Matching Items (46)

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Are Forensic Experts Already Biased Before Adversarial Legal Parties Hire Them?

Description

This survey of 206 forensic psychologists tested the “filtering” effects of preexisting expert attitudes in adversarial proceedings. Results confirmed the hypothesis that evaluator attitudes toward capital punishment influence willingness to

This survey of 206 forensic psychologists tested the “filtering” effects of preexisting expert attitudes in adversarial proceedings. Results confirmed the hypothesis that evaluator attitudes toward capital punishment influence willingness to accept capital case referrals from particular adversarial parties. Stronger death penalty opposition was associated with higher willingness to conduct evaluations for the defense and higher likelihood of rejecting referrals from all sources Conversely, stronger support was associated with higher willingness to be involved in capital cases generally, regardless of referral source. The findings raise the specter of skewed evaluator involvement in capital evaluations, where evaluators willing to do capital casework may have stronger capital punishment support than evaluators who opt out, and evaluators with strong opposition may work selectively for the defense. The results may provide a partial explanation for the “allegiance effect” in adversarial legal settings such that preexisting attitudes may contribute to partisan participation through a self-selection process.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-04-28

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The Dimensionality of Trust-Relevant Constructs in Four Institutional Domains: Results From Confirmatory Factor Analyses.

Description

Using confirmatory factor analyses and multiple indicators per construct, we examined a number of theoretically derived factor structures pertaining to numerous trust-relevant constructs (from 9 to12) across four institutional contexts

Using confirmatory factor analyses and multiple indicators per construct, we examined a number of theoretically derived factor structures pertaining to numerous trust-relevant constructs (from 9 to12) across four institutional contexts (police, local governance, natural resources, state governance) and multiple participant-types (college students via an online survey, community residents as part of a city’s budget engagement activity, a random sample of rural landowners, and a national sample of adult Americans via an Amazon Mechanical Turk study). Across studies, a number of common findings emerged. First, the best fitting models in each study maintained separate factors for each trust-relevant construct. Furthermore, post hoc analyses involving addition of higher-order factors tended to fit better than collapsing of factors. Second, dispositional trust was easily distinguishable from the other trust-related constructs, and positive and negative constructs were often distinguishable. However, the items reflecting positive trust attitude constructs or positive trustworthiness perceptions showed low discriminant validity. Differences in findings between studies raise questions warranting further investigation in future research, including differences in correlations among latent constructs varying from very high (e.g., 12 inter-factor correlations above .9 in Study 2) to more moderate (e.g., only 3 correlations above .8 in Study 4). Further, the results from one study (Study 4) suggested that legitimacy, fairness, and voice were especially highly correlated and may form a single higher-order factor, but the other studies did not. Future research is needed to determine when and why different higher-order factor structures may emerge in different institutional contexts or with different samples.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-03-31

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A Longitudinal and Experimental Study of the Impact of Knowledge on the Bases of Institutional Trust.

Description

This study examined a knowledge-centered theory of institutional trust development. In the context of trust in water regulatory institutions, the moderating impact of knowledge was tested to determine if there

This study examined a knowledge-centered theory of institutional trust development. In the context of trust in water regulatory institutions, the moderating impact of knowledge was tested to determine if there were longitudinal changes in the bases of institutional trust as a function of increases in knowledge about a target institution. We hypothesized that as people learn about an institution with which they were previously unfamiliar, they begin to form more nuanced perceptions, distinguishing the new institution from other institutions and relying less upon their generalized trust to estimate their trust in that institution. Prior to having specific, differential information about a new institution, we expected institutional trust to be a function of generalized trust variables such as dispositional trust and trust in government. The longitudinal experiment involved 185 college students randomly assigned to one of three information conditions.

Every 3 months for 15 months, participants read information about water regulatory institutions or a control institution. At each time point, participants reported their trust in and perceptions of the trust- and distrust-worthiness of the water regulatory institutions. Participants also completed measures of knowledge of water regulatory institutions, dispositional trust, and governmental trust. Our manipulation check indicated that, as expected, those in the experimental group increased in subjective knowledge of water regulatory institutions to a greater extent than those in the control condition.

