be interpreted in order to conclude results
  • In terms of ethics, fully informed consent isnt usually gained and the debrief takes place after it has taken place along with the right to withdraw their data. 
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Key Issue - Whether a Criminal is 'Born or Made'

A01

  • The debate about whether a criminal is born or made relates to the nature-nurture debate about how far criminal behaviour comes from genes or environments
  • In pscyhology this is an issue as it helps us to determine treatments for criminals. For example, if criminals were born, programmes such as token economy would be ineffective
  • The social learning theory and self fulfilling prophecy are theories which suggest how a criminal might be made and so side nurture - social interactions
  • It is difficult to study whether a criminal is made due to biology and genes - however there are some twin studies that provide evidence for the fact
  • The nurture debate has no real long term cure for criminality - it is never certain that anger management etc will correct behaviours. With the knowledge that criminals are born, genetic treatments could be put in place in order to reduce recidivism 
  • The debate attempts to help make society a place that is less threatened by anti-social and criminal behaviours through understanding the intentions of criminals
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Comments

Georgie_R

These look great, thanks!

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