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PSY328 Midterm Study Guide

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William Huggon

VOCAB • Psychology – the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes in an attempt to understand, predict, and in some cases control human behaviour o Empirical study, broad application • Law – the legal system is comprised of a body of laws, rules, regulations, and procedures designed to govern, regulate, control human behaviour • Psychology and the Law – predict what people will do in certain situations// study empirically the assumptions about human behaviour that underlie the operation and functioning of the law o Social scientists assess the reasonableness and validity of evidence • Stare decisis – we got to do what was done before b/c that’s fair (looking @ precedence based on similarity) o Our common law can mostly be based on previous cases • Creativity – being novel & creative (psychology) • Hierarchical – top courts, whatever decided goes  supreme court decision will be used across the nation, may not have to follow stare decisis • Empirical – prove through validity & reliability of findings, supportable theories, no law is absolute • Adversarial – subjective truth, lawyers go against each other and whoever the judge and jury decides to be the better argument is the truth • Experimental – objective truth / reduce errors and bias by controlling variables • Prescriptive – telling you what to do and how to behave • Descriptive – figure out why ppl do what they do, predict behaviour • Ideographic – (case by case basis), use specific facts of this case to make decision • Certainty – all or nothing, guilty or not, judgment (subject to mistrials) • Probabilistic – (instead of yes vs. no) how guilty do you think they are (0-100) • Reactive – create a new law when something happens that haven’t happened before • Operational – for use in real life, but it may be debatable if the law is too old • Academic – psych is academic – but can also be operational (applied. How your results impact the real world) • “Psych in the Law” – explicit and conventional use of psychology in the operation of law / psych come up with solutions for problems in the law • “Psych and the Law” – psych used to critically evaluate the assumptions being made in law (method section – the actual experiment) o Ex. if we change this variable in eye witness lineup, will it make eye witness more accurate? • “Psych of the Law” – study of the law itself (historical – intro section) …background info, study of law from psychological standpoint • Civil Law – o based on Napoleanic codes of statutes (all laws are written out) o inquisitorial system of litigation = judges ask the questions o judges and lawyers talk to each other to figure out what’s going on • Affirmative action – (s. 15[2]) is a way to get rid of historical prejudice / action or policy favouring those who tend to suffer from discrimination • Belief Perseverance – we look for examples that says our old belief was true and ignore examples that says otherwise • Heuristics – shortcuts/rule of thumbs substitute for when we are uncertain • Cognitive biases – mental errors. Heuristics can lead to cognitive biases (caused by oversimplifying) • Plausibility – face validity (could that have happened)  increases the perception that an experience is plausible • Familiarity – the base rates (info that is added)  provides additional details about a possible event (ex. more ppl saw the same ridiculous thing…so it must be more true) • Cognitive Interview (Enhanced) – can get 35% more information with NO increase in error o The FOUR mnemonics – o 1. Guided Imagery o 2. Temporal Order o 3. Report any related matter o 4. Recall using different perspectives (has to be in right order) o 5. Rapport – the only difference bw non-enhanced version. Get to know them o What it should be like – o 1. 20-30/70-80 talking time (witness, officer) o 2. Flexible – officer must be compatible with the train of thought of witness o 3. No interruptions (but can ask questions after) o 4. Use of open-ended questions • Line ups – a procedure used to identify suspects by an eyewitness, potential for false identification depending on how line up is administered o American Psychology and Law Society (APLS) made 4 suggestions to improve line ups  1. Double Blind  2. Instructions to the Witness  3. Unbiased Lineup  4. Witness Confidence Rating  5. Blank Line Ups • Investigator Bias • PEACE model - best investigative interviewing practice, pretty much same as cognitive interview enhanced, want to provide chance for suspect to explain, they assume the suspect is the suspect and they’re looking for lies (but a bit