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1. 543 Forensic Psychology Candidates should: - ã Be able to describe and evaluate the areas in the light of psychological theories, studies and evidence; ã Always…
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  • 1. 543 Forensic Psychology Candidates should: - • Be able to describe and evaluate the areas in the light of psychological theories, studies and evidence; • Always seek to apply psychological methods, perspectives and issues; • Actively seek to apply theory and evidence to the improvements of real-life events and situations; • Explore social, moral cultural and spiritual issues where applicable; • Consider ways in which the core areas of psychology (cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, physiological psychology, social psychology and the psychology of individual differences), studied in the AS course, can inform our understanding of forensic psychology. 1
  • 2. 543 1) Turning to Crime - What makes a criminal? The murder of Rhys Jones Sean Mercer, who lived at Good Shepherd Close, Croxteth, was 16 years old when he shot Rhys outside the Fir Tree pub in August 2007 as the schoolboy walked back to his home from football practice. Mercer was a member of a gang called the Croxteth Crew in Liverpool. When he fired the bullets that killed Rhys he was trying to shoot people who were in a different gang to him, the Norris Green Gang. Sean Mercer Who would you explain Sean Mercer’s criminality? What factors do we need to consider? It is never easy or straightforward to explain why people turn to crime. We must be careful to avoid reductionist (simplistic) or deterministic (criminal behaviour is outside the control of the individual) arguments. Upbringing, biology and cognition (thought processes) can all explain criminality; however the real reasons are far more complex. All these are factors that affect the chances of turning to crime; none by themselves are causal factors. It is the interaction between these factors and individual differences between people that influences whether or not people turn to crime. It must be remembered that everyone has free will; we choose whether or not to break the law. 2
  • 3. 543 Task: - In small groups discuss the following points 1) Some criminal behaviour is seen as more socially acceptable than others. Make a list of acceptable and unacceptable crimes: - 2) Could it be true that there would be no crime if no one ever had seen a crime being committed? 3) Being totally honest, what laws in our society do you think are worth breaking? 4) Have you ever broken those laws because you have learned to from your friends? 5) How have you defined a situation to feel it is worth breaking those rules? Give an example. 6) Do you feel the media has a role to play in criminality? 3
  • 4. 543 Upbringing Is it true that crime runs in families? Many would argue that the biggest influence on criminality is the family. If your family are criminals it is likely that you will also be a criminal. However, this is obviously a very deterministic explanation, as it ignores individual differences, some people do manage to buck the trend and turn their lives around. Conversely, some people from law abiding families go on to become criminals. Farrington (2006) The Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development Aim: - 1. To document the start, duration and end of offending behaviour from childhood and to adulthood in families. 2. To investigate the influence of life events; the risk and protective factors predicting offending and antisocial behaviour; the intergenerational transmission of offending and the influence of family background. Procedure: -A prospective longitudinal study of 411 boys aged 8 and 9 in 1953/4. The boys were taken from the registers of 6 state schools in East London and were predominately white working class; they came from 397 different families (14 brothers and five sets of twins). At age 48, when last interviewed 394 were still alive and 365 were interviewed (93%) Results: - (only a few selected results as this is a huge study!) • At age 48 of 404 individuals searched in criminal records, 161 had convictions. • The number of offenders and offences peaked at age 17. • Those who started criminal careers aged 10-13 were nearly all reconvicted (91%) and committed on average 9 crimes. Those who started aged 14-16 had an average of 6 crimes. These two groups (early offenders) accounted for 77% of all crime in the group (620 out of 808) • Self-report crimes indicate that 93% had committed at least one offence at some time in their lives. 4
