Like this study set? Create a free account to save it.

Sign up for an account

Already have a Quizlet account? .

Create an account

forensic psychology

application of science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and legal system
-sometimes referred as criminal psychology

psychological theories

derived from behavioural sciences and that focus on the individual as the unit of analysis.
-place the locus of crime causation within the personality of the individual offender

fundamental assumptions of psychological theories of crime causation

1. individual is primary unit of analysis
2. personality is major motivational element
3. crime results from abnormal, dysfunctional, or inappropriate mental processes within personality
4. behaviour can be judged inappropriate only when measured against external criteria purporting to establish normality
5. what majority of people in any group agree is real
6. defective, or abnormal, mental processes may have a variety of causes

psychological perspective

1. behavioural conditioning : popularized through Ivan Pavlov
2. psychopathology (Nolan Lewis)

behavioural conditioning

-frequency of any behaviour can be increased/decreased through reward, punishment or association w other stimuli

psychiatric perspective

-psychiatric criminology

psychiatric criminology

theories derived from medical sciences, including neurology, and focus on the individual as the unit of analysis

forensic psychiatry

crime as being caused by biological and psychological urges mediated through consciousness

psychoanalytic perspective

-freud coined the term psychoanalysis in 1896
-from point of psychoanalysis: criminal behaviour is maladaptive or product of inadequacies inherent in the offender's personality
-psychotherapy: attempt to relieve patients of their mental disorders through application of psychoanalytical principes and techniques
-personality is made up of 3 components:
1) id 2) ego 3) superego


fundamental aspect of personality from which drives, wishes, urges, and desires emanate
-based on pleasure principle (love, aggression, and sex)


-based upon reality principle
-may be necessary to delay gratification to achieve a more fulfilling long-term goal


-moral guide to right and wrong


psychological process whereby one item of consciousness comes to be symbolically substituted for another
eg) a man hating the mother and hatred is imposed on other women, substitutes for his mom


a death wish
-has been used to explain why some offenders seem to behave in ways that ensure their eventual capture
eg) rapist accidentally leaving wallet -> seeking to be stopped,captured..


involving anxiety, phobia, or other abnormal behaviour -most neuroses do not lead to crime
eg)fear of heights, compulsive handwashing , compulsive shoplifters

3 personality dimensions linked to criminality

1. psychoticism (hallucinations and delusions, lack of empathy, creativeness, tough-mindedness, anti-sociability)
2. extroverts (carefree, dominant, venturesome)
3. neuroticism (irrational, shy, moody, and emotional)

psychotics are the most likely to be criminal because they combine high degrees of emotionalism with similarly high levels of extroversion



personal traits are fundamentally dependent upon physiology specially upon autonomic nervous system

according to Freud, aggression is a response to frustration



form of mental illness in which suffers are said to be out of touch with reality
-suffer from hallucinations, dlusions, or othr breaks with reality

three characteristics of psychotic individuals

1. grossly distorted conception of reality
2. moods and swings of mood
3. marked inefficiency in getting along with others and caring for oneself

psychotic persons classified as schizophrenic or paranoid schizophrenic



characterized by disordered or disjointed thinking

paranoid schizophrenics

suffer from delusions and hallucinations

psychopath or sociopath

perversely cruel often without thought or feeling for his victims
-fully developed by Cleckley
-psychopathic indicators appear early in life, often in teenage years

central defining characteristics of a psychopath

poverty of affect: inability to accurately imagine how others think and feel

most definitive modern statement on psychopathy found in Psychopathy Checklist (PLC) developed by Robert Hare, U of British Columbia

PLC rates degree of psychopathy using two kinds of indicators: affective and interpersonal features
-chronic unstable and antisocial lifestyle

abnormality in the function of right anterior superior temporal gyrus in psychopathy


antisocial personality disorder

individuals displaying a personality disorder that includes aggressive, impulsive behaviour, and a general disregard for the rights of others

antisocial personality

-selfish, callous, irresponsible, impulsive, unable to feel guilt or lean from experience and punishment
-tend to blame others or offer plausible rationalization for their behaviour
-have a good chance of running afoul of the law like psychopath
-causes of ASPD are unclear

EEG taken of psychopathic patient is abnormal


diagnosing anti-social personality through physiological measurement is difficult


a major psychogenic factor contributing to development of anti-social personality disorder

lack of love immediately following birth

most antisocial personality type involve males


most psychopaths meet the criteria for ASPD but most individuals with ASPD are NOT psychopaths


one pressing need of many criminals is need to be punished`


alloplastic adaptation

form of adjustment resulting from changes in envn't surrounding an individual
-crime reduces stress by producing changes in env't

autoplastic adaptation

form of adjustment resulting from changes within an individual
-when crime leads to stress reduction as a result of internal changes in beliefs

Gabriel Tarde: basis of any society was imitation
- three laws of imitation and suggestion

1. individuals in close intimate contact with one another tend to imitate each other's behaviour
2. imitation moves from the top down
eg) poor ppl tend to imitate wealth ppl
3. law of insertion: new acts and behaviour tend to either reinforce or replace old ones

