Category Archives: Academia

Quick links for the last week

New issues:

  • Law and Human Behavior 34(5) http://is.gd/fhQvR Recidivism risk, psychopathy, informants, quality of forensic examiners and more
  • Criminal Justice Matters 81(1) Articles on pre-crime, masculinity & violence, probation, secure envts & more http://is.gd/fbBVC
  • Psychology, Crime & Law 16(8) http://is.gd/fhQqp Articles on execution, prisoners, rape myths, child abuse, eyewitness testimony

New research articles:

  • Murder–suicide: A reaction to interpersonal crises. Forensic Science International 202(1-3) http://is.gd/fhQjP
  • The role of perpetrator similarity in reactions toward innocent victims Eur J Soc Psy 40(6) http://is.gd/fhPZ3 Depressing.
  • Detecting concealed information w/ reaction times: Validity & comparison w/ polygraph App Cog Psych 24(7) http://is.gd/fhPMW
  • Eliciting cues to children’s deception via strategic disclosure of evidence App Cog Psych 24(7) http://is.gd/fhPIS
  • Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony? App Cog Psych 24(7) http://is.gd/fhPDd Free access
  • In press, B J Soc Psy Cues to deception in context.http://is.gd/fhPcY Apparently ‘context’ = ‘Jeremy Kyle Show’. Can’t wait for the paper!
  • Narrative & abductive processes in criminal profiling http://is.gd/fgjH3 Free if u register for Sage trial http://is.gd/eUubM
  • Children’s contact with incarcerated parents: Research findings & recommendations American Psych 65(6) http://is.gd/fd45s
  • Comparing victim attributions & outcomes for workplace aggression & sexual harassment in J App Psych 95(5) http://is.gd/fd3Vb
  • Correctional Psychologist Burnout, Job Satisfaction, and Life Satisfaction. In Psych Services 7(3) http://is.gd/fbBKC
  • It’s okay to shoot a character. http://tinyurl.com/32u3w9v Paper on morals in video games
  • Perceptions about memory reliability and honesty for children of 3 to 18 years old – http://ht.ly/2z8O1

And some other links of interest:

Quick links for the last couple of weeks

Oh dear, the automatic Twitter updates feature needs attention. Sigh. Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve been tweeting about:

The most important tweet of the last two weeks was notification that Sage Pubs are offering FREE online access to their entire collection until October 15, 2010. Sage do this every year or so and it’s a great time to stock up new and classic research. Register here: http://is.gd/eUubM

Once you’ve done that, check out new issues of the following Sage journals:

Also out, the first September issue of JUSTINFO, published by NCJRS. Funding opps, new publications, courses, resources etc http://www.ncjrs.gov/justinfo/sep0110.html

In other non-forensic journals, the following articles caught my eye:

  • Meta-analytic comparison of 9 violence risk assessment tools. Psychological Bulletin 136(5):740-767 http://is.gd/f6J9Q
  • Construct-driven development of video-based situational judgment test for police integrity http://is.gd/f6J3h
  • Unconfirmed loss of husband has specific negative mental health consequences vs suffering a confirmed loss http://is.gd/f6IIF
  • Social ties & short-term self-reported delinquent behaviour of personality disordered forensic outpatients http://ht.ly/2z9z8
  • Prediction & expln of young offenders’ intentions to reoffend from behavioral, normative & control beliefs http://is.gd/f6INT
  • Psych Bulletin 136(5) Surviving the Holocaust: A meta-analysis of the long-term sequelae of a genocide. http://is.gd/eUsUq
  • Screening offenders for risk of drop-out and expulsion from correctional programmes – http://ht.ly/2z9u4
  • Distinguishing truthful from invented accounts using reality monitoring criteria – http://ht.ly/2z8FC
  • Can people successfully feign high levels of interrogative suggestibility & compliance when given instructions to malinger? http://ht.ly/2z8Wz
  • New research – FMRI & deception: “The production and detection of deception in an interactive game” in _Neuropsychologia_ http://is.gd/eUMO3
  • And in the free access PLoS1: fMRI study indicates neural activity associated with deception is valence-related. PLoS One 5(8). http://is.gd/f6IaM

Other bits and pieces, including retweets:

  • “How to Catch a Terrorist: Read His Brainwaves-ORLY?” Wired Danger Room is sceptical about P300 tests as CT measure http://is.gd/f5JFT
  • RT@vaughanbell: Good piece on the attempts to get dodgy fMRI lie detection technology introduced to the courtroom. http://is.gd/eSdP6
  • NPR: A Click Away: Preventing Online Child Porn Viewing http://t.co/VRfaNiz
  • How Can We Help Gang Members Leave the Violence Behind? Share your thoughts on the newest PsycCRITIQUES Blog entry http://bit.ly/blpV04
  • Do prison conditions have more of a deterrent effect on crime than the death penalty? http://su.pr/1WUpIg
  • Great documentary with forensic issues regarding induced delusional or acute polymorphic psychotic disorder: http://bit.ly/bHkJpy

Free access to Sage journals gives you a chance to read all about science and pseudoscience in policing

Once again Sage Journals is throwing its archive open – you can get free access to all Sage journals until 31 October if you register first. A great opportunity to stock up on articles in journals that you or your library don’t subscribe to.

Can I, in particular, recommend you take a look at the latest issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior? It’s a special on “Pseudoscientific Policing Practices and Beliefs” pulled together by guest editor Brent Snook. Scott Lilienfeld and Kristin Landfield’s overview of science and pseudoscience is just ok (I don’t think it’s as good as it could be), but there are useful reviews (among others) of hypnosis in a legal setting (Graham Wagstaff), of detecting deception (Aldert Vrij), and of false confessions (Saul Kassin). These reviews will prove invaluable if you’re new to these areas of research or need a refresher.

Also in this issue, Snook and colleagues examine why criminal profiling is so seductive, when much of what passes for profiling is simply – according to the authors – “smoke and mirrors”. They conclude:

There is a growing belief that profilers can accurately and consistently predict a criminal’s characteristics based on crime scene evidence… We contend that this belief is illusory because a critical analysis of research on CP [criminal profiling] showed that the field lacks theoretical grounding and empirical support.

And there’s an extraordinary and provocative critique of the FBI’s programme to introduce Critical Incident Stress Debriefing for its agents, co-authored by a former agent who was involved in the programme. The authors bemoan the fact that although the business of “law enforcement is inextricably tied to facts, objectivity, organization, and high standards of proof” (p.1342), the FBI did not (according to the authors) apply the same standards when evaluating a stress debriefing programme for its agents. The evidence for the effectiveness of CISD is scant, argue the authors (and there is some evidence that CISD may even be harmful to people exposed to severe trauma). So, the authors explain: “We are thus compelled to consider how an idea so poorly grounded and so seriously discredited came to hold so tenacious a footing in the employee assistance practices of what is arguably the world’s most sophisticated law enforcement agency” (p.1342). Newbold, Lohr and Gist’s concluding comments could serve as an epitaph for the entire issue:

Pseudoscience finds its foothold where the blurring of boundaries allows the imperatives of evidentiary warrant shared by both domains to become compromised. It takes many years of training and experience to become competent as either a law enforcement agent or a psychologist, and either role requires strong focus and strict boundaries to be executed effectively. Police officers who want to play shrink and psychologists who want to play cop run a serious risk of blurring those boundaries.

Here are the contents in full:

  • Brent Snook – Introduction to the Special Issue: Pseudoscientific Policing Practices and Beliefs
  • Scott O. Lilienfeld and Kristin Landfield – Science and Pseudoscience in Law Enforcement: A User-Friendly Primer
  • Michael G. Aamodt – Reducing Misconceptions and False Beliefs in Police and Criminal Psychology
  • John Turtle and Stephen C. Want – Logic and Research Versus Intuition and Past Practice as Guides to Gathering and Evaluating Eyewitness Evidence
  • Brent Snook, Richard M. Cullen, Craig Bennell, Paul J. Taylor, and Paul Gendreau – The Criminal Profiling Illusion: What’s Behind the Smoke and Mirrors?
  • Graham F. Wagstaff – Hypnosis and the Law: Examining the Stereotypes
  • William G. Iacono – Effective Policing: Understanding How Polygraph Tests Work and Are Used
  • Saul M. Kassin – Confession Evidence: Commonsense Myths and Misconceptions
  • Aldert Vrij – Nonverbal Dominance Versus Verbal Accuracy in Lie Detection: A Plea to Change Police Practice
  • Katherine M. Newbold, Jeffrey M. Lohr, and Richard Gist – Apprehended Without Warrant: Issues of Evidentiary Warrant for Critical Incident Services and Related Trauma Interventions in a Federal Law Enforcement Agency
  • David C. Flagel and Paul Gendreau – Commentary: Sense, Common Sense, and Nonsense