  • 5. 543 • 7% were defined as chronic offenders and accounted for half of all the offences. On average, their conviction careers lasted from age 14 – 35. • Most of the chronic offenders shared childhood characteristics: - convicted before age 21, convicted parent, high daring, a delinquent sibling, young mother, low popularity, disrupted family and a large family size. • The proportion of men leading successful lives increased from 78% at age 32 to 88% at age 48. The most important finding was that those who only committed crime up to the age of 20 were no different in terms of success from those who had never been convicted of any crime. Conclusion: - Farrington concluded that offenders tend to be deviant in many areas of their lives. The most important risk factors for criminality in the family are: - poverty, impulsiveness, poor child-rearing and poor school performance. Hence, early intervention programmes for the under 10s could have significant impact in reducing offending. Evaluation: - 5
  • 6. 543 The influence of Peers Family is not the only influence on criminality. We often hear the phrase “Got in with a bad crowd”; our friendship groups can profoundly affect criminality especially during adolescence. Sutherland (1939) – Differential Association Hypothesis Sutherland presented his theory in the form of nine principles. Make notes under each one: - 1. Criminal behaviour is learnt. 2. Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication. 3. The principle part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal groups. 4. When criminal behaviour is learned, the learning includes the techniques of committing the crime, which are sometimes very complicated, sometimes very simple and the specific direction of motives, drives, rationalisations and attitudes. 5. The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favourable or unfavourable. 6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favourable to violation of law over definitions unfavourable to violation of law. 7. Differential associations (number of contacts with criminals over non-criminals) may vary in frequency, duration, priority and intensity. 6
  • 7. 543 8. The process of learning criminal behaviour by association with criminal and anti-criminal patterns involves all of the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning. (Behaviourism) 9. While criminal behaviour is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by those general needs and values, since non-criminal behaviour is an expression of the same needs and values. Summary: -Sutherland’s theory is based on two core assumptions: - 1. Deviance occurs when people define a certain human situation as an appropriate occasion for violating social norms or criminal laws. 2. Definitions of the situation are acquired through an individual’s history of past experience. Evaluation: - This theory provides a good explanation for certain types of violent crime, but cannot be applied to crimes committed by individuals acting alone. The theory is dated and underestimates the influence of the media (principle 3). 7
  • 8. 543 Poverty & Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods Socio-economic deprivation can be seen as a plausible explanation for the crime of theft; however, we still need to consider individual differences. Most poor people choose not to steal. Disadvantaged neighbourhoods are associated with gangs; however this links more clearly to the influence of peers on criminality. Wikstrom & Tafel (2003) - The Peterborough Youth Study Aim: - To investigate why young people offend. Procedure: - A cross-sectional study was carried out on nearly 2000 year 10 students (14-15). Data was collected from official records and the students were interviewed. Results: - • 44.8% of males and 30.6% of females had committed at least one crime (violence, vandalism, shoplifting, burglary and car theft) during the year 2000. • 9.8% of males and 3.8% of females have committed a serious crime of theft. • High-frequency offenders commit a wide range of crimes. • One in eight were reported to or caught by the police for their last offence. • Offenders are victimised more than non-offenders. Violent offenders are more likely to become victims of violence. • Offenders are more likely to abuse drink and/or drugs. Explanatory factors: - • Family social position • Individual characteristics • Social situation • Lifestyle • Community context 8
  • 9. 543 Conclusion: - Wikstrom & Tafel suggest three groups of adolescent offenders: - 1. Propensity Induced These youths have an enduring propensity to offend. It is only a small group, but is responsible for a disproportionate number of offences. The have a number of risk factors such as weak family and social bonds, low levels of self-control, anti-social values, low levels of shame and a high risk lifestyle. 2. Lifestyle Dependent This group are average in terms of social adjustment. They offend when they have high risk lifestyles, for example socialising with delinquent peers and using drugs or alcohol. 3. Situationally limited These are youths who may occasionally offend if they are exposed to high levels of situational risk. As their offending is very closely linked to the situation they find themselves in, they are unlikely to re- offend. Evaluation: - 9
