Class Notes (838,707)
Canada (511,056)
Psychology (3,977)
PSYC 3020 (61)
Dan Yarmey (47)

PSYC 3020 Psychology of Law.docx

21 Pages
Unlock Document

PSYC 3020
Dan Yarmey

PSYC 3020 Psychology of Law UNIT 1: AN INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY OF LAW Forensic Psychology: a field of psychology that deals with all aspects of human behaviour as it relates to the law and legal system - There is an ongoing debate about how forensic psychology should be defined - A narrow definition if forensic psychology would focus on aspects of the field, ignoring potentially important aspects - For ex. A narrow definition of forensic psychology might focus on clinical aspects of the field while ignoring the experimental research that many psychologists conduct - Many psychologists prefer to define discipline in this way - Broad definitions of forensic psychology are less restrictive than narrow - Most commonly cited examples of a broad definition of forensic psychology is proposed by Bartol and Bartol (2006) - They define the discipline as: a) The research endeavour that examines aspects of human behaviour directly related to the legal process b) The professional practice of psychology within, or in consultation with a legal system that embraces both civil and criminal law - Difference:  Narrow definition focuses on the application of psychology  Broad definition does not restrict forensic psychology to applied issues, it also focuses on the research required to inform applied practice The Forensic Psychologist as Clinician  Clinical Forensic Psychologists: concerned with mental health issues as they pertain to the legal system - This can include both research and practice in a variety of settings such as schools, prisons and hospitals - Ex. Clinical forensic psychologists are concerned with the assessment and treatment of persons with mental disorders within context of law - On research side, frequent task for the clinical forensic psychologist might involve validation of an assessment tool that has been developed to predict the risk of an offender being violent - On practical side, frequent task involves assessment of offender to assist the parole board in making an accurate determination of whether that offender is likely to pose a risk to community if released - Issues that clinical forensic psychologists are interested in include:  Divorce and child custody mediation  Determinations of criminal responsibility and fitness to stand trial  Expert testimony on questions of psychological nature  Personnel selection  Conducting critical incident stress debriefings with police officers  Designing/conducting treatment programs for offenders - Forensic Psychiatry: a field of medicine that deals with all aspects of human behaviour as it relates to the law or legal system - In Canada, clinical forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry are more similar than they are different it is often difficult to separate them clearly - Both clinical forensic psychologists and forensic psychiatrists are trained to assess/treat individuals experiencing mental health problems who come into contact with the law and you will see psychologists and psychiatrists involved in nearly every component of criminal justice system - They also engage in similar sorts of research - Most obvious difference is psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe mediation The Forensic Psychologist as Researcher  Experimental Forensic Psychologists: Psychologists who are concerned with the study of human behaviour as it relates to the law or legal system - Some examples of research issues that are of interest to this type of forensic psychologist are:  Examining the effectiveness of risk-assessment strategies  Determining what factors influence jury decision making  Developing and testing better ways to conduct eyewitness line-ups  Evaluating offender and victim treatment programs  Studying impact of questioning style on eyewitness memory recall  Examining effect of stress management interventions on police officers - Clinical forensic psychologists also differ from experimental psychologists in terms of training - Research in forensic psychology is eclectic and requires expertise in areas such as memory processing, decision making, organizational issues Forensic Psychologist as Legal Scholar - Third role for forensic psychologist is that of legal scholar - Two initiatives at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in BC are important to mention 1) SFU’s Psychology and Law Program established in 1991 - Program produces forensic psychologists who are more informed about the legal process and legal system than was the case previously 2) Mental Health, Law and Policy Institute (MHILPI) at SFU - Purpose is to promote interdisciplinary collaboration in research and training in areas related to mental health and policy - Brigham (1999) says forensic psychologists in role as legal scholars would most likely engage in scholarly analyses of mental health law and psychogically oriented legal movements, whereas their applied work most likely center around policy analysis and legislative consultation The Relationship Between Psychology