115 terms

Psyc 162 Midterm 1


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What is forensic psychology?
Application of methods, theories, and concepts of psychology to a wide variety of topics within the legal system
Forensic Scientists:
-analyze, compare, identify & interpret physical evidence
-Link physical evidence to the suspect, victim and crime scene
-Forensic psych in fingerprints: match how good these tests actually are
Trial Consultant
-Mock trials → test a case before it actually goes to trial
-Jury selection
-Judge research → what does the judge like and dislike
-Geographic Profiling → done to find where the perp may be living, where his place of operation might be
-Criminal Profiling
Researcher/Expert Witness
Are eyewitnesses reliable?
False confessions
-Family custody issues
-Predicting future violent behavior
Family Court
-Child custody evaluations
-Child abuse evaluations
-Mediation of Parental
-Conflicts about children
Civil Court
-Personal Injury evaluations
-Sexual harassment and discrimination
-Psychology autopsies
Criminal Court
-Competency and diminished capacity evaluations
-Credibility of eyewitness identification
The Innocence Project
-Since 1989, the innocence project has used DNA testing to exonerate hundreds of innocent people who were wrongfully convicted and sent to prison
-Around 350 people have been exonerated
Gross, O'Brien, Hu & Kennedy
-What percentage of death row inmates are innocent?
-1.6% of deathrow inmates were fully exonerated (117 cases)
-Presented a conservative estimate of the proportion of erroneous convictions of defendants sentenced to death in the US from 1973 through 2004, 4.1%
-35% removed from deathrow -- probably totally innocent
Hugo Munsterberg
-Awarded Phd in 1885
-Student of Wilhelm Wundt
-Met william James in 1891 and through him became professor at Harvard
-Applied Emphasis
Applied Emphasis
-Wundt: psychology should be pure (basic) science, detached from practical concerns
-Munsterberg: psychology should be applied to practical concerns (legal setting) → forensic psychology (this is applied)
On the Witness Stand (1908)
-book written by Munsterberg
-really anticipated what psychology would be like in the future
-Like eyewitness is fallible
-Visualized Expert witnesses
-Subject is witness to a crime (eg. the victim)
-Goal is to elicit accurate information to facilitate the investigation
-A problem is that witnesses (especially children) can be inadvertently induced to provide false information that leads to an innocent person being convicted
-Subject is a person suspected of having committed a crime
-Goals are to:

1. Establish if the suspect is the perpetrator (eliciting confession)
2. Elicit accurate information to facilitate the investigation

-A problem is that witnesses will sometimes confess to a crime they did not commit
Warm-up period
-Inform the witness about the subject of the interview
-Place witness at ease, reduce anxiety
Mainbody of interview
-Use open-ended questions
-Phrase questions positively, not suggestively
-Place questions in chronological order
-Review answers
-Ask if anything was left out
Forensic Hypnosis
An investigative memory retrieval technique used to enhance recall in legally relevant situations
is a state of increased receptivity to suggestion characterized by an altered state of consciousness → may be state of enhanced relaxation
Problems with Forensic Hypnosis
-Under hypnosis they may construct a false memory without realizing it
-After hypnosis, confidence in false memories may be increased ("memory hardening")
Is forensic hypnosis at all useful?
1985 → american medical association recommended the use of hypnosis be limited to the investigative process and that results not be used as evidence in court
1976 Chowchilla kidnapping case
Kidnapped a busload to school kids and took them out in the dessert
Few courts allow the introduction of hypnotically induced information
Texas and Nevada are exceptions
Cognitive interview
-Different approach to enhancing recall
Makes use of mnemonics (memory jogging techniques)

-A recent review article found that the use of the interview results in a large and significant increase in correct details and a small increase in errors
4 Mnemonics:
1. Reconstruction
2. Report Everything
3. Change the Order of Events
4. Change Perspectives
mentally reconstruct the context of event (sensory cues, people present)
Report Everything
report every detail, regardless of apparent importance
Change the Order of Events
recall the events in a variety of orders, moving back and forwards in time
Change Perspectives
recall from different points of view
how accurate is the information recalled during Cognitive Interview
Accuracy was high or slightly high in CI interviews than in the comparison interviews → around 80% was correct
Real-world Studies of Interviews
-Crimes are sometimes captured on closed-circuit television, which can be used to validate interview recollections
-One study found that 96% of "action details" were correct
-Another study found that description details of armed robbers were 87% correct
Important Interview Considerations
1. The forensic interview should be conducted soon after the witnessed event because memory can be contaminated
-Like conversation with other witness
-TV coverage