Consistent with our hypotheses, there was some evidence that, compared to the control group, the experimental group relied less on their general trust in government as a basis for their trust in water regulatory institutions. However, contrary to our hypotheses, there was no evidence the experimental group relied less on dispositional trust as a basis for institutional trust. There also was some evidence the experimental group's trust in water regulatory institutions was less affected by fluctuations of trustworthiness (but not distrustworthiness) perceptions over time. This suggests that knowledge results in the development of more stable institutional trust attitudes, but that trustworthiness and distrustworthiness perceptions may operate somewhat differently when impacting trust in specific institutions.

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Date Created
  • 2017-04-17

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Forensic Clinicians’ Understanding of Bias

Description

Bias, or systematic influences that create errors in judgment, can affect psychological evaluations in ways that lead to erroneous diagnoses and opinions. Although these errors can have especially serious consequences

Bias, or systematic influences that create errors in judgment, can affect psychological evaluations in ways that lead to erroneous diagnoses and opinions. Although these errors can have especially serious consequences in the criminal justice system, little research has addressed forensic psychologists’ awareness of well-known cognitive biases and debiasing strategies. We conducted a national survey with a sample of 120 randomly-selected licensed psychologists with forensic interests to examine a) their familiarity with and understanding of cognitive biases, b) their self-reported strategies to mitigate bias, and c) the relation of a and b to psychologists’ cognitive reflection abilities. Most psychologists reported familiarity with well-known biases and distinguished these from sham biases, and reported using research-identified strategies but not fictional/sham strategies. However, some psychologists reported little familiarity with actual biases, endorsed sham biases as real, failed to recognize effective bias mitigation strategies, and endorsed ineffective bias mitigation strategies. Furthermore, nearly everyone endorsed introspection (a strategy known to be ineffective) as an effective bias mitigation strategy. Cognitive reflection abilities were systematically related to error, such that stronger cognitive reflection was associated with less endorsement of sham biases.

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Date Created
  • 2019-09-10

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Forensic Psychology and Correctional Psychology: Distinct but Related Subfields of Psychological Science and Practice

Description

This paper delineates two separate but related subfields of psychological science and practice applicable across all major areas of the field (e.g., clinical, counseling, developmental, social, cognitive, community). Forensic and

This paper delineates two separate but related subfields of psychological science and practice applicable across all major areas of the field (e.g., clinical, counseling, developmental, social, cognitive, community). Forensic and correctional psychology are related by their historical roots, involvement in the justice system, and the shared population of people they study and serve. The practical and ethical contexts of these subfields is distinct from other areas of psychology – and from one another – with important implications for ecologically valid research and ethically sound practice. Forensic psychology is a subfield of psychology in which basic and applied psychological science or scientifically-oriented professional practice is applied to the law to help resolve legal, contractual, or administrative matters. Correctional psychology is a subfield of psychology in which basic and applied psychological science or scientifically-oriented professional practice is applied to the justice system to inform the classification, treatment, and management of offenders to reduce risk and improve public safety. There has been and continues to be great interest in both subfields – especially the potential for forensic and correctional psychological science to help resolve practical issues and questions in legal and justice settings. This paper traces the shared and separate developmental histories of these subfields, outlines their important distinctions and implications, and provides a common understanding and shared language for psychologists interested in applying their knowledge in forensic or correctional contexts.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-04-01

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Discerning Bias in Forensic Psychological Reports in Insanity Cases

Description

This project began as an attempt to develop systematic, measurable indicators of bias in written forensic mental health evaluations focused on the issue of insanity. Although forensic clinicians observed in

This project began as an attempt to develop systematic, measurable indicators of bias in written forensic mental health evaluations focused on the issue of insanity. Although forensic clinicians observed in this study did vary systematically in their report-writing behaviors on several of the indicators of interest, the data are most useful in demonstrating how and why bias is hard to ferret out. Naturalistic data was used in this project (i.e., 122 real forensic insanity reports), which in some ways is a strength. However, given the nature of bias and the problem of inferring whether a particular judgment is biased, naturalistic data also made arriving at conclusions about bias difficult. This paper describes the nature of bias – including why it is a special problem in insanity evaluations – and why it is hard to study and document. It details the efforts made in an attempt to find systematic indicators of potential bias, and how this effort was successful in part but also how and why it failed. The lessons these efforts yield for future research are described. We close with a discussion of the limitations of this study and future directions for work in this area.

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Date Created
  • 2018-04-19

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Validity, Inter-Rater Reliability, and Measures of Adaptive Behavior: Concerns Regarding the Probative Versus Prejudicial Value

Description

The question as to whether the assessment of adaptive behavior (AB) for evaluations of intellectual disability (ID) in the community meet the level of rigor necessary for admissibility in legal

The question as to whether the assessment of adaptive behavior (AB) for evaluations of intellectual disability (ID) in the community meet the level of rigor necessary for admissibility in legal cases is addressed. Adaptive behavior measures have made their way into the forensic domain where scientific evidence is put under great scrutiny. Assessment of ID in capital murder proceedings has garnished a lot of attention, but assessments of ID in adult populations also occur with some frequency in the context of other criminal proceedings (e.g., competence to stand trial; competence to waive Miranda rights), as well as eligibility for social security disability, social security insurance, Medicaid/Medicare, government housing, and post-secondary transition services. As will be demonstrated, markedly disparate findings between raters can occur on measures of AB even when the assessment is conducted in accordance with standard procedures (i.e., the person was assessed in a community setting, in real time, with multiple appropriate raters, when the person was younger than 18 years of age) and similar disparities can be found in the context of the unorthodox and untested retrospective assessment used in capital proceedings. With full recognition that some level of disparity is to be expected, the level of disparity that can arise when these measures are administered retrospectively calls into question the validity of the results and consequently, their probative value.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-02-01

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Moral Disengagement in Legal Judgments

Description

We investigated the role of moral disengagement in a legally‐relevant judgment in this theoretically‐driven empirical analysis. Moral disengagement is a social‐cognitive phenomenon through which people reason their way toward harming

We investigated the role of moral disengagement in a legally‐relevant judgment in this theoretically‐driven empirical analysis. Moral disengagement is a social‐cognitive phenomenon through which people reason their way toward harming others, presenting a useful framework for investigating legal judgments that often result in harming individuals for the good of society. We tested the role of moral disengagement in forensic psychologists’ willingness to conduct the most ethically questionable clinical task in the criminal justice system: competence for execution evaluations. Our hypothesis that moral disengagement would function as mediator of participants’ existing attitudes and their judgments—a theoretical “bridge” between attitudes and judgments—was robustly supported. Moral disengagement was key to understanding how psychologists decide to engage in competence for execution evaluations. We describe in detail the moral disengagement measure we used, including exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across two separate samples. The four‐factor measure accounted for a total of 52.18 percent of the variance in the sample of forensic psychologists, and the model adequately fit the data in the entirely different sample of jurors in a confirmatory factor analysis. Despite the psychometric strengths of this moral disengagement measure, we describe the pros and cons of existing measures of moral disengagement. We outline future directions for moral disengagement research, especially in legal contexts.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-11-07

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Preparing and Giving Expert Testimony

Description

The essential tasks for an expert witness are to be prepared, to be effective and credible on the stand, and to manage well the demands of cross-examinations. Most novice experts

The essential tasks for an expert witness are to be prepared, to be effective and credible on the stand, and to manage well the demands of cross-examinations. Most novice experts are excessively anxious about their testimony. Effective experts are well-oriented to the legal and scientific context of court testimony. This chapter reviews research-backed tips for preparing for expert testimony.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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The “Dark Side” of Institutional Trust

Description

The majority of trust research has focused on the benefits trust can have for individual actors, institutions, and organizations. This “optimistic bias” is particularly evident in work focused on institutional

The majority of trust research has focused on the benefits trust can have for individual actors, institutions, and organizations. This “optimistic bias” is particularly evident in work focused on institutional trust, where concepts such as procedural justice, shared values, and moral responsibility have gained prominence. But trust in institutions may not be exclusively good. We reveal implications for the “dark side” of institutional trust by reviewing relevant theories and empirical research that can contribute to a more holistic understanding. We frame our discussion by suggesting there may be a “Goldilocks principle” of institutional trust, where trust that is too low (typically the focus) or too high (not usually considered by trust researchers) may be problematic. The chapter focuses on the issue of too-high trust and processes through which such too-high trust might emerge. Specifically, excessive trust might result from external, internal, and intersecting external-internal processes. External processes refer to the actions institutions take that affect public trust, while internal processes refer to intrapersonal factors affecting a trustor’s level of trust. We describe how the beneficial psychological and behavioral outcomes of trust can be mitigated or circumvented through these processes and highlight the implications of a “darkest” side of trust when they intersect. We draw upon research on organizations and legal, governmental, and political systems to demonstrate the dark side of trust in different contexts. The conclusion outlines directions for future research and encourages researchers to consider the ethical nuances of studying how to increase institutional trust.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016