The Anthropology of Crime and Criminalization

Despite the focus on psychological research in this blog, I find anthropological approaches fascinating too. Here’s a neat review of such approaches applied to the cross-cultural understanding of crime and criminality:

The ambiguity of the concept of crime is evident in the two strands of anthropological research covered in this review. One strand, the anthropology of criminalization, explores how state authorities, media, and citizen discourse define particular groups and practices as criminal, with prejudicial consequences. Examples are drawn from research on peasant rebellion, colonialism, youth, and racially or ethnically marked urban poor. The other strand traces ethnographic work on more or less organized illegal and predatory activity: banditry, rustling, trafficking, street gangs, and mafias. Although a criminalizing perspective tends to conflate these diverse forms of “organized” crime, in particular erasing the boundary between street gangs and drug trafficking, the forms have discrete histories and motivations. Their particularities, as well as their historical interactions, illuminate everyday responses to crime and suggest ways to put in perspective the “crime talk” of today, which borders on apocalyptic.

Reference

Special issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology on eyewitness research

journals

The latest issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology (Volume 22 Issue 6, September 2008) is a special devoted to Basic and Applied Issues in Eyewitness Research, edited by Brian H. Bornstein, Christian A. Meissner. Published to mark the centenary of the publication of “On the Witness Stand” by Hugo Munsterburg, one of forensic psychology’s founding fathers, this issue contains a feast of articles by some of the top names in the field, and will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in eyewitness psychology.

The editors explain why the publication of Munsterberg’s text is worth marking:

Hugo Munsterberg, who was one of the earliest researchers on eyewitness memory, is probably the first figure to advocate strongly for a wider reliance by the courts on psychological research… [His] efforts were largely rebuffed … and since that time, there have been repeated calls for the courts to take eyewitness research (indeed, all social science research) more seriously, accompanied by a range of judicial responses ranging from ready acceptance to outright rejection (Monahan & Walker, 2005). Nor are all psychologists of one mind on this issue. Indeed, even Munsterberg himself, who is widely regarded as one of the founders of applied psychology, at times urged caution in applying psychological research findings to real-world problems…

Bornstein and Meissner go on to highlight two other reasons to revisit the issue of applying psychology in the courtroom: First, despite the increasing acceptance of eyewitness research in the courtroom (they say the “American courtroom” but of course other countries’ judicial systems have also taken note) there remain disagreements about the quality and ecological validity of such research. And second, the editors suggest that the “trend for greater acceptance of research findings by the legal system has, in the opinions of some observers, created a situation in which there is an overemphasis on practical questions, accompanied by a lack of theoretical relevance”. In other words, applied researchers need to pay equal attention to theoretical and practical implications of their research.

The articles in this issue set eyewitness research in a historical context and address the specific issues associated with such research and its applications. Highly recommended.

Contents include:

  • Basic and applied issues in eyewitness research: A Münsterberg centennial retrospective – Brian H. Bornstein, Christian A. Meissner
  • Lessons from the origins of eyewitness testimony research in Europe – Siegfried Ludwig Sporer
  • Hugo who? G. F. Arnold’s alternative early approach to psychology and law – Brian H. Bornstein, Steven D. Penrod
  • Toward a more informative psychological science of eyewitness evidence – John Turtle, J. Don Read, D. Stephen Lindsay, C. A. Elizabeth Brimacombe
  • A “middle road” approach to bridging the basic-applied divide in eyewitness identification research – Sean M. Lane, Christian A. Meissner
  • Study space analysis for policy development – Roy S. Malpass, Colin G. Tredoux, Nadja Schreiber Compo, Dawn McQuiston-Surrett, Otto H. MacLin, Laura A. Zimmerman, Lisa D. Topp
  • The importance (necessity) of computational modelling for eyewitness identification research – Steven E. Clark
  • Estimating the impact of estimator variables on eyewitness identification: A fruitful marriage of practical problem solving and psychological theorizing – Kenneth A. Deffenbacher
  • Eyewitness confidence and latency: Indices of memory processes not just markers of accuracy – Neil Brewer, Nathan Weber
  • Münsterberg’s legacy: What does eyewitness research tell us about the reliability of eyewitness testimony? – Amina Memon, Serena Mastroberardino, Joanne Fraser
  • Theory, logic and data: Paths to a more coherent eyewitness science – Gary L. Wells

See also:

Recently advertised academic positions

jobless

This is the last time the recently advertised jobs round-up will be published on Psychology and Crime News. Job-seekers can register directly with Jobs.ac.uk to get updates on job opportunities in criminology and forensic psychology direct to their inbox. Other job hunting resources can be found here.