and Law - Craig Haney (1980) suggests that there are 3 primary ways psychology and the law can relate to each other 1) Psychology and the Law - Psychology is viewed as a separate discipline to the law examining analysing various components of the law and the legal system from a psychological perspective - Asking questions such as “are eyewitnesses accurate?”, “Do certain interrogation techniques cause people to falsely confess?”, “Are judges fair in the way they hand down sentences?” “Is it possible to accurately predict whether an offender will be violent when released from prison” 2) Psychology in the Law - Psychology in the law involves the use of psychological knowledge in the legal system - Psychology in the law might consist of a police officer using his/her knowledge of psychology in an investigation - For ex. Officer may base his questioning strategy during an interrogation on his knowledge of various psychological principles that are known to be useful for extracting confessions 3) Psychology of the Law - It addresses questions such as, “What role should the police play in domestic disputes?” “Does the law reduce the amount of crime in our society?” “Why is it important to allow for discretionary decision making in the Canadian criminal justice system?” - The challenge is that to address these sorts of questions, asset of skills from multiple disciplines (criminology, sociology, and law) is important and sometimes crucial - New focus in North America on the role of forensic psychologist as legal scholar will no doubt do much to assist in this endeavour, and we are confident that in the future more research in the area of forensic psychology will focus on issues surrounding psychology of the law HISTORY OF FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY Early Research: Eyewitness Testimony/Suggestibility - In late nineteenth century, research in area of forensic psychology was taking place in both North America/Europe - Some of first experiments were those of James McKeen Cattell who developed the first psychology lab in Germany, was one of the major powerhouses of psychology in North America - Cattell conducted some of the First North American experiments looking at what would be called the psychology of eyewitness testimony - He would ask people to recall things they had witnessed in everyday lives (e.g. “in which direction do apple seeds point?”) - The French psychologist Alfred Binet conducted studies in which he showed that the testimony provided by children was susceptible to suggestive questioning techniques - Binet demonstrated that asking children to report everything they saw (free recall) resulted in most accurate answers and that highly misleading questions resulted in least accurate answers - William Stern also began conducting studies examining suggestibility of witnesses - Reality experiment that is commonly used by eyewitness researchers to study eyewitness recall/recognition can be in fact attributed to Stern - Participants are exposed to staged events and are then asked to recall information about event - Stern found that eyewitness testimony can be incorrect and was perhaps the first researcher to demonstrate a person’s level of emotional arousal can have an impact on accuracy of person’s testimony Early Court Cases in Europe - Psychologists in Europe also started to appear as expert witnesses in court - Albert von Schrenck Notzing was first expert witness to provide testimony in court on memory - Case involves three sexual murders - He could influence the testimony of witnesses by causing what he called retroactive memory falsification - This referred to a process where witnesses confuse actual memories of events with events describe by media - Julian Varendonck was called on to be an expert witness in a 1911 case involving murder of a young girl - Varendonck concluded that the testimony provided by children was likely to be inaccurate and that, children are very prone to aggression Advocates of Forensic Psychology in North America - Hugo Munsterberg is considered by many to be father of forensic psychology - He discussed how psychology could assist with issues involving eyewitness testimony, crime detection, false confessions, suggestibility, hypnotism, and crime prevention - He is best known for his controversial book “On the Witness Stand” - John Henry Wigmore is known for his Treatise on Evidence, which is a critical examination of laws of evidence - Wigmore is known for his ruthless critique of Munsterberg’s book - Wigmore criticized Munsterberg for lack of relevant research publications to back his claims and for the lack of applied research in the field of forensic psychology as a whole Forensic Psychology in Other Areas of Criminal Justice System - Biological Theories of Crime  Sheldon’s constitutional theory  Proposed crime is a product of an individual’s body build or somatotype which is linked to an individual’s temperament  Jacobs, Brunton, Melville, Brittan and McClemont’s chromosomal theory  Proposed that chromosomal irregularity is linked to criminal behaviour  Mark and Ervins (1970) dyscontrol theory  Proposed that lesions in temporal lobe and limbic system result in