Category Archives: Hate crime

The influence of Muslim headgear and induced affect on aggressive responses in the shooter bias paradigm

muslim headgearOn the third anniversary of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent man shot dead by police in London who thought he was a suicide bomber, a timely and depressing article currently in press in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology:

Does Islamic appearance increase aggressive tendencies, and what role does affect play in such responses? In a computer game, participants made rapid decisions to shoot at armed people, some of whom wore Islamic head dress. We predicted and found a significant bias for participants to shoot more at Muslim targets. We also predicted and found that positive mood selectively increased aggressive tendencies towards Muslims, consistent with affect-cognition theories that predict a more top-down, stereotypical processing style in positive mood. In contrast, induced anger increased the propensity to shoot at all targets. The relevance of these results for our understanding of real-life negative reactions towards Muslims is discussed, and the influence of affective states on rapid aggressive responses is considered.

Reference:

Photo credit: “Muslim Crop” by Olly Farrell, Creative Commons License

A Confederate South effect in homicide rates, and other interesting articles from the Social Science Journal

My life’s a bit busy at the moment with not much time for considered blogging. Forgive me if, for a little while, I post interesting titbits without much commentary (better, I think, than posting nothing at all, or posting ill-considered commentary).

Three articles caught my eye in the latest issue of The Social Science Journal. The first is on homicide in the US South:

A significant literature has evolved in the last 40 years investigating regional variation in lethal violence, with most studies focusing on Southern homicide rates…. We investigate regional variations in the effects of resource deprivation on White homicide in rural areas—a context in which the Southern culture of violence should be most prominent….The results of our county-level analyses of census and homicide data around the year 2000 reveal that White homicide rates are higher in Confederate South states and that resource deprivation has a positive association with White homicide. The effect of resource deprivation also accounts for the Confederate South effect, and an interaction model indicates that the effect of this variable is significantly stronger in the non-South as predicted by the attenuation argument. Overall, these results suggest that both structural and cultural forces contribute to rural White homicide rates.

Next up, an article on “the degree to which individuals’ perceptions of concrete events of harassment and violence mirror the interpretive frameworks offered by proponents of hate crime legislation”:

… Specifically, the study examines the determinants of definitions of hate crime and perceptions of seriousness, focusing on both incident-level and respondent-level variables. Using data from a multilevel factorial survey gathered from a sample of undergraduates, I find a general alignment between the political construction of hate crimes and college student perceptions of incidents of harassment and violence, although sensitivity to hate crimes varies by witness demographic and attitudinal characteristic.

Finally, J. Keith Price and Gary R. Byrd attempt to answer the question of whether capital murderers (murderers who are executed) are “more likely to murder or commit other violent crimes again” if they had not been executed, compared to “other murderers or the average citizen”:

… To answer these questions, many states require a prediction of future dangerousness of a newly convicted murderer. To what extent has the judgment of future dangerousness matched actuarial data of subsequent murders and serious crimes? Using a secondary analysis, this investigation attempted to assemble available data of postconviction dangerousness of death sentenced capital murderers to create a more comprehensive actuarial account of subsequent dangerousness and to present the data in a common format used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Across 14 studies identified with relevant data, there were 13 instances of subsequent murder and 462 serious crime or prison rule violations.

Quick links – investigations, courtroom, punishment, profiling and more

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Quick links from around the web and blogosphere:

Investigations and courtroom :

The Sunday Times (25 Nov) reports on a new facial morphing technique called EvoFIT “that transforms the Photofit faces of criminal suspects into animated caricatures up to seven times more likely to be recognised than standard likenesses”. The system was developed by UK psychologists, one of whom commented that using the new system leads to “…a massive jump in the level of recognition [which] is really reliable”. Lots more information including plenty of downloadable papers on the EvoFIT webpages .

The Eyewitness Identification Reform blog highlights scholarly commentary on the effectiveness of cross-examination for getting at the truth of eyewitness evidence.

Following a detailed and extensively researched analysis, Prof. Epstein [the author of the commentary] concludes that the highly revered truth-seeking tool of cross-examination, while perhaps effective at rooting out liars, is utterly ineffective at uncovering the truth when faced with a witness who is confident, but honestly mistaken about what he or she remembers – which accounts for the majority of cases in which mistaken identification has led to wrongful conviction.

Mo over at Neurophilosophy (a great blog that doesn’t often post on forensic issues) discusses research on creating false memories by doctoring photographs. Participants who saw altered images had different memories of the events in the photographs:

For example, those participants shown the doctored photograph of [a] protest in Rome…in which figures placed in the foreground give the impression of violence, rated the event as being significantly more violent and negative than it actually was. In their comments, they also provided false details, such as conflicts, damages, injuries and casualties that did not appear in the photos and were not documented at the event.

