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Unit 8: Forensic Psychology

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Unit 8: Forensic Psychology

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  1. Students will explore aspects of the criminal mind. Unit 8: Forensic Psychology

  2. Serial killer, mass murderer, spree killer, • The primary aim of criminal profiling is to reveal the behavioral make-up of an unknown offender.* • *reference:

  3. Vocabulary • Psychometrics • Serial killer • mass murderer • spree killer • Signature Behaviors • Signature Aspects • Psychopathology • Antecedent

  4. IDENTIFY AND DESCRIBE OFFENDER PROFILING METHODS • Criminal profiling is a process known by the FBI as criminal investigative analysis. • Criminal profiling consists of analyzing a crime scene and using the information to determine the identity of the perpetrator. • Profilers, or criminal investigative analysts, are highly trained and experienced law enforcement officers who study every behavioral aspect and detail of an unsolved violent crime scene in which a certain amount of psychopathology has been left at the scene.

  5. Profiling uses the facts to develop a theory about the crime. • Traditional police work first developed a theory, then used the facts. • Contrast these two methods. Is one better than the other? Why? Is there no significant difference between the two? Why?

  6. Behavior • A person’s behavior is their expression of their thoughts, feelings and emotions. • Past behavior predicts future behavior

  7. Signature Behaviors: • Signature behaviors are those acts committed by an offender that are not necessary to complete the offense. Their convergence can be used to suggest an offender’s psychological or emotional needs (signature aspect). They are best understood as a reflection of the underlying personality, lifestyle, and developmental experiences of an offender.*

  8. Signature Aspects: • The emotional or psychological themes or needs that an offender satisfies when they commit offense behaviors.* • Example:

  9. M.O. Modus Operandi • The M.O. is a learned behaviorthat is dynamic and malleable. Developed over time, the M.O. continuously evolves as offenders gain experience and confidence. Offenders refine their M.O’s as they learn from the mistakes that lead to their arrests.

  10. 1. Criminal profiling is a process known by the FBI as criminal investigative analysis. • 2. Criminal profiling consists of analyzing a crime scene and using the information to determine the identity of the perpetrator. • 3. Profilers, or criminal investigative analysts, are highly trained and experienced law enforcement officers who study every behavioral aspect and detail of an unsolved violent crime scene in which a certain amount of psychopathology as been left at the scene.

  11. 4. Psychopathology is an offender’s behavioral and psychological indicators that are left at a violent crime scene as a result of his physical, sexual, and, in some cases, verbal interaction with his victim(s). • 5. Such crimes may include, homicides, sexual assaults, kidnappings, extortions, bombings, product tampering and threats. • 6. A profile is an investigative tool and its value is measured in terms of how much assistance it provides to the investigator.

  12. Analysis of the Crime • Investigative Profiling—the basic premise is that behavior reflects personality. • A. Antecedent—what fantasy or plan, or both, did the murderer have in place before the act? What triggered the murderer to act some days and not others? • B.Method and manner—what type of victim or victims did the murderer select? What was the method and manner of murder: shooting, stabbing, strangulation, or something else?

  13. Analysis of the crime: investigative profiling • C. Body disposal—did the murder and body disposal take place all at one scene, or multiple scenes? • D. Post-offensive behavior—is the murderer trying to inject himself into the investigation by reacting to media reports or contacting investigators? • E.A rape case is analyzed in much the same way, but with the additional information that comes from a living victim. • F. Everything about the crime, from the sexual acts the rapist forces on the victim to the order in which they’re performed, offers a clue about the perpetrator.

  14. Psychological Profiling • Offender Profiling • A. Much of this work comes from applied psychologist David Canter who founded the field of investigative psychology in the early 1900s. • B. Investigative psychology includes many areas where psychology can contribute to investigations, including profiling. • C. The goal of investigative psychology’s form of profiling, like all profiling, is to infer characteristics of a criminal based on his or her behavior during a crime. • D. All inferences should come from empirical, peer-reviewed research, not necessarily from investigative experience.

  15. Crime Action Profiling • A. Forensic psychologist Richard Kocsis and his colleagues developed models based on large studies of serial murderers, rapists, and arsonists that act as guides to profiling such crimes. • B. Crime action profiling models are rooted in knowledge developed by forensic psychologists, psychiatrists, and criminologists. • C. Part of crime action profiling also involves examining the process and practice of profiling.

  16. Crime Scene Analysis • The FBI’s Crime Scene Analysis consists of six steps • 1. Profiling inputs • 2. Decision process models • 3. Crime assessment • 4. Criminal profile • 5. The investigation • 6. The apprehension

  17. 1. Profiling Inputs • This is basically a collection of all evidence, including anything found on the scene (i.e., fibers, paint chips etc.) and anything derived from the crime scene (i.e., photographs, investigator notes, measurements, etc.).

