Psychology and the Law Midterm Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Weapons Focus Effect
What people recall-"Best guess" problem
Emotional reaction in direct contradiction to instructions that limits behavioral freedom
("Don't think about this, you can't consider it")
Mens Rea
"Guilty Mind"
Person must have the mental capacity to commit a crime
What people store in memory-Misleading questions, source monitoring errors
When someone is speaking and remembering things that happened, a flash of emotion will wash over their face
Liars try to hide this expression quickly, resulting in a micro-expression
Investigators try to elicit a confession by minimizing the crime and making suspect look toward the future in order to confess
Implies leniency if the suspect confesses
USS Iowa
Psychological autopsy case
Appealed to the SC and found that psychological autopsies had no validity
In general, though, they are still allowed in civil cases
Mad Bomber
First psychological profile developed in the US
Done by James Brussel
Closely fit his description, but arrest didn't stem from the profile but hard evidence
Profile wasn't even very consistent
Abuse Excuse
Menendez case - unsuccessful
Lorena Bobbit case - successful because abuse was framed as insanity defense
Criminal Profiling
Now called Criminal Investigative Analysis
The process of identifying personality traits, behavioral tendencies, geographic locations, and demographic descriptors of an offenderd based on the characteristics of the crime or crime scene
Rests on the assumption that people has consistent behavioral traits*
Assumes that situation factors aren't that important
The BIG THREE (multiple murders)
hard-coreabuse (usually sexual),enuresis, and torturing animals
Sell v. US
Dentist case who was delusional
Refuses to take medication
SC found that the state can forcefully administer medication to render a defendant competent to stand trial under certain circumstances:
Important government issues at stake
Treatment is unlikely to have side effects that will undermine the fairness of the trial
Medication is necessary (other less intrusive means of treatment have been tried)
Harris Study
Children have a hard time distinguishing reality from fantasy when asked to use their imaginations
Central Park Jogger
Police forcefully interrogate five black youths after brutal rape of a woman in Central Park
They all confess after being promised that they can go home
All of their stories contradict one another and were very different
All were found guilty even though DNA evidence didn't match any of them
Idea that hypnosis might increase the recall of events
However, hypnosis also causes people to have more difficulty distinguishing between true and false memories
Also puts people in a more suggestive state
Equality versus Discretion
Federal sentencing guidelines made sentences more regulated, took power away from the judge, and gave more power to prosecutors
Psychological Autopsies
Seeks to examine the psychological state of a person prior to their death
Tries to determine if death is natural, accident, suicide, or homicide
Demographic Variables
Estimator variable
Men and women are equal
The very young and very old make more mistakes in target absent lineups
Children are also overconfident in their choices
deterrence theory
people's judgments about the fairness of the procedures used to determine outcomes, such as whether they are innocent or guilty
Suggestive Interviewing Techniques
In reality, children can usually disclose any sort of abuse when questioned – suggestive interviewing techniques are rarely useful
Hypnosis and Eyewitnesses
-Hypnosis induces a trancelike state that gives the hypnotized unique mental abilities-Hypnosis induces extreme suggestibility and responsiveness to stimuli/questions
Behavioral Analysis Interview
Intensive program established by Reid, Buckley, and Jayne to train interrogators to distinguish lies from truths
Uses verbal cues, nonverbal cues, and behavioral attitudes
Entire goal is to elicit a confession
Claim that they only interrogate guilty people and that these methods are justified
Irresistable Impulse
Because of mental illness, the person lost the power to resist engaging in wrong behavior even though they nkow that it is against societal standard
Very ambiguous and hard to determine
Policeman at the elbow test - would they have done it if a policeman had been at their elbow?