The whole issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology is about ‘cognition and the media’ and includes other papers on the fallability of memory, which will be of use to anyone interested in eyewitness memory.

Anne Reed at the fabulous Deliberations blog reports on research into the Grim Power of Grim Evidence. Apparently “jurors presented with gruesome evidence, such as descriptions or images of torture and mutilation, are up to five times more likely to convict a defendant than jurors not privy to such evidence.”

Punishment:

The ever-interesting Karen Franklin comments on juvenile detention, and starts by posing some simple questions with disturbing answers. Did you know, for instance, that only two nations sentence children to life in prison? According to Karen, they are Israel, with 7 child lifers, and the USA, with an astonishing 2,387 child lifers.

Michael Connolly at Corrections Sentencing offers a detailed discussion of an article which “calls for broad application of empirical psychology to the study of the motive behind punishments”. The article is in press and due to appear in 2008.

  • Reference: Carlsmith, K.M., & Darley, J.M. (in press). Psychological aspects of retributive justice. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, M. Zanna, Ed. (Elsevier, NY, 2008) vol. 41.

Psychopaths:

The criminal psychopath is the topic of a post at Top Two Inches, and over at the Deception Blog, a comment on research on whether psychopathic liars give themselves away through their verbal behaviour.

Profiling:

Crimson Shadows posts (with permission) the full text of ex-FBI profiler John Douglas’s response to Malcolm Gladwell’s article on profiling that appeared in the New Yorker last month. Douglas argues that Gladwell’s article misrepresents the science and practice of profiling.

Miscellany:

Terrific analysis of an fMRI study linking paedophilia to differences in the brain over at the Brain Ethics blog,  critiquing both the method and the interpretation of the results of this study.  In sum “at the least, just because the brain shows a difference, one cannot conclude anything beyond this about causation.”

The BPS Research Digest has also included a couple of forensically relevant posts recently: detecting feigned mental retardation and inter-ethnic violence.

As well as the post on juvenile detention mentioned above, Karen Franklin’s posted a lot of other good stuff recently too, including pointing us towards a Canadian news article on false confessions, commenting on how the UK is considering stricter controls on the use of expert scientific evidence, and a great piece on tracking serial killers in South Africa.

Romeo Vitelli’s Providentia blog reports on an intervention program for young victims of violence, child abuse and brain development, and an usual case of car fetishism.

Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License

New issues: Journal of Criminal Justice

journals

Journal of Criminal Justice 35(4), July-August 2007 and Journal of Criminal Justice 35(5), September-October 2007 are now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents:

Journal of Criminal Justice 35(4):

  • Predicting crime story salience: A replication – Steven Chermak and Nicole M. Chapman
  • Duration of the time to reconviction: Evidence from UK prisoner discharge data – Roger Arthur Bowles and Chrisostomos Florackis
  • Convicting and incarcerating felony offenders of intimate assault and the odds of new assault charges – John Wooldredge
  • Roles of neighborhood race and status in the middle stages of juror selection – Ralph B. Taylor, Jerry H. Ratcliffe, Lillian Dote and Brian A. Lawton
  • Race and repeats: The impact of officer performance on racially biased policing – Lisa Growette Bostaph
  • Interpersonal violent crime in Ghana: The case of assault in Accra – Joseph Appiahene-Gyamfi
  • The long-term impact of restorative justice programming for juvenile offenders – Kathleen J. Bergseth and Jeffrey A. Bouffard
  • How does reactivity affect police behavior? Describing and quantifying the impact of reactivity as behavioral change in a large-scale observational study of police – Richard Spano

Journal of Criminal Justice 35(5):

  • Differentiating among racial/ethnic groups and its implications for understanding juvenile justice decision making – Michael J. Leiber, Joseph Johnson, Kristan Fox and Robyn Lacks
  • Prisonization and accounts of gun carrying – Paul B. Stretesky, Mark Pogrebin, N. Prabha Unnithan and Gerry Venor
  • Victims’ perceptions of police response to domestic violence incidents – Ida M. Johnson
  • Considering the efficacy of situational crime prevention in schools – Lauren O’Neill and Jean Marie McGloin
  • Citizen assessment of local criminal courts: Does fairness matter? – Kevin Buckler, Francis T. Cullen and James D. Unnever
  • Investigating the impact of extended bar closing times on police stops for DUI – Leana Allen Bouffard, Lindsey Ellen Bergeron and Jeffrey A. Bouffard
  • Operationalizing risk: The influence of measurement choice on the prevalence and correlates of prison violence among incarcerated murderers – Jon R. Sorensen and Mark D. Cunningham
  • Stalking acknowledgement and reporting among college women experiencing intrusive behaviors: Implications for the emergence of a “classic stalking case” – Carol E. Jordan, Pamela Wilcox and Adam J. Pritchard
  • A note on the status of discretion in police research – Ernest L. Nickels

