Τρίτη, 14 Μαΐου 2019

Police and Criminal Psychology

The Eyes Really Do Have It: Attribution of Character in the Eyes of Killers

Abstract

"The eyes are the window of the soul" is a staple cliché in many cultures, but is there any truth to this concept, of any potential importance in the forensic realm? The present study addressed this question in two experiments. It was shown that observation of the eyes and ocular regions of normal control individuals, and of serial killers, enabled average respondents to distinguish these individuals clearly in terms of trustworthiness, likability, and general "goodness." In both experiments, and based on nothing but this observation, serial killers were consistently rated lower on all three indices. No sex or individual differences were observed in this pattern of results. These findings are consistent with current evolutionary and cognitive theory, and may highlight the importance of the perception of defendants by witnesses and jurors in criminal proceedings.



An Interview Study of the Experiences of Police Officers in Regard to Psychological Contract and Wellbeing

Abstract

In this paper, it is argued that the psychological contract (PC) could provide rich insights into the understanding of employee and employer relations within the police and the stress and wellbeing of officers. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with active, full-time police officers and these were analysed using framework analysis. More than 100 base-units of meaning were identified which were categorised into six main themes namely 'Motivation', 'Mutual obligations', 'Stressors', 'Negative consequences', 'Mediators' and 'Positive impact of the job'. From the interviews, it was apparent that some officers are experiencing PC breach and that this was having a negative impact on their wellbeing. These findings are considered and avenues for improving the situation are discussed.



An Examination of Mock Jurors' Judgments in Familiar Identification Cases

Abstract

The present studies examined jurors' perceptions of "familiar" identifications—that is, identifications where an eyewitness espouses prior exposure to the perpetrator. In two studies, undergraduate mock jurors (total N = 760) read a criminal case vignette that manipulated whether the eyewitness claimed to have prior exposure to the perpetrator (and how much). Study 1 additionally manipulated the eyewitness' subsequent lineup identification confidence level, finding that confidence (but not familiarity) increased participants' beliefs in guilt and identification accuracy. Study 2 employed a stronger familiarity manipulation while additionally manipulating how long before the crime the prior exposure occurred and the viewing conditions during the crime. Results indicated that this stronger familiar identification was perceived as more accurate and indicative of guilt than the stranger identification, but only in cases of minimal prior exposure. And while viewing conditions independently affected legal judgments, it rarely moderated these familiarity effects. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.



Memory for Cars Among a Female Population: Is the Cognitive Interview Beneficial in Reducing Stereotype Threat?

Abstract

The first aim of the present study was to assess the effect of stereotype threat on recall of a visual event involving cars by female witnesses. It was expected that stereotyped women (by the interviewer) would provide a poorer description of the cars involved than non-stereotyped women. The second aim was to test if a modified cognitive interview (MCI) could reduce this negative effect. We expected that MCI reduce the harmful effect of stereotype threat on women's recall in comparison with a control interview (CI). Sixty-nine women watched a videotape of a criminal event involving cars. Two days later, they had to recall the to-be-remembered event and were given either a neutral or a threatening (= stereotyping) instruction. They were then interviewed using a CI or an MCI. Results showed that threatened women were less accurate and made more errors and confabulations than non-threatened women. They also produced more incorrect details about the cars involved. Moreover, the MCI elicited more correct details but without impairing accuracy for both threatened and non-threatened women. Our study supports the existing evidence that women's testimony may be affected by the social context and highlights the need to use the MCI during judicial interviews.



Exploring the Validity of Behavioral Cues Predictive of Physically Resisting Arrest

Abstract

Police officers are sometimes trained that certain behavioral cues predict impending violent behavior. Additionally, surveys revealed many hold perceptions that these behavioral predictors of violence are valid, yet empirical evidence of validity is sparse and contradictory. The present study used frame-by-frame analysis of videotaped police arrest encounters to explore the validity of nine behavioral cues in predicting whether the arrestee violently resisted arrest. The results revealed that four of the nine behaviors were predictive of violence, yet notable variation occurred across racial groups. The validity of the remaining behavioral cues remains equivocal at this time.



Predictors of Mental Health Stigma among Police Officers: the Role of Trauma and PTSD

Abstract

Police officers are both at risk of exposure to trauma and experiencing PTSD and are more likely to come into contact with people with mental illness than community members. As a result, the extent and predictors of mental health stigma is an issue of concern among police officers; however, little prior research on stigma has focused on police officers. The present study examined the predictors of mental health stigma among police officers, including the experience of trauma and PTSD symptoms. Active duty police officers (N = 296) were recruited through an online survey and completed measures of trauma exposure, PTSD symptoms, and a number of dimensions of stigma (negative stereotypes, attributions, intended behavior, and attitudes toward seeking help). Findings supported that police officers experience high rates of trauma exposure and higher rates of current PTSD than the general population. Endorsement of negative stereotypes about people with mental illness was higher among police officers than the general population. Contrary to what was expected, officers meeting criteria for current PTSD endorsed more stigma about mental illness, even when controlling for common demographic predictors of stigma, including gender and knowing someone with a mental illness. Findings have important implications for the training of police officers regarding mental illness.



