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Behavioral Sciences & the Law

William E Crozier, Deryn Strange, Elizabeth F Loftus
Alibis play a critical role in the criminal justice system. Yet research on the process of alibi generation and evaluation is still nascent. Indeed, similar to other widely investigated psychological phenomena in the legal system - such as false confessions, historical claims of abuse, and eyewitness memory - the basic assumptions underlying alibi generation and evaluation require closer empirical scrutiny. To date, the majority of alibi research investigates the social psychological aspects of the process...
February 6, 2017: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Jennifer Willard, Max Guyll, Stephanie Madon, Jacob E Allen
One reason people falsely confess is to protect the true perpetrator. The current study examined whether relationship closeness influences people's self-reported willingness to falsely take the blame. Utilizing theoretical work from the prosocial area, three potential mediators were investigated. Participants (N = 131) were randomly assigned to think of either a close or a casual friend and then read one of two scenarios that described a minor offense committed by the friend. Participants' willingness to take the blame was assessed, as well as their perceptions of reciprocity, feelings of empathy, and distress concerns related to their relationship with the offending friend...
January 27, 2017: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Rebecca K Helm, Stephen J Ceci, Kayla A Burd
Eyewitness identification has been shown to be fallible and prone to false memory. In this study we develop and test a new method to probe the mechanisms involved in the formation of false memories in this area, and determine whether a particular memory is likely to be true or false. We created a seven-step procedure based on the Implicit Association Test to gauge implicit biases in eyewitness identification (the IATe). We show that identification errors may result from unconscious bias caused by implicit associations evoked by a given face...
January 23, 2017: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Lisa L Bell Holleran, Tyler J Vaughan, Donna M Vandiver
Previous studies have found aggravating, mitigating, and null effects of defendant histories of abuse and neglect on punishment preferences in capital sentencing. Perceiving these defendants as more dangerous, jurors may be more likely to favor the death penalty when such evidence is presented. This is counter to the intuition that abuse or neglect reduces culpability, and therefore mitigates the severity of punishment. We investigated the effect of defendant childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect on the probability of a prospective juror preferring the death penalty in an between-subject experimental design...
January 18, 2017: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Stéphanie B Marion, Tara M Burke
Police investigators, judges, and jurors are often very skeptical of alibi witness testimony. To investigate when and why individuals lie for one another, we conducted two studies in which witnesses' support of a false alibi was observed. We varied the level of social pressure exerted on witnesses and the level of affinity between suspect-witness pairs. During a study session purportedly intended to investigate dyadic problem-solving ability, a mock theft was staged. When questioned, participants were provided the opportunity to either corroborate or refute a confederate's false alibi that the latter was with them when the theft occurred...
December 23, 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Steve D Charman, Andrea Reyes, Daniella K Villalba, Jacqueline R Evans
Some innocent suspects rely on the memory of strangers to corroborate their alibis. However, no research has examined whether such potential alibi corroborators can accurately recognize an innocent suspect with whom they previously interacted. We developed a novel alibi corroboration paradigm in which undergraduate students (representing innocent suspects who would later provide an alibi) interacted with naïve university employees (representing potential alibi corroborators). Each student briefly interacted with a different naïve university employee (n = 60), and were also each yoked to a different employee with whom they did not interact (n = 60)...
October 19, 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Norair Khachatryan, Kathleen M Heide, Jordyn Rad, Erich V Hummel
Killings by juvenile homicide offenders (JHOs) who use accomplices have been increasing since the 1980s and currently represent approximately half of juvenile arrests for murder in the United States. Nevertheless, prior research has not compared JHOs who kill alone with JHOs who kill in groups. The present research followed up 30 years later on a sample of 59 male murderers and attempted murderers sentenced to adult prison. This study was designed to analyze whether lone and group JHOs differed on pre-incarceration, incarceration, and post-incarceration variables...
October 17, 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Elyse N Mowle, John F Edens, John W Clark, Karolina Sörman
Several recent studies have examined the effects of mental health and neuroscientific evidence on attitudes toward criminal defendants, suggesting that these factors may influence juror decision-making in meaningful ways. Few studies to date have manipulated both of these variables while also considering theoretically important individual difference variables (e.g., political orientation). Using a criminal case simulation, this study manipulated the presence of evidence concerning mental disorders (psychopathy and schizophrenia) and increasing levels of neuroscientific detail regarding a defendant's brain injury, and examined verdicts and sentencing recommendations in over 400 persons attending jury duty...
September 13, 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Alan R Felthous
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Frank R Farnham, Kenneth G Busch
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Paul Gill, Emily Corner
Lone-actor terrorist attacks have risen to the forefront of the public's consciousness in the past few years. Some of these attacks were conducted against public officials. The rise of hard-to-detect, low-tech attacks may lead to more public officials being targeted. This paper explores whether different behavioral traits are apparent within a sample of lone-actor terrorists who plotted against high-value targets (including public officials) than within a sample of lone actors who plotted against members of the public...
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Ronald Schouten, Douglas V Brennan
As highly visible representatives and guardians of society, law enforcement officers (LEOs) are very public figures. Injury or death in the line of duty, whether due to accidents or intentional acts of violence, is an occupational hazard for LEOs. Targeted assaults on police officers, referred to as ambushes in previous literature, are a particularly perplexing problem with significant implications for society at large. In the summer of 2016, the latest in a series of high-profile acts of violence aimed at police occurred, leading to increased examination of the acts themselves and their causes...
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
J Reid Meloy, Molly Amman
An archival descriptive study of public figure attackers in the United States between 1995 and 2015 was undertaken. Fifty-six incidents were identified, primarily through exhaustive internet searches, composed of 58 attackers and 58 victims. A code book was developed which focused upon victims, offenders, pre-attack behaviors including direct threats, attack characteristics, post-offense and other outcomes, motivations and psychological abstracts. The average interrater agreement for coding of bivariate variables was 0...
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Angela Guldimann, Reinhard Brunner, Hans Schmid, Elmar Habermeyer
This article describes the implementation of a Cantonal Threat Assessment and Management (CTAM) in Zurich, Switzerland. In order to support this endeavor, the Specialist Unit for Forensic Assessment and Case Management was installed. The forensic experts provide supervision and short-term assessments to public prosecutors and general psychiatrists. In close cooperation with police threat management units, forensic experts support the assessment and management of individuals who exhibit concerning and threatening behavior towards public officials or private individuals...
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
David V James, Frank R Farnham
Specialized units for the assessment and management of concerning behaviors towards public figures have been set up in various jurisdictions. Their efficacy has been demonstrated descriptively and in terms of reduction in concern rates. This study of 100 consecutive cases from the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) in the UK uses a novel measure of outcome in the form of reduction in behaviors of concern and in police call-outs/stops, using data culled from police and health service records. It adopts a mirrored design, comparing individuals over 12-month and 2-year periods before and after FTAC intervention...
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Michele T Pathé, Timothy J Lowry, Debbie J Haworth, Paul Winterbourne, Leanne Day
Research in western nations has found that pathologically fixated individuals pose a risk of serious harm to public figures, and that many of these fixated persons are mentally ill and require treatment. Over the past decade, integrated fixated threat assessment agencies have been established in western Europe and Australia to specifically assess and manage this group. The current study examines 400 consecutive referrals to a fixated threat assessment center in Queensland, Australia, with a particular focus on the mental health and risk profile of those who engage in inappropriate contact with public office holders...
September 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Melanie Sauerland, Linsey H C Raymaekers, Henry Otgaar, Amina Memon, Thijs T Waltjen, Maud Nivo, Chiel Slegers, Nick J Broers, Tom Smeets
In the eyewitness identification literature, stress and arousal at the time of encoding are considered to adversely influence identification performance. This assumption is in contrast with findings from the neurobiology field of learning and memory, showing that stress and stress hormones are critically involved in forming enduring memories. This discrepancy may be related to methodological differences between the two fields of research, such as the tendency for immediate testing or the use of very short (1-2 hours) retention intervals in eyewitness research, while neurobiology studies insert at least 24 hours...
July 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Kyle C Scherr, Kimberly M Alberts, Andrew S Franks, Ian Hawkins
Suspects, especially innocent ones, are highly susceptible to waiving their interrogation rights. This research tested the ability of two strategies to overcome innocent suspects' willingness to waive their rights. One strategy was based on the social influence of scarcity (i.e., not constraining the pre-interrogation time limit). The other strategy focused on disrupting individuals' cognitive fluency during the decision-making process (i.e., violating their induced expectation of offering a waiver). Disrupting innocent individuals' cognitive fluency increased their willingness to invoke their rights and, notably, was not qualified by interactions with any other factors...
July 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Richard Rogers, Jennifer A Steadham, Rachel M Carter, Sarah A Henry, Eric Y Drogin, Emily V Robinson
Juvenile suspects are routinely expected to possess an accurate recall of written or oral Miranda warnings. This study addresses the Miranda-related comprehension recall and reasoning of legally involved juveniles. It is the first juvenile research to compare systematically two levels of complexity for Miranda warnings with the three modalities (oral, written, or combined) of administration. Unexpectedly, easily read written warnings marginally outperformed the combined modality. In order to examine Miranda reasoning, three juvenile groups were operationalized: impaired, questionable, and likely adequate...
July 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Richard Rogers, Allyson J Sharf, John W Clark, Eric Y Drogin, Darby B Winningham, Margot M Williams
In the wake of countless police dramas, commonly held misperceptions endure that the American public knows both Miranda warnings and concomitant rights. Past research has tested public knowledge of Miranda per se, without evaluating additional misconceptions. The current investigation utilizes the European Union's much more all-encompassing safeguards, as delineated in the EU's 2012 Directive and Letter of Rights. Besides knowledge of Miranda, the advisability of these enhanced rights and protections was also assessed...
July 2016: Behavioral Sciences & the Law
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