electrical disorganization within the brain which can lead to a dyscontrol syndrome - Sociological Theories of Crime  Merton’s strain theory  Merton proposed that crime is a product of strain felt by certain individuals in society who have access to legitimate means such as education, achieving goals of success  Sutherlands differential association theory  Proposed that criminal behaviour is learned through social interactions in which people are exposed to values that can be either favourable or unfavourable to violations of the law  Becker’s labelling theory  Proposed that deviance is not inherent to an act but a label attached to an act by society - Psychological Theories of Crime  Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation  Argued that the early separation of children from their mothers prevents effective social development from taking place  Eysenck’s biosocial theory of crime  Believed that individuals (e.g. extraverts and neurotics) are born with cortical and autonomic nervous systems that influence their ability to learn from consequences of their behaviour especially the negative consequences experienced in childhood as part of the socialization and conscience building process  Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime  Argue that low self-control internalized early in life in the presence of criminal opportunity explains an individual’s propensity to commit crimes Landmark Court Cases in the United States - Number of recent US court cases are important in the history of forensic psychology - Best known case is of Brown v.Board of Education - Case challenged constitutionality of segregated public schools - Kenneth Clark, an African American psychologist taught psychology at City College in NYC and studied how prejudice and discrimination affected personality development - Last court case we discuss here is Jenkins v. United States (1962) - Trial involved charges of breaking and entering, assault and intent to rape with defendant, Jenkins, pleading not guilty by reason of insanity - Conclusion of trail, judge instructed jury to disregard testimony from psychologists because psychologists were not qualified to give expert testimony on issue of mental disease Signs of a Legitimate Field of Psychology - Forensic psychology now appears to have many of the markings of an established discipline - Schuller and Ogloff (2001) says: 1) A growing number of high quality textbooks in area provide the opportunity to teach students about forensic psychology 2) Large number of academic journals are dedicated to various aspects of field and mainstream psychology journals are beginning to publish research from forensic domain at a regular rate 3) Number of professional associations have now been developed to represent interest of forensic psychologists and to promote research and practice in the area - In 2001, American Psychological Association (APA) recognized forensic psychology as a specialty discipline MODERN DAY DEBATES: PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERTS IN COURT - Varity of topics forensic psychologists testify about is very broad indeed, including competency to stand trial custody issues malingering and deception, accuracy of eyewitness identification, effects of crime on victims, and assessment of dangerousness The Functions of Expert Witness  Expert Witness: witness who provides court with information that assists the court in understanding an issue of relevance to a case - These opinions and inferences must always fall within limits of expert witnesses area of expertise, which they get through specialized training and experience and the testimony must be deemed reliable and helpful to the court - It is important to point out that when providing testimony to courts, the expert witness is supposed to be there as an educator to the judge and jury, not as an advocate for defence or the prosecution Challenges of Providing Expert Testimony - Difficulties arise because of inherent differences that exist between fields of psychology and law - According to Hess, psychology and law differ along at least seven different dimensions: 1. Knowledge: Knowledge gain in psychology is accomplished through cumulative research. In law, knowledge comes through legal precedent, logical thinking and case law 2. Methodology: Methodological approaches in psychology are nomothetic, goal is to uncover broad patterns and trends through use of controlled experiments and statistical methods 3. Epistemology: psychologists assume that it is possible to uncover hidden truths if appropriate experiments are conducted, truth in law is defined subjectively 4. Criteria: Psychologists are cautious, to accept hypothesis results must be replicated and conservative statistical criteria are used. Law decides what is true based on single case and criteria that are often more lenient 5. Nature of Law: goal of psychology is to describe how people behave, law it tells how people should behave 6. Principles: Good psychologists consider alternative explanations for their findings, good lawyers convince judge and jury that their explanation of findings is only correct explanation 7. Latitude: Behaviour of psychologist