2. Pay attention to confidence
-Fact recall with high confidence is far more reliable
Granhag et al
-Conducted an archival police study of 29 people who witnessed the murder of swedish foreign minister
-The witnesses were gather together and discussed what they saw before being interviewed
-Only 58% of the attributes they reported were correct
Roberts & Higham
-After watching a videotape of a simulated robbery, laboratory witnesses were interviewed about their recollections of the event
-Later witnesses were asked to make confidence judgments (1-7 scale) about each detail that was reported earlier
-Accuracy score = correct details / (correct details + incorrect details)
-High confidence = high proportion correct and vice versa
Odinot, wolters and van Koppen
-Interviewed witness of an armed robbery that occurred three months earlier
-The accuracy of their answers could be independently verified because of cameras
Interviewing children and juveniles
-Blurry line between right and wrong, reality and fantasy
-Easily influenced and manipulated, because they want to please adults
-Especially prone to providing false information
McMartin Preschool Case
-Police send letter to parents that basically says that kids were being molested
-Ray Bucky, an employee, was arrested in 1983 on child molestation charges
-200 parents sent letters, 400 children assessed
-Interviewing techniques implanted false memories of sexual abuse into scores of these children → using dolls implanted memories
General Principles of Interviewing children
-A spontaneous report of having been abused especially when the child provides consistent, credible details of the incident in age-appropriate language is likely credible
-When the first interviewed uses open-ended and non-leading questions and the child is encouraged to provide a narrative account in his of her own words, the information obtained is reliable and forensically useful
NICHD Investigative Protocol
-Developed by research at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- Way of questioning children in an efficient way
- Avoid close-ended/leading prompts
Introductory phase of NICHD
Interviewer introduces themselves, clarifies the child's task (describe vents) and explains the ground rules and expectations (correct interviewed or say they dont know)
Rapport-building phase of NICHD
Designed to create related and supportive environment
Children are prompted to describe a recently experience neutral event in detail
Close-ended prompts
Close-ended prompts end with yes or no answer
Leading prompts
suggest incidents that the child has not mentioned
Non-suggestive prompt to continue with an ongoing response
an open-ended request that the child recall information about the incident (tell me more about that)
a type of invitation which refocuses the child's attention on details they mentioned and uses them as cues to prompt further free-recall of information (you mentioned that...)
Which children produce the most details with invitation statements?
older children
non-protocol vs Protocol interviews (children)
-Non-protocol interviews elicited no very many details from invitations/suggestions
-After training, invitation-elicited details skyrocketed
-Interviewers get better but it's not perfect
It is "custodial" interrogation when
-Freedom of movement is significantly restricted
-A reasonable person would have felt he or she was not at liberty to end the interrogation and leave
Miranda Rights Goals
-To discourage police from using coercion
-To prevent involuntary confessions
Rights in Miranda Rights
-To remain silent
-To have attorney present during questioning
-To have appointed attorney when financial need exists
-To acknowledge understanding of rights
Do suspects make use of their miranda rights?
-Innocent people feel they have nothing to hide and foten waive their rights
-Having waive their right to silence, an innocent suspect can end up making false confession
-80% waive their rights; more than 90% of juvenile waive their rights
Presence of a parent
many states require to protect young suspects (may not help because adults often urge children to cooperate with police)
Police interrogation Practices
-Isolating suspect from family
-Small private interrogation room
-Pretending to have independent evidence of guilt
-Minimizing the moral seriousness of the offense
after promise of using both leniency and minimization innocent people were
more likely to confess
Power of Confession
-With a confession, juries tend to reach a guilty verdict
-When confession occured, mock jurors were more likely to convict
-Low pressure vs high pressure interrogation were very similar conviction rates
Fundamental Attribution error
-Tendency to overemphasize dispositional explanations for individuals behavior while minimizing situation causes
-Most people believe they would never falsely confess to a crime
-Juror interpret confession as reflection of actual guilt, discount external causes such as coercion
Wrongful convictions reasons (Innocence Project)
-72% eyewitness misidentification
Hit Rate
Proportion of guilty people that confess (totally independent from innocent population)
False Alarm Rate
innocent people that confessed from total group of innocent people
Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC)
-Looking at hit rate and false alarm rate in a new way
- creates a curve
- This means that this data is DIAGNOSTIC and not perfect
- It is a trade-off curve based on ones values
Four Types of False Confessions
1. Instrumental-coerced
2. Authentic-Coerced
3. Instrumental-voluntary
4. Authentic-voluntary
-End interrogation by acquiescence
-Occurs in response to a desire to escape further interrogation
-Knows they did not commit the crime
Michael Crowe Case
-admitted to murder of sister even though he knew he didn't do it (two-paths lie used and attack on memory)
- Example of Instrumental-Coerced confession
-Confessor becomes persuaded that he or she is guilty
-Results from highly suggestive interrogations
-Confessor comes to believe they actually did the crime
Peter Reilly Case
-took polygraph and they told him he lied so he must have beaten mother. -After 8 hours of interrogation he confessed believing he actually did it
Protect someone else, gain notoriety
Authentic- Voluntary:
delusional or mentally ill
Voluntary False Confessions
-Occurs without being prompted by the police
-Can be result of desire for notoriety, inability to distinguish fact from fantasy, attempt to protect the real offender
Central park jogger case
-1989 female jogger beaten and raped.
-Survived but could not remember anything
-5 black and hispanic boys were arrested and then confessed to crime following 30 hours of interrogation
-Taped confessions were compelling → each defendant described vivid but erroneous details
-In 2002, Matias Reyes admited to rapes and murder
Police Interrogations and Confessions:
Personal risk factors
Cognitive and intellectual disability
Police Interrogations and Confessions: Situation Risk Factors
1. Duration → vast majority of interrogation last from 30 min to 2 hours

