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BPCE-142: Forensic Psychology

BPCE-142: Forensic Psychology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BPCE-142/Asst /TMA /January 2022

Course Code: BPCE-142

Assignment Name: Forensic Psychology

Year: 2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Assignment I


Answer the following questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks. 2 x 20 = 40


1. Explain the nature and scope of forensic psychology and describe its sub-specialities.

Ans) By integrating psychology and law, Walker and Shapiro defined forensic psychology as a field of study. Thus, the two disciplines of psychology, which can be characterised as the empirical and systematic study of human behaviour, and law, which can be characterised as the study of how people govern themselves in social circumstances, are combined or integrated.


In relation to the areas of criminal law, family law, and civil liability law, forensic psychology "attempts to provide expert opinion and explanation based upon established knowledge within the study of psychology," according to Polizzi and Draper.


"Forensic psychology is the professional practise by any psychologist working within any sub-discipline of psychology when applying the scientific, technical or specialised knowledge of psychology to the law to assist in addressing legal, contractual and administrative matters," according to the definition provided by the American Psychological Association.


The area where psychology and the criminal justice system meet is known as forensic psychology. To be able to communicate effectively with judges, lawyers, and other legal experts, it requires knowledge of criminal law in the relevant jurisdictions. The capacity to testify in court, reformulate psychological findings into the legal lingo of the courtroom, and provide information to legal experts in a clear and understandable manner is a crucial component of forensic psychology. The forensic psychologist must also be familiar with the principles, regulations, and standards of the legal system in order to be a credible witness.


The application of forensic psychology expertise takes many different forms, including the treatment of mentally ill offenders, legal advice, deducing the thoughts and motives of criminals, and practising in the civil sphere. A forensic psychologist may also decide to only pursue research as a career, which can involve anything from analysing eyewitness testimony to figuring out how to enhance interrogation techniques.


Public policy is a different area of forensic psychology study where experts can contribute to the planning of jails and prisons. In the simplest terms possible, a forensic psychologist's job is to support the judicial system. A forensic psychologist has a different perspective on the client or defendant than a conventional clinical psychologist does. It is not the responsibility of the forensic psychologist to "empathise" with the client or view the scenario from their perspective.


Sub-specialities in forensic psychology

Police Psychology: Police psychology is one of the first subspecialties we could talk about. This has to do with the cops, as the name would suggest. Police psychology is a field that focuses on numerous facets of law enforcement, including local, state, and federal government organisations. Police personnel's employment-related features are also related to police psychology. Police personality, police stress, and assessment and evaluation of psychological elements like IQ, etc. of the police officers are thus covered in police psychology from recruiting to selection.


Investigative psychology: It is the application of psychological principles to the process of conducting a criminal investigation. In order to carry out criminal behaviour analysis, it mostly entails obtaining information from the crime scene and making decisions in that regard.


Criminal psychology: This section is frequently substituted for forensic psychology in sentences. Criminal psychology is a sub-specialty of forensic psychology, albeit the two subjects differ. Criminal psychology primarily focuses on the actions, patterns of cognition, and behaviour of criminals. Thus, criminal psychologists are involved in the search for explanations for the criminal's actions.


Legal psychology: Legal psychology is a branch of forensic psychology that is closely related to forensic psychology. Legal psychology applies psychological concepts and principles to the legal system. Judges and other members of the legal system frequently seek the counsel of legal psychologists when making decisions.


2. Describe the psychological theories applied to criminal psychology.

Ans) In terms of the five main psychological theories that are connected to criminal psychology, which examines the attitudes and actions of offenders and criminals, there are basically five.


Psychodynamic Theory and Criminal Behaviour

The psychodynamic theory postulates that these behaviours are a result of an individual's early life experiences. This theory, which was advocated by Sigmund Freud, comprised three main components: the Id, the Ego, and the Super Ego. While the Id was thought to as the most basic aspect of the person's mental makeup and was also present from birth onward, the Ego emerged throughout the first few years of the person's existence. The Id operates according to the pleasure principle, which means that it demands instant satisfaction for its wants, needs, and desires.


Cognitive Theory and Criminal Behaviour

The cognitive theory is the next explanation for criminal behaviour. This hypothesis claims that a person's mental processes can be used to explain criminal behaviour. The main goal of this theory is to comprehend how criminals view their environment and approach issues. There are two subdisciplines of cognitive theory:


Moral development: Understanding how people reason about and ethically depict the world is a key component of moral development. The goal of information processing is to understand how humans acquire, store, and retrieve information. This theory states that there are three levels and six phases in the evolution of morality. Stages 1 and 2 are included in level 1, which is referred to as pre conventional. Stages 3 and 4 are included in the so-called standard level II. Stages 5 and 6 are found in the third level, which is known as post conventional.


Information processing and criminal behaviour: Information processing is a key component of cognitive theory. As a result, people systematically employ their mental processes to come to a choice based on the data they processed through their information processing system.