Challenges for Police Leadership: Identity, Experience, Legitimacy and Direct Entry

Abstract

The police service in England and Wales has developed a new approach to police leadership where individuals from outside of the police service can now enter directly to leadership ranks. Previous research identified that officers place great value on being led by someone who has experience of being a police officer. Adopting a social identity perspective, the current paper reports on quantitative and qualitative data about police officer views on direct entry and existing police leadership captured as part of a wider national survey (N = 12,549) of police officers in England and Wales. The paper identifies the importance that shared identity and credibility play in police follower/leadership relationships. It argues that direct-entry police leaders face credibility issues linked to their lack of shared police identity but also that serving officers perceive existing leaders to be poor because they believe they have forgotten what it is like to be a police officer. This paper develops a new theoretical and empirical approach to police leadership utilizing social and organizational psychology theory and research. The paper suggests that if police leaders understand police identity, then they can create propitious conditions within which police officers will follow their leaders.



Effectiveness of Emotional Fitness Training in Police

Abstract

This paper reports the effectiveness of Emotional Fitness Training launched by the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) in enhancing four aspects of emotional fitness in police officers, namely resilience, positive emotions, cognitive flexibility, and emotional well-being. The Emotional Fitness Training workshops evaluated were conducted in three phases. Phase 1 workshops were offered to junior police officers and frontline commanders for voluntary participation. Phase 2 workshops were offered to supervisory staff with train-the-trainer purposes. Phase 3 workshops were also offered to supervisory staff, but as a regular training-day activity to let the staff learn to deliver training packages. A total of 300 respondents participated in the program evaluation exercises, and these were assessed before the workshop (pretest), immediately after the workshop (posttest), and 10 weeks after the workshop took place (10 weeks posttest). Most of the seven measures registered statistically significant improvements compared to pretest in all three training phases. We noted varying effectiveness in the three phases of training that could be attributed to the amount of out-of-class practice engaged in by the participants. We measured professional pride and organizational commitment 1 year after the workshop and found that workshop participants reported greater pride and commitment compared with nonparticipants of the same rank. Among workshop participants, those with better emotional fitness also reported greater pride and commitment. The findings provide strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of emotional fitness training to enhance resilience, positive emotions, cognitive flexibility, and emotional well-being, and more importantly, they strengthen professional pride and organizational commitment even 1 year after training.



Secondary Traumatic Stress: Prevalence and Symptomology Amongst Detective Officers Investigating Child Protection Cases

Abstract

It has been increasingly recognised that individuals exposed to the trauma of others within their professional roles can be affected by secondary traumatic stress (STS). Despite this recognition, there is a dearth of literature examining the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress amongst police officers in the UK. This study aims to meet this gap. Sixty-three Detective Officers from Family Protection Units (FPU(s)), primarily engaged in child protection/abuse investigations, self-reported their experiences and symptoms associated with STS through a questionnaire. Findings indicate that over half of the respondents experienced STS symptoms with 11% reporting levels of symptoms that were in the high or severe range. This study is significant in that it provides empirical evidence of issues that have so far been little documented in the UK and considers the implications for policing policy and practice in terms of the health and well-being of serving police officers.



The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Adult Male Prisoners: a Systematic Review

Abstract

Childhood abuse has been associated with a broad range of adverse cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social outcomes. Research specific to adult male prisoners indicates an association between childhood abuse experiences and crime recidivism, mental health issues, substance abuse and interpersonal difficulties. The purpose of this review was to conduct a systematic investigation of databases, using predetermined search strategies and key terms, in order to collate and describe the current literature examining the impact childhood abuse has on the functioning of adult males incarcerated for criminal offences. The investigation yielded 217 studies, which, through further analysis, was reduced to a total of 17 peer-reviewed articles. A narrative synthesis summary of findings was subsequently carried out. The findings identified four main themes, revealing the means by which childhood abuse impacts the functioning of adult male prisoners: mental health difficulties, crime and recidivism, substance use and behaviour/personality issues. In addition, less robust themes of revictimisation and adult life functional difficulties were revealed. Lastly, the noteworthy limitations of the collated research and the clinical implications for the findings were discussed.



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