2. Interrogation tactics → lying and minimization
For confessions to be admitted into court they must be:
-Given voluntarily
-Given by person who is competent
Potential Solutions of Problems of False Confessions
-Video recording of interrogations
-Limit duration
-Ban the "false evidence ploy"
-Special protections for vulnerable populations
Paul Ekman
one of the foremost experts on deception detection
Bond and DePaulo:
- a meta-analysis of 253 studies on deception revealed overall accuracy of lie detection in people was approximately 53%
- People fare only slightly better than a coin toss at detecting deception
Paul Ekman's approach to studying lie detection
-Assumption: any ability to detect a lie requires that the lie arouse emotions (liar has to be lying about something important)
- focused on microexpressions in low-stakes versus high-stakes lies
Low Stakes lie
lies do not elicit emotion, so the lies would be hard to detect
high stakes lie
lies arouse emotion that create facial expressions that leak through attempts to mask them (potentially detectable)
Do facial expressions differ in any measurable way when someone is lying compared to when they are telling the truth?
-Using high stakes lies, Ekman and his colleagues found measurable differences
-Subtle facial movements associated with being happy occurred during truthful conditions
-Subtle facial movements associated with negative emotions occurred during lying condition
General approach to studying whether or not people can detect lying
-10 confederates lie or tell truth in each condition - important lies, not trivial
-5 confederates are lying and five are telling the truth
-Test takers watch each person on tape and indicated whether or not the person is lying
Emotion deception judgement task
-A confederate talks about watching a nature video while watching an upsetting video (lying)
-A confederate talks about watching a nature video while watching a nature video (truth)
Opinion deception judgement task
-Express opinion that goes against your strong beliefs (lie)
-Express an opinion that agrees with your strong beliefs (truth)
Crime Deception Judgements task
Deny stealing 50
Admit to stealing 50
Wright, Whelan, Wagstaff and Wheatcroft
-Participants: 70 police officers and 37 undergraduates
-Stimuli: videos of people making public appeals for help with missing relatives (high stakes); 18 were honest and 18 deceptive
-Participants decided who was telling truth/life and rated confidence
-Results: Police were 72% correct, undergraduates 68% correct (both better than chance)
Higher confidence means
higher accuracy
Actively Prompting information to Detect Lies
-Police do not merely passively watch demeanour, instead actively question suspect
-What makes an expert adept at lie detection is not the passive observation of demeanor but the active prompting of diagnostic information
Levine et al
-Participants played trivia game with a partner for cash prize of 10 each for each correct response
-Partner was a trained research confederate acting as another subject
-Between 3 and 4 questions the experimenter was called out of the room, at which point the confederate suggested cheating
-Cheating occured in 45 % of tests
-Interviewers were five federal agents with substantial polygraph and interrogation experiences
-Interviews were unscripted and varied
-Judgments were around 98% correct and 85% rate of confessions
Criticism of Levine et al
-Trivia questions were almost impossible for anyone to answer
-If someone answered several correctly, it was already easy to tell that they were cheating
The polygraph
An instrument that simultaneously records changes in physiological processes such as HR, BP, respiration
The underlying theory of the polygraph is that
when people lie, they also get measurably nervous about lying. HR increases, BP goes up, breathing changes etc.
William Moulton Martson
-Student of Munsterberg at Harvard
-Discovered correlation between blood pressure and arousal during lying
-Invented wonder women
John Augustus Larson
-Rookie police officer in Berkeley CA
-Read Marston's article "Physiological Possibilities of the Deception Test"
-Was getting PhD in Physiology → improved Marston's test through continuous recording of BP
First Real-world application of polygraph
-Berkeley sorority house - 1921
-Money and and expensive ring had been stolen
-Larson asked suspects questions while hooked up to BP gage
Relevant/Irrelevant Test