Binet's Observations of Children
More suggestible than adults
More influenced by examiner's questions
More confident after repeated questioning but less accurate
More suggestible in groups
More accurate through free recall
Brazil Study
Gave examples of gross behavior that violated social conventions and morals (stories were harmless but violated purity)
Found that lower classes saw acts as moral issues that needed to be punished
Upper classes saw them more as social conventions that didn't need to be punished
Definition of Law
Rules of conduct that regulate behavior and interactions
Only used when others forms of social control fail (such as customs or conventions)
The more laws, the more diverse the society
Is also used for conflict resolution
Tom Tyler Studies
Procedural Justice
If not treated with respect or objectivity, law is seen as less legitimate (mostly by African Americans)
Age of Criminals
Criminals are generally of young age
Criminal activity depends more on age than any other factor
Biological - adolescence is a time of "storm and stress," forging identity, and growth
Societal - same problems with adolescence are not seen around the world
Social Push
Genetic factors are more evident in low risk environments, while a high risk environment generally hides genetic factors
Robert Alton Harris Case
Disgusting, impulsive crime
Tried to use FAS as a mitigating factor in his trial to prevent the death penalty
Couldn't prove that FAS was the sole cause of his condition
Environmental Factors of Criminality

Presence of Guns in US
Handling guns increases testosterone and agression
Hot Sauce Study - measured testosterone levels before and after handling a gun, and then measured how much hot sauce participants put in a cup of water (measure of aggression)
Found that those that handled the gun put more hot sauce (were more aggressive)
Horns and Halo Effect
Physical unattractiveness is more likely to produce delinquency because a person is less likely to be noticed in school (horns)
Physical Attractiveness is more likely to produce a non-delinquent person because people are more forgiving to those that are more attractive (halo)
Criminalization of the Mentally Ill
Factors that have led to an increase in prison populations of the Mentally Ill
De-institutionalization (asylums had become less theraputic as they were being overrun with patients; also, new drugs were available)
Changes in commitment laws (had to be a danger to themselves or others)
Changes in sentencing laws
Failure of the community to provide services
Attitude of the Police (easier and quicker to process the mentally ill through the judicial system)
A regression back to a more primative state (Lombroso)
Wade Trilogy
Required the presence of council at all pre-trial matters and investigative procedures
Took into account the totality of the circumstances, though
the process whereby memories for an event become distorted by information encountered after the even has occurred
reconstructive memory
false memory syndrome
aside from eyewitness testimony, other kinds of evidence
those factors that can be manipulated to increase (or decrease) eyewitness accuracy e.g., the type of lineup the witness is exposed to
system variables
The Paul Ingram Case
In 1988, Paul Ingram’s daughters accused him of:-sexual abuse-satanic rituals-murder-events they claimed to have recalled suddenly years after they occurred
Bond and DePaulo (2006)
Determined that people are correct only 54% of the time, hardly more than chance
Behavioral Confirmation Study
(Stealing Money Study by Kassin)
Had undergraduates steal money or not from cabinet
Told intestigators that either 4/5 were guilty (presumption of guilt) or 1/5 were guilty (presumption of innocence)
Interrogators were more likely to think that innocent suspects were guilty than actual guilty suspects (especially when there was a presumption of guilt)
In part due to behavioral confirmation - investigator forms a belief, behaves toward suspect in that manner, and suspect responds in way that supports investigator's belief
Frye Standard and Polygraph
Frye standard - scientific evidence can only be admitted into evidence if it is generally accepted by the scientific community
Polygraphs currently do not meet the Frye standard and are thus not considered admissible in court
Frye has been superceeded by Daubert in federal court, and the practice has been adopted by many state courts (some still go by just Frye)
Funnel Technique
emphasizes the use of free recall and open ended questions when interviewing children then moving to specific questions
Brain Fingerprinting
EEG response to a stimuli of special significance in a case is monitored
If stimuli is meaningful for the suspect, brain reaction indicates they are familiar with it and are thus guilty
Addington v. Texas
Sets burden of proof at "clear and convincing" in order to involuntarily commit someone
Greater than a preponderence of the evidence, but less than beyond a reasonable doubt