Recently advertised jobs from the last 10 days:

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Criminal Justice, School of Law, Kingston University (UK): Applications are invited for PhD research projects in Criminal Justice. Closing date: 4th September 2008

Research Assistant / Research Associate, UCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, University College London: The successful applicant will be employed on a project with Merseyside Police on the application of data mining and other computational approaches in the analysis of crime (and other) data. Closing date: 22nd September 2008

Photo credit: Khalilshah, Creative Commons License

Seminar: Obtaining evidence from vulnerable witnesses

Via the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research:

The SIPR [Scottish Institute for Policing Research] Evidence & Investigation Network and Grampian Police have organised a seminar exploring child witnesses and witnesses with learning disabilities. The audience will consist of academics, representatives from the police and the criminal justice system and members of the Scottish Executive.

The free seminar will be held on 15 October in Aberdeen. Speakers include Dr Derek Carson (University of Abertay), Professor Amina Memon (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Penny Woolnough (Grampian Police).

Register using the form here (pdf).

New issue: Psychology, Crime & Law

journals

The latest issue of Psychology, Crime & Law (Volume 14 Issue 3) is one of those issues where almost all the articles look tempting. Given my particular interest in deception I’ll be starting with Granhag and Hartwig’s intriguing offering on mind-reading and deception detection, but the articles on how TV affects legal decision making and linking crimes in serial homicide will be next on the list.

Here’s the line-up:

  • What judges know about eyewitness testimony: A comparison of Norwegian and US judges (Svein Magnussen; Richard A. Wise; Abid Q. Raja; Martin A. Safer; Nell Pawlenko; Ulf Stridbeck)
  • A new theoretical perspective on deception detection: On the psychology of instrumental mind-reading (Pär Anders Granhag; Maria Hartwig)
  • Perceptions of children during a police interrogation: Guilt, confessions, and interview fairness (Allison D. Redlich; Jodi A. Quas; Simona Ghetti)
  • ‘Objection, Your Honor! Television is not the relevant authority.’ Crime drama portrayals of eyewitness issues (Sarah L. Desmarais; Heather L. Price; J. Don Read)
  • Behavioural crime linking in serial homicide (Pekka Santtila; Tom Pakkanen; Angelo Zappalà; Dario Bosco; Maria Valkama; Andreas Mokros)
  • What do prisoners want? Current concerns of adult male prisoners (Mary McMurran; Eleni Theodosi; Anna Sweeney; Joselyn Sellen)

Global Uncertainties: Security for All in a Changing World Programme

Details of opportunities for fellowship funding from the UK Research Councils:

The cross-Council programme focuses on the nature and interactions of five global issues: conflict, crime, environmental degradation, poverty and terrorism, and their implications for various concepts and contexts of security and insecurity. Within this framework, this fellowship call focuses specifically on how ideas and beliefs of individuals, communities and nation states relate to these five global phenomena.

Fellowship applications under this call must address one or more of the following key research areas:

  1. How do individuals and communities develop their ideas and beliefs about security and insecurity?
  2. Why do some ideas and beliefs lead to conflict, violence or criminal activity? What lessons can we learn… that provide the basis for countering those ideas and beliefs that reinforce conflict, violence and crime?
  3. How do issues around the cycle of knowledge production and use interact with the creation, management and resolution of insecurities?
  4. How are risks and threats communicated, constructed, represented and received by key actors and communities, using different media and cultural forms for different audiences, including the use of language, images and symbolism?
  5. Is there an acceptable balance between national security needs and the protection of civil liberties and human rights? If so, can one be secured? And how do we balance local needs against global responsibilities within a security context?
  6. How should institutions with responsibility for different aspects of a broad security agenda, including security forces themselves, evolve to meet new risks and threats?

It’s an exciting opportunity for researchers based in the UK, and the funding is also available to non-UK researchers looking for a chance to work at a UK institution:

Applications are open to both senior/professorial level researchers and to researchers at an earlier stage in their research career looking to achieve an international research leadership role during the period of the fellowship (minimum 3 years post-doctoral, or equivalent, research experience). Applications from leading overseas researchers seeking to conduct research on a relevant topic at an eligible UK research institution will also be welcomed. Applications from researchers who have not previously worked on security issues but wish to apply their expertise to research in this more broadly construed security agenda are encouraged.

The deadline for applications is 25th September 2008. Many more details, including FAQs [pdf] and a programme overview [pdf] via the ESRC website.