  18. 2. Decision Process Models • Evidence is arranged to locate any types of patterns, such as whether or not the crime is part of a series of crimes, what the victims have in common, etc

  19. 3. Crime Assessment • Now that the evidence has been organized, the crime scene is reconstructed. Investigators use patterns to determine what happened in what order, and what role each victim, weapon, etc. had in the crime.

  20. 4. Criminal Profile • The combined first three steps are used to create a criminal profile incorporating the motives, physical qualities, and personality of the perpetrator. Also, the investigators use this information to decide on the best way to interview the suspects based on their personality.

  21. 5. The Investigation • The profile is given to investigators on the case and to organizations that may have data leading to the identification of a suspect. The profile may be reassessed if no leads are found or if new information is learned.

  22. 6. The Apprehension • Unfortunately, this stage only occurs in about 50% of cases. When a suspect is identified, he/she is interviewed, investigated, compared to the profile, etc. If the investigators have reason to believe that the suspect is the perpetrator, a warrant is obtained for the arrest of the individual, usually followed by a trial with expert witnesses including the forensic psychologist and other forensic experts, including those involved in the crime scene analysis.

  23. Testing Used to Study the Criminal Mind • Psychometrics • Psychometrics deals with the scientific measurement of individual differences (personality and intelligence). It attempts to measure the psychological qualities of individuals and use that knowledge to make predictions about behaviour

  24. Testing: Psychometrics • A test can be described as an objective, systematic and standardised measure of a sample of behaviour. • A. Objectivity is where every observer of an event would produce an identical account of what took place. • B. Systematic refers to a methodical and consistent approach to understanding an event. • C. Standardised means observations of an event are made in a prescribed manner. • D. An assessment refers to the entire process of collating information about individuals and subsequently using it to make predictions.

  25. Testing: Psychometrics • Tests represent only one source of information within the assessment process. Example: spelling is one aspect of writing, and so to assess it we would use a spelling test. Whereas to gauge up someone’s general writing ability we would have to assess the entire process (spelling, style, grammar, punctuation etc.).

  26. Testing: Types of Tests • There are two general categories of tests, those that test for cognitive ability (i.e. intelligence quotient) and those that test for personality

  27. Tests of Cognitive Ability • A. Cognitive assessment tests attempt to measure an individual’s ability to process information from their environment. • B. Intelligence tests are commonly used in two main areas: occupational psychology and educational psychology.

  28. Test of Cognitive Ability • Cognitive ability tests fall into two categories in terms of administration of the test: • Individually administered tests. • Group administered tests. • Three different types of cognitive tests (collectively known as maximum performance tests): • Speed test. • Power test. • Knowledge test.

  29. Your IQ tests • Choose three of the IQ sites below. Complete one IQ test given at each site. Determine your average IQ based on the quick methods. • Full tests are the most accurate • • • •

  30. Tests of Personality Measures • A. Personality measures are more concerned with people's dispositions to behave in certain ways in certain situations. • B. Personality tests are concerned with attempting to measure people’s characteristics or traits.

  31. Tests of Personality Measures • There are two forms of personality test: • 1. Objective personality tests—Individuals are asked to rate their own actions or feelings in set situations. • 2. Projective tests—Individuals are asked to formulate an unstructured response to some form of ambiguous stimuli e.g. Rorschach ink-blot test.

  32. Problems with Psychometric Tests • 1.Social Desirability – when faced with a psychometric test many people feel they are being judged and so alter their answers accordingly. • 2. People might engage in social desirability for two reasons: • a. Self-deception – individuals are overly optimistic in their perceptions of their own positive personality features and play down their perceived negative aspects. • b. Impression management – individuals try to appear ‘nice’ because they fear social disapproval.

  33. Problems with Psychometric Tests • 3. Mood seems to play a part in how people go about performing in tests, especially those concerning personality. • A. People in a good mood might answer the questionnaire completely differently than if they were in a bad mood. • B. Features of the environment (noise, heat & light) also have an impact on our moods and our cognitive abilities. • 4. If a test is not relevant to an individual’s lifestyle an individual probably will not perform well at it. This might be due to a lack of motivation or lack of relevant experience with the type of problem set than any lack of intellectual capability.

  34. Problems with Psychometric Tests • 5. Possibility of bias in tests against members of ethnic subgroups of the population, e.g. newly arrived immigrants will have difficulty with an intelligence test which asks them to name past leaders of the country to which they have recently immigrated. • Most standardised psychometric tests are based on western definitions and western cultural practices. • Attempts have been made to develop culture-free tests of intelligence, but on the whole these attempts have not been successful. This is due to several factors: • Conceptions of intelligence vary widely from culture to culture. Even if the content of a test can be made culture-free, culture itself will still affect the results through directing attitudes towards tests, test-taking, competition, and so on.