when acting as an expert witness is limited by court, law imposes fewer restrictions on behaviour of lawyers Criteria for Accepting Expert Testimony - Court indicated that for novel scientific evidence to be admissible in court, it must be established that procedures used to arrive testimony is accepted in scientific community - Court stated that “while courts will go a long way in admitting expert testimony decided from a well-recognized scientific principle or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be sufficiently established established to have gained acceptance in field in which it belongs  General Acceptance Test: a standard for accepting expert testimony, which states that expert testimony will be admissible in court if the basis for testimony is accepted within the relevant scientific community - The US Supreme Court stated that, for scientific evidence to be admitted into court, the must: 1) Be provided by a qualified expert 2) Be relevant 3) Be reliable  Daubert Criteria: a standard for accepting expert testimony, which states that scientific evidence is valid if the research on which it is based has been peer reviewed is testable has recognized rate of error, and adheres to professional standards - Similar criteria are being used in Canada - Rules of admissibility in Canada were laid out in R.v. Mohan (1994) - Mohan was a paediatrician charged with sexually assaulting several of his teenage female patients - The trial judge ruled that testimony was inadmissible and on appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada, the court agreed and established standard for admitting expert testimony in Canada  Mohan Criteria: a standard for accepting expert testimony which states that expert testimony will be admissible in court if the testimony is relevant, is necessary for assisting the trier of fact, does not violate any exclusionary rules and is provided by a qualified expert - These criteria make the judge’s job of deciding when to admit expert testimony easier, they do not eliminate all possible problems - These problems occur because the criteria are highly subjective and rely on discretion of judge - Ex. In the Case Study “You be the Judge” highlights the need not only to conduct high quality research in area of forensic psychology but also to get that research into the hands of legal community UNIT 2 CHAPTER 11 “PSYCHOPATHS” pp.288-307 - Psychopaths have been called interspecies predators - Sick vulnerable victims to use for own benefit - They prey on others - Psychopathy: personality disorder defined by collection of interpersonal affective and behavioural characteristics - Psychopaths are dominant, selfish, manipulative individuals who engage in impulsive and antisocial acts and feel no remorse/shame for behaviour that has a negative impact on others ASSESSMENT OF PSYCHOPATHY - Hervey Cleckley, a psychiatrist in Georgia, provided one of the most comprehensive clinical descriptions of psychopath in book The Mask of Sanity - Described 16 features, ranging from positive features (e.g. good intelligence, social charm, and absence of delusions and anxiety), emotional- interpersonal features (e.g. lack of remorse, untruthfulness, unresponsiveness in interpersonal relations0 and behavioural problems (e.g. inadequately motivated antisocial behaviour, unreliability failure to follow any life plan) - Most popular method of assessing psychopathy in adults is Hare Psychopathy Checklist- Revised - Developed by Robert Hare - The PCL-R is a 20 item rating scale that uses a semi structured interview and review of file information to assess interpersonal and behavioural features of psychopathy - Items are summed to obtain total score ranging from 0-40 - Researchers have subdivided the PCL-R into 3 groups: 1) High PCL-R group- psychopaths 2) Middle scoring group- mixed group 3) Low scoring group- no psychopaths - Initial factor analyses of PCL-R indicated that is consisted of two correlated factors 1) Reflects combination of interpersonal and affective traits 2) Combination of unstable and socially deviant traits - Factor 1 is more strongly related to predatory violence, emotional processing deficits, poor treatment response - Factor 2 is strongly related to reoffending, substance abuse, lack of education and poor family background - Some researchers have argued for three-factor model of psychopathy… these 3 factors are: 1) Arrogant and deceitful interpersonal style 2) Deficient affective experience 3) Impulsive and irresponsible behavioural style - Considerable amount of research supports use of PCL-R in range of samples, including male and female offenders, forensic psychiatric patients, sexual offenders, and substance abusers - Self-report questionnaires for assessing psychopaths have number of advantages too 1) Able to measure those attitudes and emotions that are not observed by others 2) Easy to administer quick to score and inexpensive 3) Not necessary to worry about interrator reliability since only individual is completing score 4) Although there are concerns about psychopaths lying on self-report measures, some questionnaires include measure of response styles to detect faking good or faking