Forensic posts on psych blogs – round-up

There have been a number of interesting forensic posts on other blogs in the last couple of weeks.

Mind Hacks carries a report on an unusual court case from Australia. The original report reveals that:

A man has been acquitted of raping a woman – because she had at least 14 personalities. In a bizarre case, a jury was told that the 40-year-old man was accused of sexually assaulting the woman 11 times in her home in 2004 while some of her alter egos looked on and at times intervened.

MH adds commentary about Dissociative Identity Disorder (more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).

The last issue of the BPS Research Digest blog highlights new research on burglary from Claire Nee and Amy Meenaghan in the latest issue of British Journal of Criminology:

The way burglars select houses to target, and how they search once inside, reveal evidence of an expert mind at work. […] Nee and Meenaghan interviewed 50 jailed burglars, all of whom had committed at least 20 burglaries in the last three years; half had committed more than 100. There was also evidence of expertise in the stereotyped way the burglars reported checking for relative wealth, occupancy, access and security when selecting houses to target.

Reference:Nee, C. & Meenaghan, A. (2006). Expert decision making in burglars. British Journal of Criminology, 46, 935-949.

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The erudite psych blog Cognitive Daily (1 Sept) wonders, did violent media make Alvaro Castillo kill his father? At the end of August, Castillo drove into a North Carolina school and started shooting at the school. Two students were injured. CD takes up the story:

At Castillo’s home, a more gruesome scene was found: his father’s dead body, shot four times, covered with a sheet. After killing his father, Castillo had recorded his thoughts on video: “Look at me. I’m not even crying. I just killed him and I feel fine,” he said. In the video, Castillo spends most of his time offering commentary on violent movies playing on his small TV. Did these violent films, which he says he’s been watching since he was eight years old, have anything to do with the murder and shooting?

[…] The evidence from the Castillo adds support to the notion that parenting may be a significant — perhaps the most significant — part of the equation. […] Clearly Castillo’s abusive upbringing had a lot to do with his shooting spree. But did violent movies help egg him on? It’s difficult to say where one influence began and the next one ended. It’s certainly likely that viewing so much violence at such a young age desensitized Castillo.

UPDATE (12 Sept): Local paper the News & Observer has extensive coverage of the murder (including links to excerpts from Castillo’s video).

Petra Boynton has a post on proposals in the UK to outlaw violent porn (30 August):

As you may have seen in the news today a UK mother has won a battle to ban the possession of violent pornographic images after her daughter was murdered by a man who allegedly consumed violent porn regularly. There is violent porn available that features the abuse of children, adults and animals and most people would agree it is something that needs to be targetted and controlled. However, it’s not really clear if this proposed legal change will really protect those at risk.

The proposal is the result of a Home Office consultation carried out over the last year. Boynton comments:

[…] Worryingly in this consultation a response was taken from The British Psychological Society that claimed the evidence is that violent pornography causes violent sexual behaviour – and yet the overwhelming amount of psychological research either does not show this or is based on studies so flawed it’s impossible to draw safe conclusions from them.