FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY

  • Created by: c.dorri
  • Created on: 31-10-18 11:15
Crime definition
An act committed in violation of the law where the consequence of conviction by a court is punishment, especially where the punishment is a serious one such as imprisonment.
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A cultural problem in defining crime
In the uk having more than one wife is a crime of bigamy. However, it is not a crime in cultures where polygamy is practised
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An age problem in defining crime
Someone who commits a crime must understand that the behaviour is unacceptable. The age of criminal responsibility varies between countries. In the uk its 10.
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A historical problem in defining crime
The definition of crime varies overtime. A parents right to hit their child was outlawed in 2004 with the introduction of the children act.
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3 ways of measuring crime
> Official statistics > victim survey > offender survey
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The first two strengths of the use of official statistics
Can be used by the government to develop crime prevention strategies and also helps to direct resources to those areas most in need. > There are few ethical issues with using official statistics as no direct contact is need with the criminals.
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The second two strengths of the use of official statistics
> It is easy and cheap to access and collect > The results are based on objective results which have been collected in a standardised fashion.
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A weakness of the use of official statistics
Unreliable in that it significantly underestimates the true extent of crime. This is due to the figures been used being subject to confounding variables.
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An example for the weakness of the use of official statistics
Policing priorities can distort official figures: One study in Nottinghamshire found that they were more likely than other regions to record thefts of under £10, compared to other regions. This explained an apparent ***** of thefts in the area.
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What is a victim survey?
Is a questionnaire that asks a sample of people which crimes have been committed against them over a fixed period of time and whether or not they have been reported to the police.
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The first strength of using victim surveys
> They are more likely to include details of crimes that were not reported to the police and so are thought to have a greater degree of accuracy than official statistics.
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The second strength of using victim surveys
> They also indicate which areas and social groups are most likely to be victims of crime.
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The third strength of using victim surveys
> Evidence supports that is is more accurate than official statistics. 2006/7 officials statistics suggested a 2% decrease in crime from the previous year. But victim crime surveys showed that its intact increased by 3%.
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Two weaknesses of using victim surveys
> It relies on respondents having accurate recall of the crimes they have been a victim of. > Telescoping: This occurs when a victim may misremember an event as happening in the past year when it did not and this may distort the figures
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What is an offender survey?
Is a self-report measure that requires people to record the number and types of crimes they have committed over a specific period of time.
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The first strength of the use of offender surveys
> It provides insight into how many people are responsible for certain offences.
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The second strength of the use of offender surveys
> it helps researchers to identify potential risk factors and develops ways to prevent a person from becoming an offender. For examples, through treatment programmes targeted at certain age groups that may show up as a risk.
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The first weakness of the use of offender surveys
> Responses may be unreliable due to offenders wanting to conceal some of the more serious crimes they have committed, or some criminals may over exaggerate their crimes.
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The second weakness of the use of offender surveys
> The targeted nature of the survey means that certain types of crimes are overrepresented. Where as middle class offences such as corporate crime and fraud are unlikely to be included, this means that the survey doesn't provide of full overview.
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What is offender profiling?
Is a behavioural and analytical tool that is intended to help investigators accurately predict and profile the characteristics of unknown criminals.
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How was the Top-down approach developed?
Through in-depth interviews with 36 sexually motivated serial killers. The FBI developed of template which classified murders or rapists as organised or disorganised.
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Define an organised offender
Is an offender who shows evidence of planning, targets the victim and tends to be socially and sexually competent with higher than average intelligence. Usually married and have children.
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Define a disorganised offender
Is an offender who shows little evidence of planning, leaves clues and tends to be socially and sexually in competent with lower than average intelligence. Body is still usually present at crime scene.
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Step 1 to how the FBI construct a profile
1. Data assimilation: the profiler reviews the evidence.
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Step 2 to how the FBI construct a profile
2. Crime sense classification: as either organised or disorganised
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Step 3 to how the FBI construct a profile
3. Crime reconstruction: hypotheses in terms of sequence of events, behaviour of the victim.
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Step 4 to how the FBI construct a profile
4. Profile generation: hypotheses related to the likely offender, eg. demographic background, physical characteristics and behaviour etc.
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The first weakness of the top-down approach
> The original sample which the approach was formed on only contained 36 killers in the USA. The small sample means that the approach has low population validity due to the sample not being representative of the whole population. (Also only USA)
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The second weakness of the top-down approach
it assumes that all offenders have the same behaviours. the approach assumes that all humans work in the same way, so the approach dismisses the idea that each individual criminal has their own set of behaviours and motives/ emotions. (Poor EV)
