Forensic Psychology

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Cultural issues with defining crime
What is considered a crime in one culture may not be in another, e.g. laws on marriage
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Historical issues with defining crime
Definitions of crime change over time, e.g. laws on homosexuality
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Official statistics as a way of measuring crime
Figures based on the numbers of crimes that are reported and recorded by the police which are often used by the government to inform crime prevention strategies, HOWEVER they ignore the 'dark figure' of crime
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Victim surveys as a way of measuring crime
A questionnaire that asks a sample of people which crime have been committed against them over a fixed period of time and whether or not they have been reported to the police, HOWEVER they are more likely to include unreported and unrecorded crime
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Offender surveys as a way of measuring crime
A self-report meaure that requires people to record the number and types of crime they have committed over a specific period HOWEVER, some crimes are over or under reported
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The top-down approach- Offender profiling
Also known as 'criminal profiling', a behavioural and analytical tool that is intended to help investigators accurately predict and profile the characteristics of unknown criminals
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The top-down approach- The American approach
The FBI's Behavioural Science Unit drew upon data gathered from in-depth interviews with 36 sexually motivated serial killers including Ted Bundy and Charles Manson
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The top-down approach
Profilers start with a pre-established typology and work down in order to assign offenders to one of two categories based on witness accounts and evidence from the crime scene
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The top-down approach- Organised offender
An offender who shows evidence of planning, targets the victim and tends to be socially and sexually competent with higher than average intelligence
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The top-down approach- Disorganised offender
An offender who shows little evidence of planning, leaves clues and tends to be socially and sexually incompetent with lower than average intelligence
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The bottom-up approach
Profilers work up from evidence collected from the crime scene to develop hypotheses about the likely characteristics, motivations and social background of the offender
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The bottom-up approach: Investagative psychology
A form of bottom-up profiling that matches details from the crime scene with statistical analysis of typical offender behaviour patterns based on psychological theory
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The bottom-up approach: Geographical profiling
A form of bottom-up profiling based on the principle of spatial consistency: that an offender's operational base an possible future offences are revealed by the geographical location of their previous crimes
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The bottom-up approach: Geographical profiling - Canter's circle theory
Canter proposed to models of offender behaviour: the marauder and the commuter
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The bottom-up approach: The Marauder
Who operates in close proximity to their home base
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The bottom-up approach: The Commuter
Who is likely to have travelled a distance away from their usual residence
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Atavistic form: A historical approach to offending
Lombroso in 1876: Criminals are genetic throwbacks who cannot cope with the demands of civilised society and so commit crime
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Atavistic form: Characteristics
E.g. strong jaw, high cheekbones, asymmetric face, dark skin, extra toes
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Atavistic form: Lombroso's research
Examined over 4000 convicts, 40% of criminal acts related to atavistic form
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Genetic explanations: Twin studies
Christiansen: studied 87 MZ and 147 DZ pairs and found 33% concordance rates for criminality in MZ and 12% in DZ
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Genetic explanations: Candidate genes
MAOA and CDH13 have been implicated as the genetic basis of criminality in a study in Finland (Tihonen et al)
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Genetic explanations: Diathesis-stress model
A genetic predispostion to crime is triggered by a social or psychological stressor, e.g. dysfunctional environment
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Neural explanations: Prefrontal cortex
Raine et al: 11% less grey matter in the prefrontal cortex of criminals
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Neural explanations: Mirror neurons
Keyser et al: Found that only when criminals were asked to emphasise did their empathy reaction (controlled my mirror neurons) activate
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Card 2

Front

Definitions of crime change over time, e.g. laws on homosexuality

Back

Historical issues with defining crime

Card 3

Front

Figures based on the numbers of crimes that are reported and recorded by the police which are often used by the government to inform crime prevention strategies, HOWEVER they ignore the 'dark figure' of crime

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

A questionnaire that asks a sample of people which crime have been committed against them over a fixed period of time and whether or not they have been reported to the police, HOWEVER they are more likely to include unreported and unrecorded crime

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

A self-report meaure that requires people to record the number and types of crime they have committed over a specific period HOWEVER, some crimes are over or under reported

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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