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BPCE-142: Forensic Psychology

BPCE-142: Forensic Psychology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for BPCE-142 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Forensic Psychology, you have come to the right place. BPCE-142 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in BAPCH courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Solution

Assignment Code: BPCE-142/Asst /TMA /July 2023- January 2024

Course Code: BPCE-142

Assignment Name: Forensic Psychology

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

NOTE: All assignments are compulsory.


1.Have a title page. Include details like Name, Enrolment number, Email id, Regional Centre,

Study Centre, Programme Title and code, Course title and code.

2.Use A4 size paper for the tutorial (ruled/ bank).

3.For making tables/ figures, blank pages can be used and they can be drawn in pencil.

4. Content should not be plagiarised.

Assignment I

Answer the following questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks.

Q1) Describe the nature and scope of criminal psychology.

Ans) Criminal psychology is a subfield of psychology that investigates the mental processes, behavioural patterns, and motivations that are associated with criminal behaviour. It is located at the crossroads of psychology and criminal justice. For the purpose of comprehending, analysing, and forecasting criminal behaviours, it is necessary to apply psychological principles and theories. Crime, offenders, victims, and the legal system are all included in the purview of criminal psychology, which encompasses a wide range of topics related to criminal behaviour.

Nature of Criminal Psychology:

a) Behavioural Analysis: It entails analysing behavioural clues in order to forecast criminal behaviour. As a result, profilers are able to better comprehend the methods of operation and motivations of criminals, which assists law enforcement in their investigations.

b) Understanding Motivations: The field of criminal psychology attempts to understand the reasons behind criminal behaviour. The investigation dives into a variety of reasons, including monetary gain, vengeance, power, and psychological illnesses.

c) Cognitive Processes: It is essential to do an analysis of the cognitive processes of criminals. Decision-making, impulse control, risk assessment, and moral reasoning are all elements that are investigated in individuals who are prone to engaging in criminal behaviour.

d) Forensic Evaluation: In this discipline, one of the tasks that is performed is to assess the mental condition of suspects or criminals. Evaluation of their mental capacity to stand trial or evaluation of their culpability due to mental illness are both included in this process.

e) Witness Testimony: Psychologists that specialise in criminal psychology evaluate the authenticity and dependability of witness accounts. Their purpose is to assist the courts in comprehending the veracity of eyewitness statements and the influence that stress has on the recall of memories.

Scope of Criminal Psychology:

a) Understanding Criminal Behaviour: Getting a better understanding of the factors, processes, and reasons that lead to criminal behaviour is the fundamental objective of this study. The investigation of individual characteristics, psychiatric problems, and environmental effects are all included in this endeavour.

b) Criminal Profiling: Profilers construct offender profiles by analysing crime scenes and patterns of behaviour in order to create profiles. In this way, law enforcement is better able to identify suspects and anticipate the activities they will take.

c) Risk Assessment and Prevention: Mental health professionals are able to identify high-risk individuals or locations that are prone to criminal activity by analysing patterns of criminal behaviour. The development of preventative measures and intervention methods is facilitated by the information provided here.

d) Evaluating Offenders: Criminal psychologists evaluate offenders' mental health, personality traits, and potential for reoffending. This assists in determining appropriate sentencing, rehabilitation programs, or parole decisions.

e) Victimology: It involves studying the psychological impact of crimes on victims. This includes trauma, coping mechanisms, and the long-term effects of victimization.

f) Legal Consultation: Criminal psychologists serve as expert witnesses in court proceedings. They provide insights into offenders' mental states and contribute to legal decisions.

g) Correctional Settings: Working in prisons or rehabilitation centres, criminal psychologists aid in offender rehabilitation and design programs to reduce recidivism.

h) Research and Policy Development: Research in criminal psychology contributes to policy development in crime prevention, law enforcement, and mental health services.

i) Crime Scene Analysis: By interpreting behavioural evidence and crime scene details, criminal psychologists contribute to investigations and inform law enforcement strategies.

Q2) Describe Reid technique, cognitive interview and polygraph as techniques of interrogation.

Ans) The Reid Technique, Cognitive Interviewing, and Polygraph Testing are prominent interrogation techniques used in law enforcement to extract information, assess truthfulness, and gather evidence from suspects or witnesses. Each method employs distinct strategies and principles.

Reid Technique:

a) Description: Developed in the 1940s, the Reid Technique focuses on psychological manipulation and is based on the premise that deceptive individuals display certain behavioural cues.

b) Approach: Interrogators using the Reid Technique employ a confrontational style, isolating suspects and employing psychological tactics such as minimization (downplaying the offense) or maximization (exaggerating the severity of the crime).


a) Nine Steps: Direct confrontation, the presentation of falsified evidence, and an evaluation of the suspect's verbal and non-verbal behaviour are all components of the approach, which is comprised of a nine-step process.

b) Confession-Oriented: A confession from the suspect is the primary objective, and numerous strategies of persuasion will be utilised in order to achieve this goal.