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The third weakness of the top-down approach
It only applies to particular crimes. It is not suited to more common offences, such as robbery, meaning that the police are only able to use this approach when certain crimes occur.
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What is the bottom-up approach?
Is where 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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What are two components of the bottom-up approach
> Investigative psychology > Geographical profiling
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What is investigative psychology?
Is 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.his establishes patterns of behaviour that develop into a database.
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What are the 3 components of investigative psychology?
> Interpersonal coherence > Significance of time and place > Forensic awareness
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What is Interpersonal Coherance?
The way in which an offender behaves at the scene.
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What is significance of time and place?
This may indicate where the offender is living.
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What is forensic awareness?
This focuses on those who have been the focus of police attention before. Their behaviour may denote how mindful they are of covering their tracks.
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What is geographical profiling?
It is based on the principle of spatial consistency; That an offenders operational base and possible future offences are revealed by the geographical location of their previous crimes
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What are the 4 main principles which influence geographical profiling?
1. Locatedness 2. Systematic crime location choice 3. Centrality ( circle their ) 4. Comparative case analysis
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What is Canter's circle theory?
The pattern of offending is likely to form a circle around their usual residence, and this becomes more apparent the more offences there are. Such spatial decision making can offer the investigative team insight into the nature of the offence.
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What is a marauder?
Someone who operates in close proximity to their home base
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What is a commuter?
Someone who is likely to have travelled a distance away from their usual residence.
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What is the first strength of the bottom-up approach?
There is evidence support for geographical profiling. Lundrigan and canter collated information on a 120 murder cases involving serial killers in the USA. Smallest space analysis revealed spatial consistency in the behaviour of the killer.
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What is the second strength of the bottom-up approach?
It can be applied to a wide range of offences. Techniques such as smallest space analyse and the principle of spatial consistency can be used in the investigation of crimes such as burglary as well as more serious offences such as murder. (HIgh EV)
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What is the third strength of the bottom-up approach?
It is more objective and scientific than the top-down approach, as it is uses more evidence and psychological theory, and is less driven by speculation. Objectivity means less participant bias.
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What are the two biological explanations of offender behaviour
> Atavistic form > Genetic and neural
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Atavistic form theory
Is a biological explanation which states that criminals are genetic throwbacks or a primitive sub-species ill-suited to conforming to the rules of modern society. Such individuals are distinguished by particular facial and cranial characteristics.
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What are some Atavistic features?
> criminals: strong,prominent jaw, high cheekbones, dark skin, extra toes/******* or fingers. > murderers: bloodshot eyes, curly hair and long ears. > Fraudster: thin and reedy lips
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How was the atavistic form created?
1. Lombroso examined the facial features and cranial features of hundreds of Italian convicts, both living and dead. He examines the skulls of 383 dead criminals and 3839 living ones. 2. He found that 40% of criminal acts could be accounted for.
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The first weakness of the use of the atavistic form for explaining offender behaviour
there has been contradictory evidence. Charles goring studies 3000 criminals and 3000 non-criminals and compared their physical and mental features. He concluded that there was no evidence that offenders are a distinct group with unusual features.
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The second weakness of the use of the atavistic form for explaining offender behaviour
He had poor control. Unlike Goring, Lombroso didnt compare his criminal sample with a non-criminal control group. This means that the significance that Lombroso saw might not have been apparent if he had used a control group to compare his findings.
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The third weakness of the use of the atavistic form for explaining offender behaviour
Another weakness of the atavistic form is the data is correlation data so is unable to state the facial and cranial features cause an individual to become a criminal. Facial and cranial features may be influenced by other factors, such as poverty.
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What is the genetic explanation of offender behaviour?
Genes consist of DNA strands. DNA produces instructions for general physical features of an organism and also specific physical features. These features may impact on psychological features. Also inheritance.
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What is the first twin study research for the genetic explanation of offender behaviour?
Clongier et al found that there was a 0.7 correlation between MZ twins and 0.4 for DZ twins in terms of their criminality vs their non criminality. This research suggests that there is a genetic predisposition in offending.
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What is the second twin study research for the genetic explanation of offender behaviour?
Raine: MZ 52% were both criminals and in DZ only 21% were both criminals.
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What is the candidate gene research for the genetic explanation of offender behaviour?
two genes may be associated with violent crime: MAOA and CDH13. Individuals with this high risk combination were 13 times more likely to have a history of violent behaviour.
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What is the neural explanation of offender behaviour
Amygdala is part of the limbic system - used for primal urges. Thought to be linked to emotion regulation in particular empathy. Frontal lobes are part of the neocortex and are thought to be linked to a failure to consider the consequences.