Tried to claim that standard should be set at beyond a reasonable doubt because of loss of freedom, but SC didn't buy it
Arizona v. Fulminante
Supreme Court rules that appeals can't be granted based on the fact that interviews were coerced or because of wrongful confessions
States that confessions are just like any other piece of evidence
States that confessions are "harmless," but several studies say otherwise
Liberation hypothesis
Judges feel more freedom in choosing a verdict and presiding over trial if the offense is less serious
The more serious the offense, the less control and leniency the judge feels like they have
Batson v. Kentucky
Judge excluded all blacks from the jury
SC finds that challenges cannot be made on the basis of race or gender
If challenged, attorneys must give reason
Godinez v. Moran
Man confesses murdering his wife and several other people, decides to plead not guilty, is found competent, waives his counsel during the trial, pleads guilty, is sentenced to death, and appeals his case
Claims that he wasn't competent to stand trial
SC states that because he was found competent to stand trial, he was competent to plead guilty and take the consequences
Commonsense Justice
More likely to see outcomes as fair when they follow our commonsense judgments of fairness
Must follow the sentiments of the community
If it doesn't, then the law is seen as illegitimate
Law often does not match commonsense beliefs or human intuitions
Individual versus Community
Due process increases number of guilty people freed
Crime control increase the number of innocent people convicted
Three Strike laws are an example of crime control
In a study, found that three strike laws actually made the third felony more violent than in the past
Three strike laws aged the prison population and made it more expensive to maintain
Cross-Race Identification
Much easier to identify people of the same race than of other races
Might be caused by perceptual expertise and social categorization models

Blair Experiment - Pictures
Found that psychopaths should reduced responsiveness to distress stimuli (pictures of people and children in distress)
Lack of empathy
Treatment of Psychopaths
Therapy is difficult because it often reinforces how to manipulate others
Also, psychopaths rarely form attachments, which is the basis of therapy
Punishments are ineffective
But aging helps (lack of energy)
Actuarial versus Clinical predictions
Actuarial prediction - use specific rules about which risk factors are used in assessment and how much credence is given to each
Clinical predictions - consider and assess risk factors based on interaction and overall expreience
Although actuarial predictions are much more accurate, clinical testimony has a greater impact on juries and is more immune to cross examination
Ethanasia Study
Had mock jurors decide mock murder and euthanasia cases in which victim was either sympathetic or unsympathetic
Found that jurors were less likely to find defendant guilty if victim was unsympathetic and vice versa when given nullification instructions
Jurors are guided by their emotions
Jury Nullification
Cases in which jurors are guided by their own moral intuitions rather than the law
Jurors can ask themselves the law is right and appropriate
SC - jurors don't have the right to nullify, but they still can because they don't have to give a reason behind verdict
Many believe nullification can lead jurors to become chaotic and base decisions on emotional responses
to be an accurate eyewitness, people must complete these three stages of memory processing; there are sources of error at each of the three stages
acquisition, storage, retrieval
the finding that people are better at recognizing faces of their own race than those of other races
own-race bias
Maryland v. Craig (1990)
-televised from other room if child will suffer psychological harm-6th amendment: defendant has right to face accuser
Wild Beast Test
If someone doesn't know what they are doing from a wild beast, then they aren't culpable
Kenneth Bianchi
The Hillside Strangler Case
Tried to fake multiple personality disorder
Psychologist proved that Bianchi was faking by introducing a fact to him
Faking incompetence is hard to do
Furman v. Georgia
Supreme Court puts a moratorium on the Death Penalty
Claims that it is being arbitrarily imposed at the time
Kansas v. Hendricks
Sexual predator who was about to be released, but the state civily committed him
SC found that this was not illegal and that civil committment was justified because he was a danger to society
Most people think this is good because sexual predators recidivate often, but this is not true
Eliminating Weapon Bias Study
Control group, avoid bias group, and use bias group
Observed bias in all, but especially in the avoid and use bias groups
If person was told to think "safe" bias could be trained out of their response
Dot Probe Study
When primed with a crime object and then a black face in the same area as the dot, subjects find the dot quicker
Sports primes also produced the same effect
Does Racial Profiling work?