Podcast round up

MP3onredSome recent podcasts on topics relevant to psychology and crime:

Reforming the New Orleans Criminal Justice System (Leonard Lopate Show, 13 Sept):

Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans… Police stations and jails were ruined, essential information and files were lost, and the people who make up the criminal justice system were traumatized and displaced. Two years after the hurricane the system is up and running, but serious problems remain. Michael Jacobson, the Director of The Vera Institute of Justice, joins Leonard to speak about what happened in the aftermath of Katrina and what can be done to improve the justice system. MP3

Tackling Indonesian terror (ABC Radio, Australia, Background Briefing, 23 Sept):

In a first for the international media, Bali bomber Ali Imron is let out of prison to explain why he’s now working to stop terrorism. In this exclusive interview, Ali Imron tells of how he’s battling with his radical brothers to prevent further violence. It’s just one part of Indonesia’s ground breaking and controversial counter terrorism strategy. MP3

Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence (TED talks, Sept 2007):

In a preview of his next book, Steven Pinker takes on violence. We live in violent times, an era of heightened warfare, genocide and senseless crime. Or so we’ve come to believe. Pinker charts a history of violence from Biblical times through the present, and says modern society has a little less to feel guilty about. (Various options for downloading video and audio via the above link.)

Hate Crime and Racism in Russia, Part I and Part II (Leonard Lopate Show, 4 Oct):

Three years ago, the brutal murder of a 9-year old Tajik girl in Saint Petersburg turned international attention to the rise of neo-fascist groups and hate crime in Russia. Since then, the situation has not only gotten worse, it’s also fallen off the mainstream media radar. Attacks are up 28% since 2006, and many observers think the actual number of crimes is even greater. (Part I MP3, Part II MP3.)

Photo credit: Focus_on_me, Creative Commons License

Articles in the APA Monitor for October

articleSome articles of forensic interest in the October 2007 issue of the APA’s Monitor on Psychology 38(9):

  • APA’s council calls for ban on torture: APA names specific torture methods that the U.S. government should prohibit.
  • Stay involved or get out? APA members deliberate whether psychologists should play a role in military interrogations.
  • Evil’s mundane roots: Three renowned behavioral scientists illuminate the triggers of our darkest behaviors.
  • Stop the genocide: Several psychologists are working to end Darfur’s ethnic cleansing.
  • Deeper than sticks and stones: Discrimination not only undermines a person’s self-worth, it can destroy family life.
  • Psychologists’ testimony may not help: Judges and juries tend to trust their guts over psychologists’ testimony, speakers report.

    Docuticker round-up

    ex libris gul law reports collectionLatest criminal justice-related reports from Docuticker

    Public School Practices for Violence Prevention and Reduction: 2003–04 (National Center for Education Statistics): “This Issue Brief (1) examines principals’ reports of the prevalence of formal practices in public schools designed to prevent or reduce school violence and (2) describes the distribution of these practices by selected school characteristics.”

    When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2005 Homicide Data (Violence Policy Center): “This annual report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender.”

    No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the United States (Human Rights Watch): “the first comprehensive study of US sex offender policies, their public safety impact, and the effect they have on former offenders and their families.”

    Exploring the Drugs-Crime Connection within the Electronic Dance Music and Hip-Hop Nightclub Scenes (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware / National Institute of Justice): “This report explores how the cultural ethos, behavioral norms, activities, and individual and group identities (subcultural phenomena), inherent to the electronic dance music … and the hip hop/rap nightclub scenes … impact the relationship between alcohol, drugs, and crime, with additional attention to victimization.”

    Building an Offender Reentry Program: A Guide for Law Enforcement (International Association of Chiefs of Police): “In an effort to determine the state of law enforcement’s participation in offender reentry initiatives, the International Association of Chiefs of Police partnered with OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to comprehensively examine law enforcement’s role in offender reentry initiatives.”

    Suicide Trends Among Youths and Young Adults Aged 10–24 Years — United States, 1990–2004 (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC): “The report is an analysis of annual data from the CDC?s National Vital Statistics System”

    Law Enforcement for Lawabiders (Police Foundation): “Why do people comply with the law? Professor Tracey Meares of Yale University explores the power of private social control in controlling and reducing crime.”

    Violent Deaths and the National Violent Death Reporting System (CDC): “The National Violent Death Reporting System collects data on violent deaths from a variety of sources. Together, these sources offer a more comprehensive picture of the circumstances surrounding a homicide or suicide.”

