PSYCH 3CC3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Differential Association, Wilhelm Wundt, Social Learning Theory

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13 Dec 2014
Chapter 1
Forensic Psychology – field of psychology that deal with all aspects of human behaviour as it
relates to the law/legal system
“Cops” (1989):
-Biased towards the police’s perspective
-Claims to be “unfiltered telivision” but is highly edited; storytelling
Early Research:
-James Cattell (1895); worked with Wilhelm Wundt, conducted eyewitness testimony
experiments; discovered correlation between accuracy and confidence isn’t perfect
-Alfred Binet (1900); children’s testimony highly suggestible, free recall found to be best
-William Stern (1901); information recalled about staged event; discovered recall is often
incorrect, worse when event was particularly exciting (emotional arousal = negative impact on
Court Cases + Europe:
-Psychologists began appearing as experts in court around the time this research was being
-Albert von Schrenk-Notzing (1896); testimony about the effect of pretrial publicity on memory
(3 sexual murders, lots of press coverage, led to what he called “retroactive memory
falsification”); this meant people were confusing actual event memories with details they read
about in the media
-Julian Varendock (1911); Cecile’s murder; the two friends were led by suggestible questions,
leading to the arrest of an innocent man; Varendock was able to prove their testimony was highly
suggestible, therefore inaccurate (as that of all children)
North America:
-Hugo Musterberg; father of forensic psychology; provided expert testimony but was
disregarded, media and legal community took a stance against him; he wrote On the Witness
Stand (1908), which explained how psychology can help the legal system
-Strongly criticized by John Henry Wigmore; his criticisms may have slowed progress
Crime Theories:
-Sheldon’s Constitutional Theory (1949): somatotype linked to person’s temperament
(endomorph, ectomorph, mesomorph); mesomorphs likely to be involved in crime
because of their aggressive nature (muscular)
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-Jacobs et al.’s Chromosomal Theory (1965): chromosomal irregularity linked to criminal
behaviour (men with 2 Y chromosomes = extra masculine = increased likelihood they
would commit violent crimes)
-Mark & Ervin’s Dyscontrol Theory (1970): lesions of temporal lobe/limbic system =
electrical disorganization in the brain; leads to outbursts of physical violence, impulsive
sexual behaviour, etc.
-Merton’s Strain Theory (1938): crime a product of strain felt by lower classes (restricted
access to money, education, status, all goals of success); some can handle it, while some
will turn to illegitimate means (crime) to achieve these goals
-Sutherland’s Differential Association Theory (1939): people more likely to be involved
in crime when they learn more values/attitudes that are favourable to law violations than
value unfavourable to it
-Becker’s Labelling Theory (1963): “criminal” results from process of society labeling
someone as a criminal
-Eysenck’s Bisocial Theory of Crime (1964): some (extraverts, neurotics) born with
cortical/autonomic nervous systems that influence their learning (especially negative
events); poor conditionability, high levels of extraversion/neuroticism = strong antisocial
-Akers’ Social Learning Theory (1973): if you hang out with criminals, have criminal
role models, are rewarded by crime (and other completely normal learning factors), you
are likely to become a criminal
-Gottfredson & Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime (1990): low-self control early in life =
propensity to commit crime
United States:
-State v. Driver (1921); attempted rape + juvenile delinquency; however, court didn’t accept that
girl was a “moron”, couldn’t be trusted
-Brown v. Board of Education (1954); outlawing of segregation in schools; detrimental
psychological effects on coloured children; “modern authority” = social science research that
demonstrated this detrimental effect
-People v. Hawthorne (1940); psychologist was permitted to provide expert testimony about the
defendant’s mental state at time of offence; prior to this, testifying about this was regarded as a
physician’s realm of expertise
-Jenkins v. United States (1962); Jenkins (defendant) pleaded not guilty due to insanity;
supported by 3 psychologists who said he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time; judge
told jury to disregard the psychologists’ testimony; on appeal, court reversed conviction and
there was a retrial because “some psychologists are qualified to give expert testimony on mental
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Progress in Canada:
-Growing since mid 1900s in Canada
-Dr. Paul Gendreau: researches what works with treatment and assessment of offenders;
developed Correctional Program Assessment Inventory
-Canadian courts slower than US courts to permit psychologists to assess defendants; do allow
lots of testimony
-Is becoming legitimized (research, publications, training opportunities)
Forensic Psychology Today:
-Narrow definition = clinical
-Broad definition = research; application is based on research (more relevant to us)
-Assessment/treatment of mental health + legal system
-Prisons, hospitals
-Risk assessment of offenders
-Divorce/child custody, expert testimony, stress debriefings, treatment programs for
-Need to be licensed clinical psychologist specializing in forensics
-Forensic psychiatry: medical doctor, can prescribe medications for treatment of mental
-Interested in any issues that related to legal system (not just mental health)
-Legal Scholar
-Less common
-Produces forensic psychologists more informed about the legal system
Psychology + Law:
1. Psychology and the Law: psychology is a separate discipline used to examine the law from a
psychological perspective; “are eyewitnesses accurate?” etc.; very common
2. Psychology in the Law: use of psychological knowledge in the legal system; e.g. psychologist
testifying that witness isn’t necessarily correct in having chosen from a lineup (because research
suggests eyewitness testimony isn’t 100% reliable)
3. Psychology of the Law: use of psychology to study the law itself; “does the law reduce the
amount of crime in our society?” etc.
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