Thursday, July 12, 2007

Psychology, Crime, and Law Abstracts

Via Psychology and Crime News
Psychology, Crime, and Law Abstracts

The education of jury members: Influences on the determinations of child witnesses
Authors: Crissa Sumner-Armstrong , The University of Queensland; Peter A. Newcombe, The University of Queensland
DOI: 10.1080/10683160600821925
Psychology, Crime & Law, Volume 13, Issue 3 June 2007 , pages 229 - 244

The present study investigated the impact of an education program on jurors' abilities to reach truth during trials with child witnesses. The experiments took the form of staged trials, with actors filling the roles of judge, prosecution, defence and defendant. Participants from the general community served as mock jurors in small groups. Prior to the trial, half of the juries were provided with an education package which served to introduce them to the main empirical findings within the child witness literature. Within each education condition, half of the juries viewed accurate child witness testimony during the trial and half viewed an inaccurate version. Analyses of the trial questionnaires revealed significant effects of education on the accuracy of verdicts, with more educated jurors making correct verdict determinations than did uneducated jurors. Educated jurors' perceptions of the child witnesses were also more accurate overall than those of uneducated jurors.

Vehicle-related crime and the gender gap
Author: Claire Corbett, Brunel University
DOI: 10.1080/10683160600822022
Psychology, Crime & Law, Volume 13, Issue 3 June 2007 , pages 245 - 263

Although vehicle-related offending and traffic offenders are of interest to some behavioural psychologists, criminologists have been less enthused and their concern has been largely restricted to crime to vehicles rather than crime by drivers or wider society. Both disciplines have, however, largely ignored the contribution of women to vehicle-related offending statistics, mirroring the pattern seen in regard to mainstream offending. This paper attempts to plug the gap by considering the relative contributions of men and women to motoring conviction data and self-report offending studies. To some extent it also does this by age, where evidence for a "ladette" style of driving among young women in England and Wales is examined from the conviction data. In general, a gender gap similar to that in mainstream crime is noted, and key theoretical explanations that could account for this are assembled. Implications for improving road safety and research are then considered given this gap and emerging support for the non-homogeneity of female driving styles.

The features of a good offender treatment programme manual: A Delphi survey of experts
Authors: Anna McCulloch, Cardiff University; Mary McMurran, University of Nottingham
DOI: 10.1080/10683160600822071
Psychology, Crime & Law, Volume 13, Issue 3 June 2007 , pages 265 - 274

Treatment manuals are important in replicating treatments, but despite their increased use in corrections, little attention has been paid to what makes a good offender treatment programme manual. A Delphi survey of an international sample of 32 offender treatment programme trainers was conducted to determine the features of a good treatment manual. The Delphi survey, which allows experts to share their opinions anonymously, involved three rounds of participation, with 32, 20, and 14 completing Rounds 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Features considered to be of importance in a manual were: a comprehensible account of the programme theory, clearly stated aims and objectives, detailed instructions, advice on delivery, examples and choices, readable presentation, jargon-free language, and user-friendly format of materials.

Influences of accent and ethnic background on perceptions of eyewitness testimony
Author: Lara Frumkin, University of Maryland, Baltimore

DOI: 10.1080/10683160600822246
Psychology, Crime & Law, Volume 13, Issue 3 June 2007 , pages 317 - 331

The purpose of the present work was to investigate the effect two eyewitness factors, accent and ethnic background, have on the perceived favorability of eyewitness testimony and case disposition in criminal trials. Six variations of testimony were created and videotaped. The videotapes varied by accent and ethnic background of the eyewitness; the testimony text was identical. Four eyewitness favorability variables, (a) credibility, (b) judgment of accuracy, (c) deceptiveness, and (d) prestige, as well as their relationship to case disposition, were measured. One hundred and seventy-four undergraduate participants viewed one of the six videotapes. Results indicate that there was a significant main effect of accent for the four eyewitness favorability variables. Accent by ethnic background interactions also yielded significant findings for the four variables as well as for the defendant's degree of guilt. Results were interpreted using the Elaboration Likelihood Model. The potential importance of these results for judicial settings is discussed.

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