-Ask irrelevant questions
-Ask questions relevant to the crime
-If arousal(relevant) is greater than arousal(irrelevant) then they are guilty of lying
-Concern is that people might get aroused any time that they need to tell a truth or lie
Comparison Question Test (Control Question)
-Add a probable-lie comparison question (Have you ever harmed anyone)
-Generate lie but it's a smaller lie -- some people will get aroused by this (helps to weed out if someone is truly lying or just nervous)
-Arousal(relevant) is greater than arousal(comparison) = guilty of lying
Concealed Information (Guilty Knowledge) Test
-Present one true and several false details of an incident that has not been publicized, so the true answer would only be known to perp
-Innocent suspects will not be more aroused in response to the true item, but guilty suspects will be
-Arousal (true) bigger than arousal (false) = guilty than lying
Concerns about the Comparison Question Test
-It may provide insufficient protection for the innocent
-The innocent suspect knows he's a suspect and realizes that this is the key question -- he may also believe that this is his last chance to convince the investigator that he is innocent
Carmel et Al
-Participants were instructed to enter the office of a named TA in psychology and steal a CD with a red case containing an exam
-Told to convince the examiner that they were innocent
-Hooked up to polygraph and given guilty knowledge questions
-Guilty person will show elevated activity to details of crime
-Innocent person doesnt know the answer
Polygraph ROC
-How do we get more points on the curve?
-CHANGE THE CUT-OFF -- it's totally arbitrary so change it to get more points on the curve and see how the hit/false alarm rates change
So do polygraphs work?
-They plotted the ROC's of a bunch of polygraph tests
-Many believe it is worse for the relevant-irrelevant method and best for the guilty knowledge method
-The data suggest that all methods are about equally effective
-Polygraphs are at least diagnostic of lying
The Green River Killer
-Investigators had a new suspect in relation to Green River Murders
-He was previously known to police, and suspect had been picked up attempting to solicit undercover cop
-Man was released after successfully passed lie detector test
Base Rate Problem
-In screening environment
100 who are lying for 10,000 that are telling truth
-Now it's 100/100 hit rate
500/10,000 false alarm
-The base rates are totally unbalanced
-Keypoint: it's still a good test but now we are using it in a context where the base rates are heavily unbalanced
Using polygraph test in the "probable cause" scenario
-The police already have reason to suspect a particular person of a crime
-For every 200 suspects given a polygraph, around 100 will be innocent and around 100 will be guilty (50/50)
Using a polygraph test to search for a suspect (screening)
-Almost everyone will be innocent
-For every 100 employee given polygraph, around 198 will be innocent and 2 will be guilty
What's the problem with screening
-Far more examinees are innocent than guilty
-Therefore, even a good test (high hit, low FA) will wrongly identify far more innocent people than guilty people
Daubert v Merrell
-Admissibility of scientific evidence determined case-by-case based on evidentiary hearings
-Judge makes the call (after considering if there is a scientific consensus)
1998 Justice Clarence Thomas
-express concerns about polygraph testing
-Lack of consensus about validity and reliability
Polygraph as Coercion
-Used to induce confessions
-Presented as opportunity to prove innocence
-If you confess during course of interrogation is admissible
-The polygraph is used to get people to falsely confess
Jurors and the Polygraph
-Jurors generally find results persuasive
-Results can change outcome of a trail
-Experts are more skeptical than general public
fMRI detects
-"where" lying occurs in the brain
-Does not measure physiological arousal, so it might even be able to detect low-stakes lies
Langleben et al
-Participants were told to peak at this card and that they would receive 20 dollars if they concealed its identity from the brain scanner (guilty knowledge test)
-Compared brain activity between telling lie or truth
-Neural correlates of deception
-ACC showed increased activity during lying
basic problem of fMRI results
-it's really noisy and have to average activity out of a bunch of different people.
-For one person, it's just a noisy mess