Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Forensic Psychology]

    • 00:10

      DR. BELINDA WINDER: Hello.My name is Dr. Belinda Winder, and I'mhead of the sexual offenses, crime and misconduct researchunit at Nottingham Trent University.I'm going to present a tutorial on forensic psychology.So what is forensic psychology?What is it really?We see plenty of TV programs thatseem to offer us up forensic psychology

    • 00:32

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: fodder of serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, murderers,gang violence, and offenses with knives and guns.And we pitch prisons either as a dark world of evil individualsor as a place where bad people getto sit and play their PlayStationsand do absolutely nothing.But what is the world of prison, police, and the legal system

    • 00:54

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: really like?And what role to forensic psychologists play in this?[Definition & Remit]First, let us be clear about what forensic psychologyactually is.It is psychology or the study of human behavior appliedto the term forensic.

    • 01:16

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: Now the word "forensic" is a mid-17th century wordoriginally from the Latin, forensis, meaning"in open court," or "public."Thus, forensic psychology is reallythe study of human behavior relatingto the courts in the narrow sense the word.In its broadest, we are looking at anythingthat comes under the business of the courts.

    • 01:37

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: And this means looking at crime and offenders,looking at police, and the detectionand investigation of crime.Looking at courts and juries, and jury decision making,and the testimony of witnesses, and sentencing decisions.How long shall we sentence people for?What are the aggravating factors for each crime,i.e those that make the crime worse than it typically is.

    • 01:60

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: And what are the mitigating factors--th those that reduce the amount of blamewe attach the defender.Did you know that being drunk is generally an aggravating factorand not a mitigating one?So forensic psychology also looks at the punishmentshanded out by courts.And there is a strong emphasis on prisons.How can we make prisons a decent and safe place for staff

    • 02:22

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: to work in?How can we make them the best possible places for offendersto be motivated not to reoffend?We also look at the assessment of risk of offenders.Are they going to reoffend more or less seriously than before?And will it be with the same types of offensesor with different ones?Are the prisoners going to try to escape from prison?

    • 02:46

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: Forensic psychology also considersthe treatment, management, and rehabilitationof offenders, their release and aftercare,as well as work with victims, prevention of crime,and looking at trends in crime.[Prevention in Crime]

    • 03:06

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: In this short talk about forensic psychology,I will take you on a journey through the worldof forensic psychology, stopping off now and againto examine the tasks of a forensic psychologist.So even before a crime has been committed,let's us say a burglary.There's work for a forensic psychologist.We can help consider what people can do to reduce

    • 03:27

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: the chances of being burgled.We have data from thousands of burglaries and housesthat has never been burgled.And can use statistics, as well as qualitative,to pick the interview data-- perhapsfrom experienced burglars-- to analyzewhat factors make a house less likely to be burgled.That information can then be fed back

    • 03:47

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: to households via media and awareness campaignsby the police and others.For example, there is research to indicate that having a dogreduces the chance of being burgled, statistically.And when we talked to burglars, wefind out that it is not because they'reworried about being bitten by a dog,but because dogs are very good to alerting

    • 04:07

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: their owners to anyone trying to enter their property.And if you have a dog, you will know this.The last thing burglars want is to break inonly to be greeted by the entire household.Not only that, if a burglar is perceived by the householderto be carrying a weapon when they break in,and this could be anything they have in their hands,they may be sentenced to aggravated burglary rather than

    • 04:30

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: just a common variety of burglary.Aggravated burglary carries a much heavier sentence with it,so burglars would really rather notbe interrupted when they're in this midst of stealing thingsfrom your house.[Crimes & Offenders]Crimes are defined by law as acts

    • 04:50

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: that violate the prevailing legal code of the jurisdictionor country in which they occur.So each society has its own crimes, though many of themare the same in every country.We all have violent crimes, sexual crimes,financial crimes, acquisitive crimes, drug crime,and gang-related crime, for example.

    • 05:12

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: A number of conditions must be met before an act canbe legally considered a crime.The act must be legally prohibitedat the time it is committed.The perpetrator or offender must have criminal intent.And the perpetrator or offender must have acted voluntarily.A punishment must also have been legally prescribed

    • 05:33

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: for committing the act.Crime is temporary and culturally relative.Or as Phillipson, 1971, said, thereis no behavior which is always and everywhere criminal.Because times change and things move on,consider for example, how technology hasfacilitated new types of crime.