Behavioural Theory and Criminal Behaviour

A new behaviour that is more suitable and desired can be learnt in place of the unpleasant one because all behaviours are learned and can therefore be unlearned. By the same reasoning, criminal or violent behaviour is also taught and may be undone, allowing for the learning of fresh new and preferable behaviour in their stead. According to behaviourists, children learn their behaviours through their experiences in their surroundings as they grow up instead of inheriting them. Individuals pick up violent behaviours and criminal tendencies through the experiences they have in their environment.


Personality Theory and Criminal Behaviour

The majority of personality definitions emphasise a person's traits and recurring patterns of behaviour. The interplay of inherited and environmental factors determines personality. Consistency, its influence on behaviour, and its many manifestations in ideas, feelings, and strong interactions with other people in the environment are further traits of personality. Therefore, the characteristic sets of behaviours, thoughts, and emotional patterns that result from a combination of biological and environmental elements make up a person's personality.


Theories of Intelligence and Criminal Behaviour

The ability to acquire and use knowledge and skills is the general definition of intelligence. Being intelligent is defined as "having or suggesting a high or sufficient degree of intelligence and mental capacity" by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. "Reflecting or revealing good judgement or sound thought, that is skilled" is how intelligence is defined. According to psychologists, intelligence is the coordinated operation of several connected faculties and skills that allow a person to effectively respond to various contextual circumstances.



Assignment II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks. 3 x 10 = 30


3. Describe personality testing in forensic psychology.

Ans) The personality test "aims" to delve deeper and reveal those aspects that the individual may not be aware of, providing recruiters with a more complete profile of the candidate's personality. The job interview just looks at the person's overt behaviour. The information from the personality test, together with the interview and the results of the other psychometric tests, such as the aptitude test, aids the evaluator in putting the applicant's profile together.


Therefore, personality testing, whether it is used in the forensic, employment, or any other field, is used to collect information to allow psychologists to describe what a person is like, how they function or are likely to function with others, whether there is significant psychopathology, the extent to which a person is open and transparent in self-presentation or guarded or even deceptive, and the prognosis for improvement with treatment for mental health issues. In the forensic sector, personality testing is used to address issues like risk assessment, diagnosis and treatment recommendations for mental illness, competency and capacity, tort cases involving claims of emotional distress, and criminal cases involving mental disease concerns.


These are some examples of personality tests' descriptions:

  1. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPA): The MMPI and its revised second edition are psychological assessment tools that are filled out by the subject of the evaluation and then scored and analysed by the examiner.

  2. Personality Assessment Inventory: The Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) offers data pertinent to clinical diagnosis, treatment planning, and psychopathology screening.

  3. Personality Inventory-Revised: A well-known personality test is the NEO Personality Inventory. The NEO PI-R assesses the interpersonal, motivational, emotional, and attitudinal styles of adults and adolescents based on the Five-Factor model.

  4. Projective Tests: A projective test is a form of personality test used in psychology where the subject responds to ambiguous situations, phrases, or images.


4. Elucidate police psychology.

Ans) A police psychologist's duties include hiring and screening new police officers, conducting special squad screenings, determining whether police officers are mentally and physically fit for their jobs, negotiating hostage situations in which people have been taken hostage, and running training programmes for police officers in a variety of subjects, such as stress management, human relations, and motivation.


The police psychologist also offers stress counselling and guidance to the officers. A police psychologist must possess specialised understanding of policing as well as the various roles and organisations that make up the police in a society. A police psychologist is aware of the objectives of the police and works with them to help them reach those objectives. Police psychology significantly aids and helps in this area because police have a crucial role in ensuring the enforcement of the law.


To achieve this, police psychologists must have a thorough understanding of police personality, the stresses and trauma they experience, their workplace, and a variety of other problems they encounter in their functioning. They also need to develop a plan of treatment intervention to assist police personnel in overcoming the trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder that they report as a result of their risky and dangerous work. Additionally, because they are skilled in experimental, social, industrial, and organisational psychology, police psychologists are employed in research, consultation, and training programmes.


When clinical psychologists first started working in law enforcement, they primarily assessed police candidates' levels of fitness and appropriateness for police work. However, as the scope of their work increased, police psychologists began to teach officers at all levels, and in many instances, they were also tasked with educating the police officers and other law enforcement officials.


5. Describe polygraph test as a tool in eyewitness assessment.

Ans) Blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductance are just a few of the physiological indices that a polygraph test evaluates and records. It is predicated on the idea that false information will elicit physiological reactions that can be distinguished from those brought on by true information. Three unique and separate steps make up a polygraph test which are:


Pre-test Phase: Before beginning the examination, the examiner completes the necessary formalities and procedures during this phase which are:

  1. Inform the examinee of the precise problem being looked at.

  2. Inform the examinee of their constitutional rights, their right to an attorney, and the fact that taking the polygraph test is a choice decision.