By turning to racial and ethnic variables rather than suspicious behavior, police may undermine their ability to find criminals
More criminals are found when searches are based on suspicious behavior
Boston Police study - found that officers were more likely to search people with different races than them
Cohen Nisbett Studies on Southerners
Demonstrated that there was a difference in ideals of honor and use of violence between Northerners and Southerners

Used five different stages:
Story completion
Chemical changes

Found that Southerners were much more likely to respond with anger instead of amusement, increase cortisol and testosterone, and have more forceful handshake
Southerners endorse violence of a certain type, but not in general
Hoffman and Kennedy (1988)
Different kinds of crime scenes can be classified with reasonable reliability and correlate with certain characteristics of killersBUT-inaccurate profiles are common – e.g. Serial Snipers-profile statistics are based on a small number of one-on-one interviews with murderers, by FBI agents-approaches used are not always systematic – profiling is an art
Problems with the Guilty Knowledge Test for the Polygraph
Keeping details out of the Press
Assumes that the guilty party actually encoded the details and facts the interrogator is asking for
Reasons why Andrea Yates was not found NGRI
Incorrect testimony by Dietz
Death-qualified jury was assembled because the prosecutor was seeking the death penalty (really just wanted a conviction)
DQ jurors tend to have more negative views of NGRI
More likely to find the defendant guilty than excusables
Rock v. Arkansas
Case in which a woman shot her husband and could not remember because it was because of a faulty firing mechanism
Used hypnosis to remember this fact
SC found that Hypnosis cannot be completely banned
Can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis
Complete ban would limit a defendant's ability to testify on their own behalf
Rikker's Island Plastic Surgery Study
Gave some inmates that were being released from Rikker's Island cosmetic surgery
Those with plastic surgery were much less likely to recidivate
Moral Issues versus Factual Issues
Moral Issues - beliefs about how people should behave and how society should treat people
Factual Issues - beliefs about how people do behave, what influences behavior, and what the consequences of behavior are
False Memory in Adults studies
Lost Mall Study - 25% remembered after two interviews
Spilling the Punch Study - 27% remembered spilling punch on brides family, even elaborating about it
Could also implant traumatic events (being bitten by a dog) and impossible events (seeing bugs bunny at Disney World)
Hot Air Balloon Study - up to 50% of people remembered the story with doctored photo, and 75-80% recalled the memory with photo and narrative to go with it
$100 Study
(Kassin and Norwick Study)
Participants either do or do not steal $100 in a mock crime
Students are told to do whatever they can to defend their innocence
Innocent participants were much more likely to waive Miranda rights in all circumstances
Perception of Criminal Profiling Study
Framed a profiler as either an outside consultant or an FBI profiler to police officers
Found that police thought the FBI profiler was more trustworthy even though both were the same
Police may overestimate efficacy of profiling
Steven Mobley case and MAOA evidence
Robbed a dominos pizza, killed clerk, and tried to use genetics as a mitigating factor
Brunner study had just found that men without MAOA functioning had difficulty regulating impulsive aggression
Genetic evidence may demonstrate that defendants are less responsible for their actions but they are also harder to rehabilitate
Four ways of knowing that a Confession is False
Crime didn't occur - Choctaw Three
Physically impossible for suspect to have committed the crime - John Karr
Real perpetrator confesses - Central Park Jogger
Scientific evidence points to different culprit - Michael Crowe
How can you make jurors pay attention to actuarial predictions?
Have expert speak in frequencies instead of percentages
Make the scientific evidence as simple as possible and don't overwhelm the jurors
Prime them to think rationally and not with their emotions
Moffit Study about the Onset of Delinquency
Studies those with the onset of delinquency in childhood and those with the onset in adolescence
Childhood onset - rejected by peers and parents, neurological impairments, males, grew up in violent environment, and showed violence at any earlier age
Late onset - changed drastically with the coming of age, influenced by peers, behavior less violent, and disappears by adulthood
Garven, Wood, & Malpass study (2000)
I: ... The other kids say that Paco took them somewhere on a helicopter [Cowitness Information]. Did Paco take you somewhere on a helicopter?C: No.I: You're not doing good. (negative) [Reinforcement]. The other kids say that Paco took them to a farm [Cowitness Information], Did Paco take you to a farm?C: Yes.I: Great. You're doing excellent now [Reinforcement]. The other kids say that Paco showed them the animals on the farm [Cowitness Information]. Did Paco show you the animals on the farm?C: Yes.I: Great. You're doing excellent [Reinforcement]. One last question. The other kids say that Paco took them on a horse ride [Cowitness Information]. Did Paco take you on a horse ride?C: Yes.
Reasons Why Not to Ignore Children's Testimony
Samantha Runnion case - friend gave a detailed description that lead to the arrest of the murderer
Goodman ("Creepy Man" Study) - children resist telling something untrue
Children have better verbatim memory traces than adults because they don't rely on schemas (memory test as an example)
which is likely a more accurate eye witness?
"I compared everyone in the lineup, thought about it, and decided it was the defendant"
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