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PSY328 Lecture 1 notes

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Will Huggon

Psychology -trying to figure out why people do the things they do Differences between law (left) and psychology (right) 1. Legal precedent – stare decisis – doing what is done before or using what was done before to decide what should be done now – ie fairness • -if someone charged for manslaughter and get 5 years…then a year later a similar case (same background, same crime, etc) says they should get the same sentencing…wouldn’t be fair if they got 20 years…unless there was a certain situation which made it worse and says they should get more time • -psychology is based on creativity – innovation, something novel that was created on something that was done before but it is the next step – we don’t copy the old stuff but put a bit of a twist on it 2. Lower courts are bound by higher courts – hierarchical – provincial court of ontario puts down ruling….so all courts underneath them have to follow those rules but the supreme court of canada doesn’t have to follow them because they are at a higher level  separate for each province…a lower court in B.C. doesn’t have to follow rules of supreme court of ontario • -use consistent and supporting data to confirm validity and reliability of our findings through well controlled studies – empirical • -come up with supportable theories rather than laws 3. Sometimes the “truth” isn’t actually what truly happened (sometimes subjective), some able to argue better than others – adversarial • -psychology is trying to look at an objective point of view “this is what actually happened”, trying to reduce any biases, errors or distortions – experimental 4. Here is the law – do this, do that  telling people how to behave – “don’t jaywalk” “don’t kill people” – prescriptive • -trying to describe the situation and how people will behave based on prediction - descriptive 5. Looks on case-by-case basis and decides based on facts for that specific case – every case is different  idiographic • -based on averages, general principles – nomothetic 6. Based on all or nothing verdict system – guilty or innocent  certainty • -not all or nothing – can have percentages – probalistic 7. Changes based on an event that has happened (ex: security was increased dramatically after 9/11) – reactive • -figure out stuff before it happens “what will happen if this law were to go through” – proactive • -could this stuff happen in the future? 8. Applied in real-world problems – operational • -in psychology it doesn’t necessarily have to (ex: how to people react to other people with tails) you can get the data and reactions from people but you can’t really test it - academic Psychology/law IN • -no experiments done….research is done and already being used – used as a tool • -ex: implicit attitude test for screening jurors for bias AND • -the research/results that goes into it -test some variable/theory OF • Ex: how many people were found guilty if they were native of a crime in the 1960s vs 2012? -look at history and study of law itself -ex: are the results of court trials where they screen for bias actually less bias than results of court trials where they don’t screen for bias? The law in Canada • -through most of europe – Civil law • -Civil law is not the same as civil law Common vs civil -based on written laws – everything is written down - statutes -trying to get the objective truth - inquisitorial Common law -based on general rules..we come up with a verdict Civil law • -Civil law more predominant than common law • -have all these laws written down so they can be easily referenced – go back to original law over and over again • -common law – judge is a passive member…make sure players at trial are doing it correctly and following the rules • -judge is active participant – can ask questions to try and get the real truth  inquisitorial • -thus the difference between civil and common law lies not just in the mere fact of codification but in the methodological approach of codes and statutes • -main difference that’s usually drawn between 2 systems is that common law draws abstract rules from specific cases whereas civil law starts with abstract rules which judges then must apply to various cases before them How does Canada fit in? • -crim
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