  3. Complete the required paperwork.

  4. Give the examinee a thorough explanation of the polygraph instruments, including all of its parts and how they operate.

  5. Respond to any inquiries the examinee may have.

  6. Obtain the examinee's account of the circumstances surrounding the specific issue under consideration.

  7. Make a list of every question that will be posed to the examinee during the polygraph examination and go over it with them.


In-test Phase: During this stage, a polygraph examination is conducted. As the examinee responds to the series of questions that were developed and reviewed during the pre-test phase, the examiner will administer a minimum of three separate tests, each lasting about five minutes, and a maximum of six tests. During these tests, the examinee's physiological data will be continuously collected, measured, and recorded on to polygraph charts. The examiner will analyse, interpret, and assess the physiological data obtained from the examinee during the polygraph examination after the in-test phase is complete.


Post-test Phase: During this last phase, the examinee will be given the polygraph examination results. If the physiological information displayed on the charts suggests that the test subjects have responses to the pertinent questions that were addressed, they will be given the opportunity to explain their responses. After the post-test phase is finished, the examiner will give the client a verbal summary of the polygraph examination and its results.



Assignment III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks. 5 x 6= 30


6. Crime analysis

Ans) One area of study that makes use of forensic psychology techniques is crime analysis. In order to analyse crime data and help the police carry out their duties, the police typically hire crime analysts. Case linking is one of the most frequent responsibilities of crime analysts. This procedure entails connecting crimes based on the similarities in the criminals' reported or inferred behaviours from the crime scene.


Let's take the situation of a woman who was raped by a stranger while walking home alone from a night out with her friends as an illustration. Crime analysts could use the specifics of this case—such as the fact that the victim had just left her office, that the rapist took some of her clothing with him after the attack, and the nature of the threats made against the woman—to compare it to a database of crimes that are similar to see if there are any patterns.


The authorities can utilise this information to look into the possibility that the same person has committed both crimes if there are any matches, such as the use of the same threats, comparable clothing items stolen by the rapist, and proximity to another rape.


7. Juvenile delinquency

Ans) Delinquency is described as criminal behaviour by minors under the age of 18. Anyone who violates the terms of the Children Act between the ages of 7 and 18 is regarded as a delinquent in India. And once a person reaches the age of 18, they are treated as adult criminals and are regarded to be criminals. Anyone who breaches the terms of the CPO, IPC, or children's Acts between the ages of 7 and 18 shall be regarded as a delinquent in India.


Over this age, people are viewed as criminals. These young people, who are referred to as delinquents, are involved in several crimes, ranging in complexity from low-level misdemeanours to serious Delinquency is not only a social problem, but it also goes against society's norms. They are kept in juvenile homes, which are equivalent to jails because they are still too young to live independently, where they are subjected to corrective measures and programmes in an effort to improve their behaviours that are detrimental to both themselves and society.


8. Types of interrogation

Ans) Three different interrogation techniques exist:


  1. In the first kind, the respondent will voluntarily provide any information required. For instance, if someone observed a murder and was questioned or probed about it, they would readily divulge all the details.

  2. In the second type, the subject, or the accused who is being questioned, will not give any information that they would like not to. For instance, the suspect won't provide information about his or her friends if the interrogator requests it.

  3. In the third style of interrogation, a confession is sought from the subject. That instance, the suspect acknowledges committing the crime, which could have been a murder, a sexual assault, or another offence that is under investigation.

9. Types of homicides

Ans) The types of homicides are:


  1. Intentional homicide: The assailant's primary goal is to kill the victim in such a way that the victim dies, or to gravely harm him or her.

  2. Reckless homicide: This refers to fatalities that were unintentional, such as those brought on by speeding. As a result of losing control while driving or while heavily intoxicated, the driver may crash into a pedestrian.

  3. Violent Homicide: When someone is harmed or threatened with violence, this is referred to, which involve the use of weapons such knives, swords, guns, corrosive agents like acid, etc.

  4. Provoked homicide: When a suspect kills someone after being provoked, this happens. Because of the intensity of the rage, the person is unable to make rational decisions about what is right and wrong.

  5. Homicide due to vengeance: This is when someone kills, hurts, or injures someone else because they believe they have been wronged by the other person.


10. Amicus Curiae Briefs

Ans) The individual who writes the amicus curiae briefs intends to give the court pertinent information to aid in decision-making. Thus, an amicus is a person or organisation that is given or granted a discretionary leave to file a brief designed to get insight into a particular subject that the parties to the case may not be able to focus on owing to a lack of knowledge or even time. Briefs from amici curiae can be significant in some legal proceedings.


As a result, forensic psychologists have the ability to write amicus curiae briefs and serve as amici curiae themselves, which allows them to offer crucial context for certain case-related issues. The submission of an amicus brief might also be heavily influenced by psychological linkages. For instance, the American Psychological Association has contributed significantly to the legal and legislative processes by presenting amicus curiae papers. And this in turn may affect how public policy is formulated.

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