PSYC37H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Psychopathology, Strain Gauge, Plethysmograph

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Published on 23 Jun 2012
April 3, 2012
Evaluation of Child Custody in Divorce
Best interest of child is paramount
Difficult for a psychologist, who is a third party, to determine accurately which parent should
have custody of a child
Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales for Parent Evaluation of Custody- it is a battery of tests made up of
other tests; anyone can come up with a battery of tests, just by combining a set of tests; this
test takes a very long time to administer; high scores are a better choice for custody; so in court
the index for each parent would be presented; validity testing needed before it can be used with
Heilbrun recommended guidelines for the practice of forensic psychological assessment; what
he said is that there should be standards for what type of testimony should be allowed in court;
tests should be commercially available and well documented; reliability should be .8 and higher;
all based on Dalbert principles; has to be in ideal settings when testing is done, otherwise we
won`t know if the person can complete the test properly; validated, normed in a relevant
population; actuarial formulas should be available (actuarial vs. clinical decisions); include
symptom validity tests
Psychopathy Checklist-Revised- based on anti-social behaviour; looks at the person`s
background in terms of criminal history; then asks them how they behave and think about
certain situations; Factor 1: selfishness, callousness, and remorselessness; Factor 2: (anti-social
lifestyle factor) Chronically unstable and antisocial lifestyle;
Penile Plethysmograph- often used in assessment of sexual offenders; measures engorgement
of the penis; Canada is one of the few places in the world where researchers are allowed to use
pictures of naked children; use child pornography to examine how turned on these people get
by these pictures; Mercury-In-Rubber strain gauge is the older, less sophisticated one;
Electromechanical strain gauge is the newer, technological one; sometimes behaviour
conditioning is used (shocks); in extreme cases, brain surgeries, lobotomies are done
Computerized Assessment
Why is it important
The field seems very slow to accept computerized testing, with worries over the fairness of the
Design individualized tests; interpret test results; write reports; present test stimuli
Different types of reports- Scoring reports present scores, profiles, and confidence intervals
Computers can also provide descriptions, and interpretations of test results
Clinical versus Actuarial prediction- clinical prediction is what the professor does every when he
sees a patient (based on personal experience); a potential problem with a clinician using own
experience in evaluation can be the overreliance (bias) of past experience; one should be aware
of the fact that one is biased or affected by prior experience in interpretation; thus actuarial
prediction was recommended, where an empirically derived formula to diagnose behaviour; it is
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