gentler) • Capping – the maximum amt of time a person with mental disorder can be affected by their disposition o Violent crimes – 10 yrs CONCEPTS • Difference BW Psych & Law • Law Psych Stare decisis Creativity Hierarchical Empirical Adversarial Experimental Prescriptive Descriptive Ideographic Nomothetic Certainty Probabilistic Reactive Proactive Operational Academic • Psychology in, and, of the Law o 1. Solution to the problem, 2. Critically evaluation (methods, procedure), 3. Study of the law (historical) • The Law in Canada – o Common law country = (has to be common to what was before) o Based on stare decisis or precedence o Law created by cases – by judges who decided these cases o Adversarial system of litigation  Judge is the impartial referee, lawyers fight it out o We have statutes for criminal law, but not for private or civil law o *Quebec has a civil law system for non-criminal law bc they are not a British colony, but their criminal law is also based on common law o Criminal law is federal – across the board • Civil Law o Statues & Inquisitorial o Looking for objective truth o Both Civil and Common law have statutes o Methodological approach b/w the two are different:  Common – have specific cases to pull abstract rules from, but to be fair, need to base on evidence and can’t write down all specific rules  Civil – starts off with abstract rule…applied to various cases (does this rule apply?) • Structure of Courts o Hierarchical o Provincial courts get initial jurisdiction  followed by provincial superior courts o Court of appeal  Supreme Court of Canada • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: o Guarantees of Rights s.1 (CA) – reasonable limits in a free and democratic o S. 52 (1) – inconsistent laws are “of no force or effect” o Fundamental Freedoms s. 2:  Freedom of conscience and religion  Thought, belief, opinion, expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication  Peaceful assembly  Association o Legal Rights s.7-14  S.7 – right to life, liberty, security of person  S.8 – security against unreasonable search and seizure  S.12 – no cruel or unusual punishment o Equality Rights s. 15  S.15(1) – every individual is equal before and under the law  S.15(2) – does not exclude affirmative action o Enforcing Rights s. 24  S.24(1) – infringed rights can be remedied in court  S.24(2) – evidence obtained while infringing rights are excluded • Criminal Law o 1) Actus Reus = evil act (act or omission) o 2) Mens rea = evil intent  Direct intention (planned), oblique intention, knowingly, recklessness, criminal negligence (ppl in your shoes knows better not to do it – you threw a rock out of your window) o 3 levels of offence  1) Offences of Intent  2) Strict Liability Offences  3) Absolute Liability Offences o Types of Intent  1) Specific Intent – intend the exact consequences  2) General Intent – an intention to commit a criminal act that resulted in other consequences  3) Transfer of Intent – it is still a specific intent if you planned on killing A but ended up killing B bc B jumped in front of A o Liability –  strict liability – is liability for which mens rea does not have to be proven in relation to one or more elements comprising the actus reus (drunk driving, parking tickets) • responsible if you commit the act • unless there’s an honest mistake of fact  absolute liability – strict liability without the exception, responsible if you commit the act • Research Method o Correlational Research – whether there is a relationship bw two or more variables  1. Directionality problem  2. Potential for third variable (confound) o Experimental Research – powerful for determining causal relationships  Random assignment – ensures that every PS has an equal chance of being assigned to any of the conditions  minimizes experimental effect • Perception & Memory Limitations – sensory input is influenced by expectation, subjective interpretation, belief perseverance o Memory is strongly influenced by our views, attitudes, beliefs at the time of recall  Black vs. white guy, prej vs. nonprej – ppl walking down the hallway o Who is susceptible to misinformation?  Relationship complex  Those with BEST or WORST memory abilities – Why? It requires… • 1. Forgetting the Original Information • 2. Remembering the suggested new info  Every time you activate a memory you need to resave it (with potentially more details and more confidence)…the more you activate it, the easier to retrieve later on (more confidence in it) o What causes misinformation to be integrated into memory?  