    • 05:54

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: Or perhaps old types but in different ways.Think about trolling or cyberbullying, for example.Or maybe internet friending or phishing on the internet.So crimes change and evolve, and forensic psychologistshave a role here in thinking about how crimes mightbe committed, how they can be prevented,and how victims can be helped.

    • 06:15

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: [Investigation & Dectionon of Crime]Forensic psychologists help the policein a number of ways in their investigation of,and detection of crime.One of them is publicized , ways--in which forensic psychologists might help the police--is through offender profiling.

    • 06:35

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: And while this gets a lot of publicity in the papers,it's actually one of the less useful and less frequentways in which forensic psychologist help the police.Offender profiling is where we lookat the characteristics of an offense,perhaps together with a crime scene.And maybe several offenses by the same person--And use that information to deduce something

    • 06:56

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: about the offender.Perhaps their age, sex, geographical location--that is where they live or work-- their likely occupation.Do they have the use of a lorry?Do they work alone?Are they on shift work?And personality characteristics and habits--Other ways in which forensic psychologistsmight help the police is through their work

    • 07:16

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: and how to interview vulnerable witnesses.These might be children or people with an intellectualdisability or mental disorder.Or may simply be witnesses or victimswho are so traumatized by what they have seenthat they will need thoughtful handling by the policeand courts to gain important information from them.

    • 07:37

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: For example, one of the characteristicsof intellectually disabled individualsis to be at acquiescent.That is, to agree with something that is suggested to them.So it is important, as indeed with all witnesses,that people not be leading in their questioning.Some of these principles underlie robust questioningprocedures that all police forces have adopted.

    • 07:60

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: After all, police do not want potential witnessesto agree with them.They're looking for the truth.We can also look at detecting deception.And the process of detecting deceptionhas been of longstanding interestto forensic psychologists.Can we tell when someone is lying or not?Early research has suggested that detecting lies was easy,

    • 08:21

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: but it's now been acknowledged that this is simply not true.That is, it's a i.e One of the difficultiesis that there's no one single behavior that can actuallydemonstrate truth.However, if psychologists can at least provide some insightinto how to improve the ability of trained professionalsto differentiate lies from truth,

    • 08:43

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: this would help the police and courts considerably.While there does not seem to be one single behavior showingtruth, some common features of liars have been identified.These include attempting to over control behaviors associatedwith lying such as fidgeting or looking away,leading to an unnatural, false positionwhen talking to someone.

    • 09:04

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: Appearing unpleasant or tense as a result of an individualknowing they are trying to deceive someone.Maybe fewer body movements, longer pauses, and peoplemay avert eye contact due to the increasedmental demands of lying.Sweating, heavy breathing, and high-pitched voicesmay be a consequence of the stress arousal associated

    • 09:25

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: with the fear of being judged as a liar.Forensic psychologists can also helpto evaluate lie detector equipmentsuch as the polygraph.The polygraph measures physiological responsessuch as blood pressure, breathing, skin conductivity,and pulse rate.The idea is if someone is lying, their physiological responses

    • 09:47

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: will be different to when they'retelling the truth, i.e., more arousal will be demonstrated.A number of different types of testingare used, such as the control questiontest where the answers to one irrelevant, but true question--is your name Simon-- and one relevant question--did you kill Janet-- are compared.

    • 10:08

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: The approach assumes that a liar will be more physiologicallyaroused by relevant questions than irrelevant,whereas the innocent person who did not kill Janetwill show no difference.The use of the polygraph has a long history dating backto the early 1920s, America, whereit's been used in criminal investigationsto induce confessions.

    • 10:29

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: However, despite claims of 80% to 90% accuracyby some advocates, such as Professor Don Grubin,there are downfalls to the polygraph.Namely, a lack of theory to establisha definitive relationship between deceptionand physiological changes it measures,a lack of standardization across different polygraph test, i.e.,

    • 10:49

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: presentation of the questions, as well as the measurementsand quantification of the results.Moreover, some individuals will attemptto fake the tests in order to be found truthfulthrough various techniques called counter measures.And these may be used to invalidatea test assessing the untruthfulnessof an individual.With the polygraph, this may be accomplished

    • 11:11

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: by actions such as lightly biting one's tongue,or performing mental arithmetic when neutral or controlquestions are asked.And such actions artificially elevate physiological arousalmaking the distance between a lie and a neutral responsetoo close to differentiate.Another area in which forensic psychologistshave contributed greatly is that of eyewitness testimony.