bad - DISADVANTAGES 1) Psychopaths often lie 2) Psychopaths may not have sufficient insight to accurately assess their traits 3) It will be likely to difficult for psychopaths to report specific emotions if they have not experienced these emotions - Two most widely used self-report scales are the psychopathic personality inventory and self-report psychopathy scale - PPI-R is 154 item inventory designed to measure psychopathic traits in offender and community samples - Consists of 8 content scales, two validity scales and measures two factors - SRP is a 64 item self-report measure designed to assess psychopathic traits in community samples - Consists of four factors: erratic lifestyle, callous affect, interpersonal manipulation and criminal tendencies PSYCHOPATHY AND ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER - Antisocial personality disorder: personality disorder characterized by history of behaviour in which rights of others are violated - After age 15, person diagnosed with APD would need to display three or more of these symptoms:  Repeatedly engaging in criminal acts  Deceitfulness  Impulsivity  Irritability  Reckless behaviours  Irresponsibility  Lack of remorse - Sociopathy: a label used to describe person whose psychopathic traits are assumed to be due to environmental factors - Term sociopath was coined in 1930 by Partridge to describe those people who had problems with or refused to adapt to society - Lykken (2006) proposed that sociopaths manifest similar traits as psychopaths but develop these traits as result of poor parenting and other environmental factors, whereas psychopaths are predisposed to temperament that makes them difficult to socialize FORENSIC USE OF PSYCHOPATHY - Several studies have surveyed use of expert testimony regarding assessment of psychopathy, sociopathy or APD in criminal and civil court proceedings - In death- penalty hearings in the US and dangerous offender proceedings in Canada, a diagnosis of psychopathy, sociopathy and APD is an aggravating factor for the death penalty and considered to be associated with higher risk of violent recidivism and lack of treatment responsively in dangerous offender hearings PYCHOPATHY AND VIOLENCE - Characteristics that define psychopathy are compatible with criminal lifestyle and lack of concern for societal norms - Characteristics that help to inhibit aggression and violence, such as empathy, close emotional bonds and internal inhibitions are lacking or ineffective in psychopaths - Psychopathy is significant because of its association with criminal behaviour and violence - Psychopaths are high density, versatile offenders - Crimes of psychopaths run the gamut from minor theft and fraud to cold blooded - Psychopathic violence is more likely to be predatory in nature, motivated by readily identifiable goals and carried out in callous, calculated manner without emotional context that characterizes violence of other offenders - Study by Williamson, Hare and Wong (1987) found that when no psychopaths commit violence, they are likely to target people they know and their violent behaviour is likely to occur in context of strong emotional arousal - Psychopaths are more likely to target strangers and be motivated by revenger or material gain - Psychopaths use of instrumental motives extends to homicide - Woodworth and Porter (2002) investigated association between psychopathy and nature of homicide committed by 135 Canadian offenders - Concluded that psychopaths engage in cold blooded homicides much more often than no psychopaths PSYCHOPATHS IN THE COMMUNITY - Much of the research in community samples has used the Hare Psychopathy Checklist - Hare notes, “we are far more likely to lose our life savings to an oily tongued swindler than our lives to a steely-eyed killer - Through interviews with 20 female victims, Kirkman (2005) aimed to identify behavioural and personality characteristics of no incarcerated psychopathic males who may or may not have abused their partners - 8 characteristics of male psychopaths in heterosexual relationships were extracted from the interviews: 1) Talking victim into victimization 2) Lying 3) Economic abuse 4) Emotional abuse/psychological torture 5) Multiple infidelities 6) Isolation and coercion 7) Assault 8) Mistreatment of children PSYCHOPATHY AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE - Psychopathy is only weakly associated with sexual offences - In a large sample of offenders, Porter, Fair-weather et al. (2000) found that psychopaths engaged in significantly more violent offences than no psychopaths but engaged in fewer sexual offences - One potential explanation for this finding is the high rate of sexual offending found in child molesters, who tend not to be psychopaths - Offenders who commit sexual homicides (homicides that have a sexual component or in which sexual arousal occurs) are the most psychopathic, followed by mixed sexual offenders, followed by rapists, with lowest psychopathy scores among child molesters - Brown and Forth (1997) examined specific motivations for psychopathic and nonpsychopathic rapists - Massachusetts Treatment Center Rapist Typology (MTC:R3) identifies different