Criminal psychology-topic 2


Criminal Psychology

Collection and processing of forensic evidence.


Charlton- interviewed 13 fingerprint analysts and produced a description of their main motives. These were rewards (job satisfaction), hope and satisfaction related to catching criminals and solving crimes, case importance, feelings associated with finding matches, need for closure, and fear about making mistakes.

During the analysis of a crime scence, the ridge details of fingerprints of suspects are compared to ridge details of crime scene prints to see if they match. These marks are often problematic (poor quality etc). Therefore, two experts are used to verify findings.

Dror- found individual fingerprint examiners differed from one another, and themselves over time. One reason for this could be the cognitive factors that bias decision making. E.g. attention and visual searching. As clarify of the print decreases, the interpretations become more subjective/biased.

Considerable evidence exists to show context affects visual perception. University students were given fingerprints and had to figure out if they matched. They found a lower context crime e.g. theft made university students more likely to say ambiguous pairs matched. They found that the more emotive the crime context was, the more motivated people were to find a match.

Schiffer and Champod-looked at the effects of case context and pre exposure to the latent mark. They found that neither affected the analysis by forensic science students.

Research- Hall and Player.

Aim- to investigate whether the fingerprint expert were emotionally affected by the case details in the report, and if the emotional context would bias the judgement of expert analysts.

Sample- 70 fingerprint experts, Metropolitan PD, experience ranging from less than 3 month to over 30 years, 12 were managers (not


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