  • 10. 543 Cognition Do criminals think differently from other people? They must be able to rationalise their own behaviour and decide the risks involved are worth the possible gains. The basic assumption here is that criminals must think in a fundamentally different way to law-abiding citizens. The big problem here is how do we ever really know how and what another person is thinking? Yochelson & Samenow (1976) – A study of thinking patterns in criminals Aims: - 1. To understand the make-up of the criminal personality. 2. To establish techniques that could be used to alter the personality disorders that produce crime. 3. To encourage an understanding of legal responsibility. 4. To establish techniques that can be effective in preventing criminal behaviour. Procedure: - A longitudinal study conducted over 14 years. 255 male participants from various backgrounds; black, white, those from the inner city, suburbs, wealthy, poor etc., were interviewed at various points over the years. The population was mainly those confined to a mental hospital who had been found guilty of a crime, but pleaded insanity and a roughly equal group of convicted prisoners, not confined to a mental institution. Most of the participants dropped out of the study, only 30 completed the programme of interviews. Findings: - Criminals….. • Are restless, dissatisfied and irritable • While at school, considered requests from their teachers and parents as impositions • Continually set themselves apart from others • Want to live a life of excitement, at any cost • Are habitually angry • Are lacking empathy • Feel under no obligation to anyone or anything 10
  • 11. 543 • Are poor at responsible decision-making, having pre-judged situations. Conclusions: - 52 thinking patterns were distinguished in the criminal personality. These were considered to be ‘errors’ in thinking. However, as there was no control group of non-criminals we cannot be certain that these traits are only found in criminals. Evaluation: - What is the problem with the sample? Issues with the research method, data collected etc. 11
  • 12. 543 Moral Development Morals are a set of norms and values, usually learnt from our parents about what is right and wrong. In the UK the age of criminal responsibility is 10; children over 10 are deemed to clearly know the difference between right and wrong. Other countries have different age limits; German 18, Scotland 8. Kohlberg (1963) was heavily influenced by the work of Piaget and believed that children’s cognition developed through stages. His research involved presenting groups of boys with moral dilemmas and then asking them questions about them. His most famous moral dilemma is below: - Discuss the questions in small groups. Heinz Dilemma Heinz’s wife was suffering from terminal cancer. In an effort to save her he Social to a chemist who had developed a cure which might help her. went Cognition Unfortunately, the chemist wanted much more money for his cure than Heinz could afford and refused to sell it for less. Even when Heinz Attribution is all about blame. Who cost of the drug, the chemistwe do borrowed enough money for half the or what do we blame when still something wrong.toIf we Having no other are to blame, that isdrug, Heinz refused to sell it him. realise that we means of getting the known as internal attribution, if we blame others, or outside factors, it is known as broke into the chemist’s laboratory and stole it. external attribution. An offender is considered on the round to • Should he have broken into the laboratory? Why? rehabilitation when they can take full responsibility for their actions, in • Should the chemist insist on the inflated price for his invention? other words come to an internal attribution. Does he have the right? • What should happen to Heinz? Gudjohnsson if Heinz did–not love his wife – does that change anything? • What & Bownes The attribution of blame and type of crime • What committed. if the dying person was a stranger? Should Heinz have stolen Kohlberg - drug anyway? the Moral Development in Children (1963) Aim: - To find evidence in support of a progression through stages of moral development. Procedure: - 58 working and middle class boys from Chicago aged 7, 10, 13, 16 were given a two hour interview with 10 dilemma (like the Heinz) to solve. Some of these boys were followed up at 3 yearly intervals and the study was repeated in 1969 in the UK, Mexico, Taiwan, USA and Yucatan. 12
