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PSYC39H3 (201)
Chapter 7

PSYC39 Textbook - Chapter 7.docx

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David Nussbaum

PSYC39: Psychology and Law Chapter 7: Violent Offending: General Violence and Homicide Defining Aggression and Violence Aggression: any behaviour directed towards another individual that is carried out with the proximate (immediate) intent to cause harm  perpetrator must believe that the behaviour will harm the target, and that the target is motivated to avoid the behaviour Violence: aggression that has extreme harm as its goal Prevalence of Violence  violent crimes = 1 in 8 criminal incidents in Canada  robbery considered a violent offence because there is an implied threat of violence o robbery with a firearm has decreased since 1990’s o robbery without a firearm has increased slightly  violent crime by youths (age 12-17) has increased steadily over 20 years  General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization reflects reports from Canadian population aged 15 and older o Highest reported to lowest reported: robbery -> physical assault -> sexual assault  People who usually reported to the police are incidents involving physical injury and incidents involving weapons  Most common reason why violence is not reported: o Victim dealt with it another way o Not important enough o Did not want police involvement o Personal matter o Police involvement won’t help o Fear of retaliation from perpetrator Victim Characteristics  Violent victimization for both genders were relatively the same; men 111/1000; women 102/1000 o Men experience are more likely to experience non-sexual violence like physical assault o Women experience more sexual violence  Some characteristics associated with higher rates of violent victimization are: o Young o Single o Going out in the evening o Living in cities  Targeted age group is between 15-24 Consequences for Victims  Common emotional reactions were anger, feeling upset, confused/frustrated, and feeling fearful PSYC39: Psychology and Law Hostile versus Instrumental Violence Hostile Aggression: an impulsive reaction to some real or perceived provocation or threat  Example: a man finding his wife with another man and assaults the other man Instrumental Aggression: premeditated and aimed at achieving some secondary goal  Example: Man robs another man leaving a bank, engages in violent acts like punching, stops after receiving the wallet o Aggressor is not particularly angry or provoked, some degree of planning, and the primary goal is to get money; if the person had given their wallet earlier, there would be no physical aggression  Kockler and Meloy – general synonymous with hostile and instrumental aggression o Hostile aggression => affective, impulsive, reactive, emotion, and expressive aggression o Instrumental aggression => predatory, premeditated, or proactive aggression  Bushman and Anderson – revision to the distinction between hostile and instrumental aggression o Conceptualize both hostile and instrumental as characterized by the intention to harm at the proximate level, and differ in their goals at the ultimate level  The man who harmed the guy sleeping with his wife is still considered hostile aggression  A hired assassin who kill someone for money is considered instrumental because the ultimate goal of the aggression is to receive payment  Vitacco, Neumann, Caldwell, Leistico, and Van Rybroek – developed the Instrumental Aggression Rating Measure to assess the extent to which violence is instrumental vs. hostile o Planning or preparation before the aggression o Goal-directed – the act helped obtain a specific and identifiable goal (e.g., money) o Aggressive behaviour was unprovoked by victim o Lack of anger during the aggression o Victim of the aggression was a stranger  Highest rating on these items are associated with instrumental aggression Explaining Violence Social Learning Theory  Aggression is more likely to occur when it is expected to be more rewarding than non-aggressive alternatives  Operant condition => behaviour is shaped by its consequences; reinforcement or punishment  Bandura argued that people learn not only from direct experience, but also from observing the behaviour of others and the outcomes of others’ behaviour  Self is an important source of reinforcement o Self-reinforcement refers to the influence of self-administered rewards or punishments for aggression o Self-evaluation + aggression = positive => more likely of aggression PSYC39: Psychology and Law General Aggression Model (GAM)  GAM (Anderson & Bushman) is an integration of a number of smaller, more specific theories of aggressive behaviour o Person inputs (traits, gender, beliefs….) refer to relatively stable characteristics that individuals bring to a given situation and can predispose one toward or against aggression o Situational inputs (provocation, pain, discomfort, drugs, incentives) influence aggression o Routes through the input influences are cognitive, affective, and arousal states  Cognitive states include hostile thoughts and behavioral scripts  Affective states include mood and emotion as well as expressive motor responses  Arousal can influence aggression in number of ways  Example: high levels of physiological arousal preceding a provocation can be mislabeled as anger, increasing aggressive behaviour  All 3 are intertwined and can influence each other Evolutionary Psychological Perspective  Lalumiere et al. propose that most violent people fall in one of the three groups: o Young men – few sources and low status  Limited to adolescences and young adulthood  Most common type of violent offender o Competitively disadvantaged men – inability to achieve status and resources through prosocial ways  Life-course-persistent o Psychopaths – select short-term high-risk strategies as an alternative approach Risk Assessment Recidivism Rates  Compared to general criminal recidivism, violent recidivism is less frequent Approaches  Approach to risk assessment four key categories o Unstructural clinical judgment  Involves arriving at an estimate of risk based on the assessor’s own idiosyncratic decisions about what factors to consider and how to combine those factors o Empirical actuarial  Follow explicit rules about what factors to consider and how to combine those factors to arrive at a final estimate of risk  How they differ: o The selection and combination of items are derived from their observed statistical relationship with recidivism o Tables linking scores to expected recidivism rates are provided PSYC39: Psychology and Law o Mechanical  Also follows explicit rules  How they differ: o The selective and combination of items are derived from theory or reviews of the empirical literature o No tables provided o Structured profession judgment  Incorporates features of both unstructured clinical judgment and the actuarial approach  Explicit guidelines for which factors to consider  The combination of those factors is left up to the discretion of the assessor Instruments Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG)  An empirical actuarial risk-assessment instrument designed to estimate risk for violent recidivism  Comprised of 12 items o Higher scores indicated greater risk of violent recidivism  High inter-rater reliability HCR-20 Violence Risk Assessment Scheme  Structured professional judgment instrument designed to assess risk for violence  Comprised of 10 historical items, 5 clinical items and 5 risk management items o Historical items => static and reflect past o Clinical items => dynamic and reflect current functioning o Risk management => concern future circumstances that me be encountered in the institution or community that could increase or decrease risk  3-point scale: 1 being not present, 2 being maybe present, 3 being present  High inter-rater reliability, low inter-rater agreement Self-Appraisal Questionnaire (SAQ)  A self-report empirical actuarial risk-assessment instrument developed to estimate risk of violent and non-violent recidivism  67 self-report items divided into 6 groups: o Criminal tendencies  “I have carefully planned a crime before”  Assesses anti-social attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, and feelings o Antisocial personality problems  “Since the age of 15, I have been described by others as manipulative”  Assesses antisocial personality characteristics o Conduct problems  “I have spent time at a group home, a juvenile facility/training school/reformatory” PSYC39: Psychology and Law  Assesses childhood behavioural problems o Criminal history  “My criminal involvement has been getting worse”  Assess past criminal behaviour o Alcohol/drug abuse  “I would not have served time if it was not for my alcohol or drug habit”  Assesses substance abuse o Antisocial associates  “One reason for my involvement with crime is my friends or acquaintances”  Assesses association with anti-social peers  72 true/false items – Anger and Validity do not contribute to the total score o Anger is used to assess the degree which anger is present and anger management treatment may be appropriate o Validity is used to evaluate the degree to wh
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