types of rapist based on motivation and level of social competence - Nonpsychopaths were more likely to report feelings of anxiety or alienation in the 24 hour period leading up to rape, whereas psychopaths reported positive emotions - In recent study of 100 male German forensic patients, Mokros, Osterheider, Hucker AND Nitschke (2010) studied association between psychopathy and sexual sadism - Sexual sadism: people who are sexually arouse by fantasies, urges, acts of inflicting pain, suffering or humiliation on another human - PCL-R total scores, affective deficits facet and antisocial faces were all related to sexual sadism PSYCHOPATHY AND TREATMENT - Best known study of treatment outcome in psychopaths was a retrospective study by Rice, Harris and Cormier (1992) - They investigated effects of an intensive therapeutic treatment program on violent psychopathic and non-psychopathic forensic psychiatric patients - Using a matched group design, forensic patients who spent two years in treatment program were paired with forensic patients who were assessed but not admitted to the program - All patients were scored on the PCL-R and were divided into psychopaths and nonps psychopaths - Patients followed for an average of ten years after release - Some clinicians concluded that we should not bother to treat psychopaths, since treatment will only make them worse “this was the wrong program for serious psychopathic offenders.” - Caution is required in interpreting results of studies such as that carried out by Rice et al. (1992) - Reasons why treatment may not work include use of an inappropriate treatment and programs in implementing the treatment, such as inadequate training of those administering it or lack of support from management - A more promising treatment outcome study has been reported by Olver and Wong (2009) - These researchers found that although psychopathic sex offenders who dropped out of treatment were more likely to violently reoffend, those psychopathic sex offenders who stayed in treatment shoed positive treatment gains and were less likely to violently reoffend PSYCHOPATHY IN YOUTH - Assumption is that psychopathy does not suddenly appear in adulthood but instead gradually develops from various environmental and biological antecedents - Two assessment instruments have been adapted from the PCL-R: one for use with children and the other for adolescents - Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD): designed for assessing precursors of psychopathic traits in children - Child is assigned a rating on various questions by parents/teachers - Frick, Bodin and Barry (2000) found that APSD has a 3 dimensional structure consisting of a callous-unemotional factor, an impulsivity factor and a narcissism factor - Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV): rating scale designed to measure psychopathic traits and behaviours in male and female adolescents between ages 12-18 - Reservations have been raised concerning appropriateness of applying construct of psychopathy to children and adolescents - One concern has been use of label psychopath, label that has any negative connotations for pubic and for mental health and criminal justice professionals - Psychopathic traits in youth may not be as stable as they are in adults - Only longitudinal study to assess psychopathic traits in youth and to reassess for psychopathy in adulthood were recently completed by Lynam, Caspi, Moffitt, Loeber and Southamer Loeber (2007) - Results indicated there was a moderate degree of stability in psychopathic traits from age 13-24 - Another concern is whether scores on measures of psychopathy arguably may be inflated by general characteristics of adolescence - Boys who score high on callouos/unemotional dimension of APSD have more police contacts, more conduct problems and more likely to have parent with APD than are children who score low on this dimension - One aspect of psychopathy in youth may differ from its adult counterpart is that youth with psychopathic traits may be more responsive to interventions - With appropriate intensive treatment, youth with many psychopathic traits are amenable to treatment PSYCHOPATHY: NATURE VERSUS NURTURE? - Nature vs. nurture debate focuses on relative importance of person’s innate characteristics (nature) compared with his/her personal experience (nurture) - Evidence suggests strong genetic contribution to psychopathy - The only type of studies that have been done to measure heritability of psychopathic traits are studies comparing identical and fraternal twins - Study of adult male twins (Blonigen, Carlson, Krueger and Patrick (2003) had each pair of identical and fraternal twins complete the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) - Identical twins much more similar in their PPI scores than were fraternal - In another twin study in Sweden, Larsson, Andershed and Lichtenstein (2006) also found strong genetic influence using Youth Psychopathic Inventory - Sample of 7 year old twin pairs in the United Kingdom, Viding, Blair, Moffitt and Plomin (2005) also found callous unemo
More Less

Related notes for PSYC 3020

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.