    Upward trend in racist crimes in at least 8 EU countries (European Parliament): “The report analyses discrimination in employment, housing and education across the 27 Member States.”

    Minding Moral Responsibility (Engage, via SSRN): “… one of the most enduring areas of controversy in our criminal law involves questions about mitigation and the insanity defense.”

    Fatal fires: fire-associated homicide in Australia, 1990-2005 (Australian Institute of Criminology)

    2007 Annual Report on Organized crime in Canada (Criminal Intelligence Service Canada)

    The British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 (Gambling Commission UK)

    Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

    New reports: round-up of reports from the US, Canada and Australia

    ex libris gul law reports collectionA selection of recently-published criminal justice-related reports from the US, Canada and Australia:

    Black Victims of Violent Crime, published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, full Report (pdf):

    Presents findings about violent crime experienced by non-Hispanic blacks… Highlights include the following: Blacks were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatal violent crimes and of about 8,000 homicides in 2005; blacks accounted for 13% of the U.S. population in 2005, but were victims in 15% of all nonfatal violent crimes and nearly half of all homicides; during the 5-year period from 2001 to 2005, the average annual rate of nonfatal violent victimization against blacks was 29 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older. For whites the rate was 23 per 1,000, and for Hispanics, 24 per 1,000.

    Comparison of Hate Crime Rates Across Protected and Unprotected Groups, published by the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, full report(pdf):

    Sexual orientation and gender identity are not currently covered by federal hate crime laws. This analysis compares victimization rates for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals with groups already covered by hate crime laws. Results indicate that the hate crime rate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals is comparable to the rate of hate crimes against already protected groups.

    Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities 2006, published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, full report (pdf):

    Presents data from the Survey on Sexual Violence, 2006, an administrative records collection of incidents of inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate sexual violence reported to correctional authorities…The report provides an in-depth analysis of substantiated incidents, including where the incidents occur, time of day, number and characteristics of victims and perpetrators, nature of the injuries, impact on the victims, and sanctions imposed on the perpetrators.

    Control or Regulation of Prostitution in Canada – Implications for the Police – Royal Canadian Mounted Police research and evaluation report:

    In the literature the police perspective [on health and safety of sex workers and the current legal situation in Canada] is too often based on traditional, unfounded, unproven and biased opinions of prostitutes and prostitution. This is problematic for legislators, who require objective and well documented information. This study is a first step in clarifying that relationship. It examines issues relating to legal options, their impact on prostitution and their impact on the police.

    Human trafficking to Australia: a research challenge, published by the Australian Institute of Criminology, full report(pdf):

    …Human trafficking presents different challenges from domestic crimes, like sexual assault, because of its often transnational nature and the potential involvement of a network of facilitators in a number of countries… This paper argues that we need to be aware of trends, internationally and in the region, to ensure we have early warning of activities that could impact on the level and type of trafficking to Australia, and to ensure we are providing the most effective responses to prevent and detect trafficking. This paper provides an overview of the challenges involved in obtaining reliable information on the trafficking process.

    Homicide in Australia : 2005-06 National Homicide Monitoring Program annual report, published by the Australian Institute of Criminology, full report (pdf):

    This report presents information on the circumstances and characteristics of homicide in Australia in 2005-06… The report examines the factors which appear to have driven the increase, which includes increases in the number of females killed (87 females killed in 2004-05 compared with 113 females killed in the current year). Stranger homicides also increased from 19 percent in 2004-05 to 26 percent in the current year. While there are noted increases in the current year, comparisons with previous years such as 2003-04 indicate the trends are quite similar.

    Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

    New issue: British Journal of Criminology 47(4)

    journals

    British Journal of Criminology 47(4) , July 2007, is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

    Contents include:

    • ‘Violence’, Safety Crimes and Criminology – Steve Tombs
    • A Zone of Ambiguity: The Political Economy of Cigarette Bootlegging – Rob Hornsby and Dick Hobbs
    • Killing Gay Men, 1976-2001 – Peter Bartlett
    • The Pros and Cons of Life Without Parole – Catherine Appleton and Bent Grover
    • Towards an Archaeological-Realist Foucauldian Analytics of Government – Jon Frauley
    • The Policing of Young Offenders – Ian Waters
    • Family-Based Justice in the Sentencing of Domestic Violence – Ronit Dinovitzer and Myrna Dawson
    • Evaluating Domestic Violence Initiatives – Alpa Parmar and Alice Sampson

    Latest forensic-relevant reports from Docuticker

    Forensically-relevant reports from Docuticker. Follow the links for more details and, in most cases, links to downloadable papers: