Forensic psychology

Disorganised type of offender
The crime scene is left with many clues like fingerprints, there's little evidence of engagement with the victim and the offender has lower intelligence and competence.
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Offender profiling
A method of working out the characteristics of an offender by examining the characteristics of the crime and crime scene.
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Organised offender
Commits a planned crime, engages in violent fantasies with the victim, highly intelligent and socially competent
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Top-down approach
An analysis of previous crimes creates a profile of a likely offender. This is used to narrow down suspects. Relies on the intuition and beliefs of the profiler.
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Bottom up approach
A data driven approach where statistical techniques are used to produce predictions about the likely characteristics of an offender.
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Geographical profiling
A form of bottom-up profiling based on the pattern shown by the location or locations of a series of crimes.
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Investigative psychology
A form of bottom-up profiling based on psychological theory.
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Atavistic form
An explanation for criminal behaviour, suggesting that certain individuals are born with a criminal personality and this innate personality is a throwback to earlier primate forms.
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The material in each cell of the body that acts like a set of switches to turn genes on or off.
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Genetic explanations
The likelihood of behaving in a particular way is determined by a person's genetic makeup i.e it is inherited from parents.
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neural explanations
Involve areas of the brain and nervous system and the action of neurotransmitters in controlling behaviour.
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Eysenck - outgoing people who enjoy risk and danger - nervous systems are underaroused
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Eysenck - negative outlook who get upset easily - lack of stability - overreactive fight or flight response
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Cognitive distortion
Thinking that has a bias so that what is perceived by a person doesn't match reality.
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Hostile attribution bias
When a person automatically attributes malicious intentions to another.
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Underplaying the consequence of an action to reduce negative emotions such as feeling guilty.
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Moral reasoning
Thinking in a consistent and logical way about right and wrong, with reference to socially agreed principles.
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Differential association theory
An explanation of offending behaviour in terms of learning theory , how interactions with others lead to the formation of attitude of crime as well as acquiring specific knowledge about how to commit crimes.
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Affectionless psychopathy
a behaviour disorder in which the individual has no ability to experience shame or guilt and lacks a social conscience. This means that they may find it 'easier' to commit crimes.
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Maternal deprivation
The loss of emotional care that is normally provided by a primary caregiver.
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Psychodynamic explanation
Any theory that emphasises an individual's change or development, especially when drive is the central concept . e.g. Freudian psychoanalysis
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Part of Freud's conception of the structure of the personality. Embodies our conscience and sense of right and wrong, as well as notions of ideal self. 3-6. Freud.
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A psychological state in which indivividuals have lowered levels of self-evaluation (e.g in a crowd) and decreased concerns about evaluation by others.
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When a person re-offends after receiving after receiving a form of punishment for previous offences.
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Behavioural modification
A therapeutic technique used to increase or decrease the frequencies of behaviour using operant conditioning.
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Operant conditioning
Learning through reinforcement or punishment. if a behaviour is followed by a desirable consequence, then that behaviour is more likely to occur again in future.
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Token economy
A form of therapy where desirable behaviours are encouraged by the use of selective reinforcements. Rewards (tokens) are secondary exchanged for primary reinforcers (food/privileges).
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Anger management
A form of CBT specific to changing the way a person manages their anger. Techniques include cognitive restructuring, skill acquisition and behavioural training.
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A combination of cognitive therapy (a way of changing maladaptive thoughts) and behavioural therapy (changing behaviour in response to these).
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Restorative justice
A method of reducing and atoning for offending behaviour through reconciliation between offender and victim as well as the wider community.
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Card 2


Offender profiling


A method of working out the characteristics of an offender by examining the characteristics of the crime and crime scene.

Card 3


Organised offender


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Card 4


Top-down approach


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Card 5


Bottom up approach


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