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The first weakness of the genetic and neural explanation to offender behaviour
> There are problems with using twin studies. May studies were poorly controlled and judgements related to zygosity were based on appearance rather than DNA testing.
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The second weakness of the genetic and neural explanation to offender behaviour
Most twins are reared in the same environment. This is a major confounding variable within these studies as the concordance rates for criminality rates may be due to shared learning experiences rather than genetics. (Lack IV)
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The third weakness of the genetic and neural explanation to offender behaviour
It is biologically reductionist. Criminality is complex and the genetic and neural explanation reduces offending behaviour to a genetic or neural level, which may be inappropriate and simplistic.
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Four psychological explanations of offender behaviour
> Eysenck's theory > Cognitive explanation > Psychodynamic explanation > Differential association theory
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What are the two types of nervous systems according to Eysenck?
Underactive and Overactive
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What is an underactive nervous system?
Extraverts have an underactive nervous system meaning they constantly seek attention, excitement and stimulation. They don't learn from there mistakes and they don't condition easily
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What is an overactive nervous system?
Neurotic individuals have an over active nervous system and tend to be nervous, jumpy and over-anxious and their general instability means their behaviour is often difficult to predict.
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What is the role of socialisation according to Eyesenck?
Eysenck believed that people who scored highly on extraversion and neuroticism had nervous systems that made it difficult to condition. Meaning that they couldn't respond to antisocial impulses and they became more likely to be antisocial.
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What is the criminal personality according to Eyesenck?
Is an individual who scores highly on measures of extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism and cannot easily be conditioned, is cold and unfeeling and is likely to engage in offending behaviour. Measured on the ESYENCK PERSONALITY INVENTORY.
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A strength of Eysenck's theory of offender behaviour
There is supporting evidence. Researchers compared 2070 male prisoners scores on the extraversion neuroticism scale, with 2422 males who hadn't committed a crime. Prisoners recorded higher scores on the E and N scale than the control did.
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The first weakness of Eysenck's theory of offender behaviour
it assumes that there is only one criminal type. It is limited as it suggests that all criminal behaviour can be explained in terms of their score on the extraversion and neuroticism scale. This a reductionist theory.
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The second weakness of Eysenck's theory of offender behaviour
it is culturally biased. Researchers looked into cultural differences in offender behaviour. They studied spanish and american offenders in a maximum security prison in new york. They found that the prisoners were less extravert than non-criminals.
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What is the cognitive explanation of offender behaviour?
Kohlberg looked at how peoples level of moral reasoning effects their criminal personality. Moral reasoning refers to the process by which an individual draws upon their own value system to determine whether an action is right or wrong.
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What is Kohlberg's first stage of moral development?
LEVEL 1 PRECONVENTIONAL: ages up to 9 years. - rules are obey to avoid punishment - rules are obeyed for personal gain
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What is Kohlberg's first stage of moral development?
LEVEL 2 CONVENTIONAL: adolescents and adults. - rules are obeyed for approval - rules are obeyed to maintain the social order
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What is Kohlberg's first stage of moral development?
LEVEL 3 POSTCONVENTIONAL: 0-15% of the over 20's - right and wrong determined by personal values, but can be over ridden by democratically agreed laws - individual establishes their own rules in accordance with their personal ethical principles.
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What were Kohlberg's assumptions on where criminals are in the stages of moral development?
Criminals do not progress from the pre-conventional level of moral reasoning. The seek to avoid punishment and gain rewards. They have child like reasoning.
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What was another trait that Kolhberg believed criminals posed?
Cognitive distortions; which are faulty, biased and irrational ways of thinking. That mean we perceive ourselves, other people and the world inaccurately and usually negatively.
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What are two examples of cognitive distortions?
> Hostile attribution bias > Minimisation
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What is hostile attribution bias?
The tendency to judge uncertain situations, or the actions of others, as aggressive and/or threatening when in reality they may not be.
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What is minimisation
A type of deception that involves downplaying the significance of an event or emotion. A common strategy when dealing with feelings of guilt.
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The strength of the cognitive explanation of offender behaviour
Research support - Palmer compared moral reasoning between 210 fem non-criminals, 122 male non-criminals and 126 criminals. His findings showed that offenders had less mature moral reasoning, supporting Kohlberg's predictions.
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The weakness of the cognitive explanation of offender behaviour
It is criticised for using dilemma scenarios in it's development. This means it is open to participant biasz
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

In the uk having more than one wife is a crime of bigamy. However, it is not a crime in cultures where polygamy is practised

Back

A cultural problem in defining crime

Card 3

Front

Someone who commits a crime must understand that the behaviour is unacceptable. The age of criminal responsibility varies between countries. In the uk its 10.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The definition of crime varies overtime. A parents right to hit their child was outlawed in 2004 with the introduction of the children act.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

> Official statistics > victim survey > offender survey

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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