  35. PET Scans & MRI’s • Two types of technical instruments that are used to diagnose brain abnormalities

  36. PET Scans • PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomograpghy) • 1. A diagnostic imaging tool that is a subset of nuclear medicine. First created in the 1970s where it was used solely for medical research studies. Beginning in the early 1990s, PET imaging began to be used in a clinical setting. It made it possible for physicians to receive clear data about the body’s biochemical functioning, information that was previously gathered through exploratory surgery.

  37. PET Scans, fyi • One of the greatest benefits of PET technology is its use in treating neurological disorders such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias. Additionally, PET scanning is able to produce images for a number of diseases that affect the brain such as post-traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, and movement disorders.

  38. PET Scans, fyi • There are benefits over other forms of medical imaging. Anatomical imaging procedures like x-rays, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are useful tools that measure changes in body structure. However, they are limited in their use for a number of diseases, particularly in diseases that affect the brain. • Positron Emission Technology, however, is based on molecular biology – what is happening at the cellular level.

  39. PET Scans • The images that PET scanning produce are detailed biochemical changes in the body’s tissues, as it traces the body’s metabolic activity, and is a useful tool for physicians who are attempting to pinpoint and evaluate diseases of the brain. • In many instances, PET imaging is able to detect metabolic changes in the brain before anatomical or structural changes occur.

  40. PET Scan • A. Pinpoint and evaluate brain abnormalities and determine whether these abnormalities are caused by: Alzheimer’s disease, blood flow shortages, depression, or some other reason. • B. Assist surgery for individuals with uncontrollable seizures by localizing the brain site of seizure activity. • C. Analyze muscle tremor and evaluate whether it this is caused by Parkinson’s disease or some other movement disorder. • D. Evaluate brain tumors and determine whether they are benign (alive tissue and non-cancerous) or malignant (dead tissue and cancerous).

  41. PET Scans • E. Pinpoint the source of epileptic seizures. • F. Assess such medical conditions as degenerative brain diseases, movement disorders, and dementias. • G. Assist surgical operations by identifying the areas of the brain responsible for such critical functions as movement and speech. • H. Analyze the effectiveness of chemotherapy by examining cites of possible cancer recurrence and distinguishing whether this structural change is due to tumor re-growth or is a form of scar tissue.

  42. MRI • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) A MRI is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. • MRI imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone, and virtually all other internal structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or copied to a CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

  43. MRI • Detailed MRI images allow physicians to better evaluate various parts of the body and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound or CT scans (computed tomography). • Currently, MRI is the most sensitive imaging test of the head (particularly in the brain) in routine clinical practice.

  44. MRI • MRI imaging of the head is performed to help diagnose: • A. Tumors in the brain. • B. Developmental anomalies of the brain. • C. Vascular anomalies of the head (i.e., aneurysm). • D. Disorders of the eyes and the inner ear. • E. Stroke. • F. Trauma patients (selective). • G. Disease in the pituitary gland. • H. Certain chronic disorders of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis • I. Causes of headaches.

  45. MRI • Physicians also use the MRI examination to document brain abnormalities in patients • Overall, the differentiation of abnormal tissue from normal tissues is often better with MRI than with other imaging modalities such as x-ray, CT, and ultrasound.

  46. Brain Abnormalities & Abnormal Psychology • Brain Abnormalities • 1. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) of men who have antisocial personality disorder have 11% less gray matter and is less active than men with a “normal” brain. PFC is known to inhibit the limbic system, which is an area of the brain that gives rise to emotions. PET scans show increased activity in the thalamus, amygdale, and the limbic system by 6% compared to a “normal” brain. All of these areas control basic emotions such as aggression, sexual desire, and anger. Increased activity in these regions would suggest stronger emotion.

  47. Brain Abnormalities & Abnormal Psychology • Brain Abnormalities • 2. Corpus callosum— the activity of the corpus callosum, which is the bridge that links the two sides of the brain, was 18% less active in murderers than in a “normal” brain.

  48. Brain Abnormalities & Abnormal Psychology • Genetics/Environment • 1. Genetic abnormalities and parents with antisocial behavior. • 2. Birth and pregnancy complications. • 3. Drinking alcohol and heavy cigarette smoking during pregnancy. • 4. Chemical ingestion (i.e., cocaine, lead, other drugs)

  49. Brain Abnormalities & Abnormal Psychology • 5. Traumatic brain injury. • 6. Electrocution. • 7. Tumors. • 8. Extreme environmental exposures (gasses, radiation). • 9. Nutritional deficiencies.

  50. POLYGRAPH MACHINE • 1. Polygraph machines, commonly called "lie detectors," are instruments that monitor a person's physiological reactions. These instruments do not, as their nickname suggests, detect lies. They can only detect whether deceptive behavior is being displayed.