Plausibility  Familiarity  The act of recollection – the remembering of misinformation reduces access to original information o Our preconceptions control our interpretations and memories • Difference b/w REAL and SUGGESTED memories o Actual memories – include more sensory detail o Suggested memories - include greater reference to cognitive processes o Are often indistinguishable, equally likely to be maintained following contradictory info, both can be retrieved just as quickly and with as much confidence • Memory Impairment Hypothesis – memories are truly changed/written over o Original information gets replaced, written over, displaced when you keep bringing it up o To prevent – separate the witnesses right after something happens so info doesn’t get replaced • Source misattribution hypothesis – confusion as to the source of the details (attribute info to the wrong source) o Stress – biggest factor for forgetting o Is this something I actually experienced or was I told about it? • Misinformation Acceptance Hypothesis – an authority figure cueing you or misleading you by accident o Guesses answers based on :  What they heard most recently  What they think the police or lawyer wants to hear • Memory vs. INTERVIEW STYLE o How ppl respond to questions can be controlled by interview style o 1. Closed or leading questions, “when the car smashed…” o 2. Open Ended Questions, “what did you see…” • Eyewitness Evidence o 1. System Variables – part of a system/can be controlled (at least partially) (by police or justice system)  Ex. police procedures, procedures used to select line-up members, interview, instructions given to witness o 2. Estimator Variables – variables that can only be estimated and NOT controlled, their impact on the accuracy of an identification can only be estimated  Ex. age, race, witness eyesight , emotional state  Physical and temporal context of the crime -distance, lighting, duration, weather o 3. Perception Variables  Personal factors – we perceive events selectively and use imagination to fill in the gaps  Ex. saw person, looked away, saw them leaving again…think that they must have done it o The most common reason for convicting an innocent person is through eyewitness testimony  It can be good if …police did proper procedures, person paid attention,…etc o Loftus 1979 o Lindsey, Wells, Rumpel (1981) o False Identification –  The Innocence Project – a national litigation and public policy organization, uses DNA testing, tries to reform the criminal justice system to prevent further injustice • Law students handle casework while supervised by a team of attorneys and clinic staff • 242 post conviction DNA exonerations in USA • About 70% of those exonerated by DNA testing are members of minority • Eyewitness misidentification – plays a role in more than 74% of convictions overturned by DNA testing  Association of the Defence for the Wrongfully Convicted (AIDWYC) – Canadian volunteer organization dedicated to preventing and rectifying wrongful convictions • 1. Eradicating the conditions that can cause miscarriages of injustice • 2. Participating in the Review and, where warranted, correction of wrongful convictions o Proof exists but police doesn’t want to bring forward • Primarily voluntary, non-profit organization focused on murder convictions only…for poor, forgotten ppl who have exhausted all their legal avenues for relief (for factually innocent people – proof exists) • There is no system in place for an independent review of claims of wrongful conviction • Interviews o Standard interview – ask witness to describe in their own words what happened, no standardization (who, what, when where, why) o Police Interview – (McLean 1995)  1. 50% of questions were leading  2. 50-50 time bw officer and witness  3. Obstructive style (break in and cut you off)  4. Written report highly edited  5. All 16 were signed to be true by witnesses • 14/16 had contradictory evidence to what the witness had said  SHOULD HAVE BEEN • 20-30% police to witness, non-obstructive  Improve: • Memory Enhancement Procedures – guided memory technique, structured interview • Cognitive Interview (Enhanced) – based on principles of memory, storage, retrieval…depends on cooperation of witness (assumes witness honesty), suspects could be telling the truth, but you assume they’re lying o 4 retrieval mnemonics designed to improve recall  Guided imagery, temporal order, report related matter, recall using different perspectives, rapport o Interview WITH SUSPECTS  80% of criminal cases solved by confession  Canada – must be backed up by some sort of evidence  If you confess you get a lesser sentence  Investigator bias – occurs when police officers enter an interrogation setting already believing suspect is guilty …belief perseverance (also don’t have to go to trial if suspect con
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