    • 11:35

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: An eyewitness may also be asked to contributeto other aspects of the investigationbased on what they've witnessed.For example, to identify the offender in a lineup.While this is an important role in investigations,and may well be highly regarded evidence,it can also be unreliable.Elizabeth Loftus showed in her study of car accidents

    • 11:55

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: that the way in which eyewitnesseswere asked a question-- did someone bump into that car,or did they smash into a car-- impacted upon people's recallof the event significantly.And the Innocence Project reportsthat of the 312 cases in which people have been wrongfullyconvicted and later exonerated due to DNAevidence in the United States, 73% of these

    • 12:18

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: were due to incorrect identificationby an eyewitness.William Dillon was freed from a Florida prison in late 2008after serving nearly 27 years for murderthat DNA proves he did not commit.He was wrongfully convicted in 1981based on a questionable eyewitness identification as

    • 12:39

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: well as unreliable testimony from the handlerof a scent-tracking dog and testimony from a jailhouseinformant.He has now realized a CD that youcan get from Amazon, actually.Black Robes and Lawyers, and it's fullof soulful lyrics about 27 years spent wrongly in prison.It's part of our job as forensic psychologiststo help make sure such tragedies do not

    • 12:60

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: happen by understanding what goes on with crime detection.Eyewitness testimony ultimately relieson the memory of the witness whichmay be inaccurate for a number of reasons.There's pressure for people to remember,and yet, they are being asked to givea detailed account of something that they may onlyhave seen for a few seconds in potentially

    • 13:20

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: stressful conditions.If the conditions were not stressful,then are unlikely to remember much about the event,in any case.[Courts, Juries, & Sentencing Decisions]Forensic psychologists study court processesand help to consider whether theremay be biases in the system.

    • 13:40

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: They've undertaken research in aspectssuch as jury decision making.How fair is this?For example, imagine you're the memberof a jury for a murder case.On the first day, the accused arrives in courtwearing a tracksuit and has tattoos and body piercings.What would be your first impression of themDo you think this would impact upon your decision making

    • 14:01

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: as a member of the jury?Would you feel any differently if they were smartly dressedand polite to the court?Would their sex or age make any difference to your judgments?What about their similarity to you?We can also look at sentencing decisions.How do we arrive at aggravating and mitigating factorsfor each type of offense?

    • 14:22

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: And does harsh sentencing work?What about community service?Is that better than a prison sentence?And short, sharp shock treatment, or not?[Punishment, Treatment, & Rehabilitation]So once we've sentenced our offender, what next?Well, here's where, perhaps, forensic psychologists

    • 14:44

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: have the biggest role to play.Let's look at the purposes of sentencingaccording to the Criminal Justice Act 2003.This is the punishment of offenders,the reduction of crime including its reduction by deterrence,reform and rehabilitation of offenders,the protection of the public, and the making

    • 15:05

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: of reparation by offenders to persons affectedby their offences, usually through restorative justiceinitiatives.Forensic psychologists have contributedto our understanding of punishment.That is what works-- the reduction of crime,and in particular, the reform and rehabilitationof offenders.The mainstream psychological treatments

    • 15:27

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: available within prisons are basedupon the cognitive behavioral therapy modeland are referred to as Offender Behavior Programs, or OBPs.There are many different types of programto address various aspects of offender behavior.For example, the Thinking Skills Programmelooks at thinking and offense-supported beliefs

    • 15:48

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: and behaviors associated with offending,such as poor problem solving and poor perspective taking.Another standard program is a sex offender treatment program.This targets specific risk areas relatedto sexual offending such as intimacy, social skillsdeficits, or attitudes that support sexual offending.

    • 16:10

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: Offense behavior programs usuallyform part of prisoner's sentence plan,so it's something they must work on before they are released.[Summary]So forensic psychology covers a multitudeof areas from the prevention of crimethrough the explanations of offending, police investigation

    • 16:32

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: and detection, through the court processes, interview witnessesand victims, jury and decision making, and judges,to prison treatment, rehabilitation, and aftercare.It's a rewarding area to work in.It's demanding, it's challenging work,and sometimes it's emotionally draining.But it's always meaningful and significant and interesting.

    • 16:55

      DR. BELINDA WINDER [continued]: Welcome to my world.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Forensic Psychology

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Abstract

Dr. Belinda Winder defines forensic psychology and its role in the criminal justice system. She explains how forensic psychologists work in crime prevention, investigation, court processes, and sentencing.

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Forensic Psychology

Dr. Belinda Winder defines forensic psychology and its role in the criminal justice system. She explains how forensic psychologists work in crime prevention, investigation, court processes, and sentencing.

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