  • 13. 543 Findings: - Younger boys tended to perform at stages 1 and 2, with older boys at stages 3 and 4. This pattern was consistent across different cultures. Level 1 Stage 1 Punishment & Obedience Pre-morality Orientation – Doing what is right because of fear of punishment Stage 2 Hedonistic Orientation – Doing what is right for personal gain, perhaps a reward Level 2 Stage 3 Interpersonal Concordance Conventional Morality Orientation – Doing what is right according to the majority Stage 4 Law & Order Orientation – Doing what is right because it is your duty and helps society. Laws must be obeyed for the common good. Level 3 Stage 5 Social Contract or Legalistic Post-conventional morality Orientation – Doing what is morally right even if it is against the law because the law is too restrictive. Stage 6 Universal Ethical Principles Orientation – Doing what is right because of our inner conscience which has absorbed the principles of justice, equality and sacredness of human life. Conclusions: - The evidence does support the idea of a stage theory. More recent research by Thornton & Reid (1982) with criminal samples suggests that criminals committing crime for financial gain show more immature reasoning than those committing violent crimes. 13
  • 14. 543 Evaluation: - What are the problems with Kolhberg’s sample? Are dilemmas an appropriate way of measuring morality? What are the strengths of Kohlberg’s research? Does anyone ever reach stage 6? 14
  • 15. 543 Social Cognition We all justify and explain our behaviours using either internal or external attributions. An internal attribution is when a person accepts full responsibility for their own behaviour and sees the cause as being within themselves. An external attribution is when a person sees the cause of their behaviour as being an external factor, e.g. ‘I was provoked, it’s his fault I hit him’, ‘I had a bad childhood’, ‘I’ve got no money, job etc.’ A criminal is considered rehabilitated when they can fully accept responsibility for their crime, in other words have an internal attribution, they accept their guilt. Gudjohnsson & Bownes (2002) – The attribution of blame and type of crime committed Aim: - To examine the relationship between the type of offence and the attributions offenders make about their criminal acts. Procedure: - 80 criminals who were serving sentences in Northern Ireland. 20 had committed violent offences, 40 sex offences and 20 crimes against property. The criminals were asked to fill out a 42-iten ‘Blame Attribution Inventory’ (GBAI). Findings: - Mean Scores on GBAI Type of Guilt Mental Element External Offence (Depression Attribution etc.) Violence 8.1 5.3 5.8 Sexual 12.7 5.7 2.4 Property 5.5 4.0 3.0 Explain these results in words: - 15
  • 16. 543 Conclusions: - Gudjohnsson & Bownes compared these findings to an earlier study carried out in England and found a high level of consistency for the way criminals attribute blame for their crimes. There was a higher level of external attribution for violent crimes in Northern Ireland, but this may have been because of the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland in the 1980s and early 1990s. Evaluation: - What are the strengths & weaknesses of this study? 16
  • 17. 543 Biology Is there any evidence that criminal behaviour has a biological cause? Cesare Lombroso's (1835-1909) theory of anthropological criminology essentially stated that criminality was inherited, and that someone quot;born criminalquot;' could be identified by physical defects, which confirmed them as a criminal. The pictures show the characteristics that Lombroso suggested criminals had. Although, this theory now seems ridiculous and outdated, it fitted in with the theories of the time. Remember, at around this time the concepts of Eugenics were gaining in popularity. Hilter’s ideas of breeding a master race would have included eliminating those with ‘weak criminal’ genes! Most modern theories of crime place far more emphasis on environmental factors. How could environmental factors explain some of the physical characteristics identified by Lombroso? Brain Dysfunction Adrian Raine of the University of Southern California has conducted research using PET scanning and found abnormalities in some parts of the brain in violent criminals. He has found that low physiological arousal, birth complications, fearlessness and increased body size are early markers for later aggressive behaviour. 17
  • 18. 543 Raine (2002) – Understanding the development of antisocial behaviour in children. Aim: - To make a multi-factor approach to understanding antisocial and aggressive behaviour in children. Procedure: - A meta-analysis of a selection of articles covering neuropsychological, neurological and brain-imaging studies as they relate to anti-social behaviour in children. Findings: - • A low resting hearty rate is a good predictor of an individual who will seek excitement to raise their arousal level, creating a fearless temperament. • The adolescent brain is still forming its final connections in the pre-frontal lobe right up until the early twenties. • Activity in the pre-frontal lobes of impulsive individuals, who are more likely to be antisocial and aggressive, is lower • Birth complications and poor parenting with physical abuse and malnutrition, smoking and drinking during pregnancy all add to the risk. (This is a strength of this research as it considers other factors, not just biology, so it is less reductionist than other studies) Conclusion: -Raine concludes that early intervention and pre
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