Albert Bendura's modelling theory (of aggression)

people learn how to behave by modelling themselves after others whom they have the opportunity to observe

reduction of aversive treatment

standing up for one's self can improve the way one is treated by others


result from 1. attributing blame to one's victims
2.dehumanization through bureaucratization, automation, urbanization, and high social mobility
3. vindication of aggressive practices by legitimate authorities
4. desensitization resulting from repeated exposure to aggression in any of a variety of froms

modelling theory has been criticized for lacking comprehensive explanatory power


behaviour theory

sometimes called stimulus response to human behaviour
-individual behaviour that is rewarded will increase its frequency, while that which is punished will decrease
-often employed through a series of rewards and punishments
-B.F. Skinner

operant behaviour

behavioural choices effectively operate upon the surrounding env't to produce consequences for the behaving individual
-stimuli provided by the env't become behavioral cues that serve to elicit conditioned responses from individuals

rewards and punishments 4 conceptual categories

1. positive rewards: frequency of approved behaviour by adding something desirable
2. negative rewards: increase the frequency of approved behaviour by removing something distressful from the situation
3. positive punishments: decrease the frequency of unwanted behaviour by adding something undesirable eg) spanking a bad boy
4. negative punishment: decrease the frequency of unwanted behaviour by adding something desirable
eg) taking a candy away from a bad boy

according to behavioural model, crime results when individuals receive tangible rewards (positive reinforcement)

but the theory has been criticized for ignoring the role that cognition plays in human behaviour

criminal defendant may be found not guilty by reason of mental disorder and avoid punitive sanctions een when it's clear that he committed legally circumscribed act


Criminal code of canada defines mental disrorder as

disease of the mind

mental disorder (psychological)

disease of mind including schizophrenia..

mental disorder (law)

a legally established inability to understand right from wrong, or to conform one's behaviour to the req' of the law. also, a defence allowable in criminal courts

a person is assumed to be sane and innocent at the start of criminal trial


McNaughten rule

individuals cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions if at the time of the offender either
a) did not know what they were doing
b) they did not know what they were doing was wrong

two standards are assess when the question of mental fitness arises

1. accused fit to stand trial?
2. accused's mental state at the time of the offence

not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD)

accused committed to the offence but find that the accused suffered form a mental disorder that made him incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of his/her actions or that actions were wrong

Bill C-30 passed by parliament in 1992

a person found NCRMD must attend a disposition hearing, be referred to a provincial review board made up of lawyers, psychiatrists, and other appointees
-replaces the former practice of indefinite hospitalization with a system of caps or max periods of deprivation of liberty


rough equivalence btwn the way in which criminal law treats sane and mentally disordered offenders
eg) cases of murder: outer limit is life
for all other offences, cap is lesser of two years

roughly one quarter of US states adopted guilty but mental ill (GMBI) standard

a person can be held responsible for a specific criminal act, even though a degree of mental incompetence may be present in his/her ability

selective incapacitation

a policy based on notion of career criminality
-seeks to protect society by incarcerating those individuals deemed to be the most dangerous
-strategy depends on accuratel identifying potentially dangerous offenders out of existing criminal populations

career criminals also known as habitual offenders

who repeatedly commit violations of the criminal law

selective incapacitation criticized for yielding a rate of false positives for over 60 percent
-potential violent offenders are not easy to identify


one intention of indeterminate sentence

offenders will receive mental and health treatment

correctional psychology

concerned with the diagnosis and classification of offenders, treatment of correctional populations, rehabilitation of inmates and other law violators

most commonly used classification instrument in correctional facilities

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

based on results of MMPI, offenders assigned to various security levels, differing correctional programs or variety of treatment programs


In the book, psychology of criminal conduct, Andrews and Bonta asks for the objective application of what is now understood about the psychology of crime and criminal behaviour

-conclude that treatment reduces recidivism
-targeting higher risk cases and using treatments outside of formal correctional settings that extend to an offender's family are the most effective treatment strategies

psychological profiling

used to assist criminal investigators seeking to better understand individuals wanted for serious offences
-devpt of a list of typical offender characteristics and other useful principles by analyzing crime scene data in conjunction with interviews and other studies of past offenders
-based on the belief that almost any form of conscious behaviour is symptomatic of an individual's personality

organized non-social vs. disorganized asocial types

former: exhibiting complete indifference to interests of society and being completely self-centered
"methodical and cunning"
latter: societal aversion/prefers his own company to that of others, typified as a loner/experiences difficulty in negotiating interpersonal relationships and consequently feels rejected and lonely
-crime likely to be committed in close proximity to his residence or work place where he feels most scure and ease

Through the work of Inspector Ron MacKay of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Sergeant Greg Johnston of ONtario Provincial Police (OPP), Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) was introduced in 1995.



centralized computer bank containing details of violent crime, allowing police to recognize patters among violent offences
-serving to facilitate communication between investigators with the common goal of solving serial criminal acts and protecting the public from dangerous repeat offenders

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

Voice Recording