Cognitive Interview:

a) Description: The Cognitive Interview (CI) is a technique that was developed by psychologists in the 1980s with the intention of improving memory recall by duplicating the circumstances surrounding the event and reducing the influence of biases.

b) Approach: The CI focuses on creating a relaxed environment, encouraging free recall, and using specific techniques to facilitate accurate memory retrieval.


a) Open-Ended Questions: The person being interviewed is encouraged to present a storey without interruptions, which enables the interviewer to obtain a comprehensive account.

b) Use of Mental Reinstatement: Recreating the context by prompting the interviewee to mentally relive the incident, aiding in retrieval of sensory details.

Polygraph Testing:

a) Description: The polygraph, commonly known as a lie detector, measures physiological responses (such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration) to determine truthfulness or deception.

b) Approach: During the polygraph examination, the subject is attached to sensors while asked a series of questions. Changes in physiological responses are analysed for indications of deception.


a) Question Types: Questions are categorized into relevant (pertaining to the incident being investigated), irrelevant (unrelated to the incident), and control (to establish baseline responses).

b) Monitoring Physiological Changes: The polygraph measures alterations in physiological parameters, which may indicate stress or deception.


a) Purpose: Within the context of the Reid Technique, the primary objective is to acquire confessions through the use of psychological manipulation. With the Cognitive Interview, on the other hand, the objective is to extract information that is accurate and detailed while simultaneously minimising memory distortions. In order to identify dishonesty based on physiological responses, the polygraph test was developed.

b) Approach: Confrontational and forceful strategies are utilised in the Reid Technique, whereas open-ended questioning and context-reinstatement strategies are utilised in the Cognitive Interview. In order to assess whether or not an individual is lying, the polygraph uses physiological measurements.

c) Reliability and Ethics: There has been criticism levelled against the Reid Technique due to the possibility of coercion and false confessions. In spite of the fact that it is more ethical, the Cognitive Interview might not always produce accurate results. On account of variances in physiological reactions and ethical concerns regarding the accuracy of the polygraph, the reliability of the polygraph is being called into question.

Assignment II

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks.

Q3) Distinguish between forensic evaluation and therapeutic evaluation.

Ans) Difference between forensic evaluation and therapeutic evaluation are:

Q4) Describe the nature of eyewitness assessment.

Ans) Eyewitness assessment involves evaluating the reliability and accuracy of information provided by individuals who have witnessed a specific event. The nature of this assessment is crucial due to the significant impact eyewitness testimony can have on legal proceedings.


a)     Memory Reliability: Assessors focus on memory accuracy, as memory is susceptible to various factors like stress, leading questions, and post-event information that can distort or enhance recollection.

b)     Factors Affecting Witness Testimony: Evaluations consider conditions during the event, including lighting, distance, duration, and the witness's emotional state, all of which can affect their ability to perceive and remember details accurately.

c)     Questioning Techniques: Assessment involves examining the methods used to question witnesses. Leading questions, suggestive language, or coercive interrogation can influence the accuracy of their testimony.

d)     Identification Procedures: Assessors review identification methods like lineups or photo arrays, analysing the fairness and potential for bias in these procedures, which can significantly impact the reliability of eyewitness identification.

e)     Expert Testimony: Eyewitness assessments often involve expert testimony to educate judges and jurors about the limitations and factors influencing eyewitness testimony, enhancing their understanding of its reliability.

f)      Forensic Tools: The use of forensic tools like cognitive interviews aids in extracting accurate information by employing memory-enhancing techniques without leading or suggestive questions.

g)     Legal Implications: Assessments also consider the legal implications, focusing on how eyewitness testimony can affect legal decisions and the weight it holds in court proceedings.


The nature of eyewitness assessment requires meticulous scrutiny of various factors that influence the accuracy and reliability of witness testimony. It aims to determine the trustworthiness of eyewitness accounts, critically evaluating their statements to ensure fair and just legal proceedings.


Q5) Explain the risk factors contributing to delinquency.

Ans) Delinquency, particularly in adolescents, can stem from various risk factors that contribute to such behaviour.


These risks often emerge from complex interactions between individual, familial, social, and environmental influences:

a)     Family Dynamics: There are a number of factors that greatly contribute to delinquent behaviour, including dysfunctional family structures, parental neglect or abuse, inconsistent discipline, a lack of monitoring, and differences within the family.

b)     Peer Influence: Associating with peers who engage in antisocial behaviours or participating in peer groups that are considered to be deviant frequently results in the adoption of antisocial behaviours and criminal actions.

c)     Socioeconomic Status: Economic deprivation, poverty, lack of access to education, and inadequate opportunities for positive development increase the likelihood of delinquency.

d)     Substance Abuse: Among adolescents, delinquent behaviours and criminal actions are closely associated to the beginning of drug or alcohol use at a young age or to the use of these substances on a regular basis.

e)     Mental Health Issues: Conditions like ADHD, conduct disorder, depression, or behavioural problems can contribute to delinquency if left untreated or unmanaged.

f)      Community Factors: Neighbourhoods with a high crime rate, being exposed to violence, having limited community resources, and having inadequate social support networks all contribute to an increased likelihood of engaging in delinquent behaviour.

g)     School Environment: Poor academic performance, truancy, or negative experiences in school can lead to frustration, disengagement, and ultimately, involvement in delinquency.

h)     Individual Characteristics: It is possible that the likelihood of engaging in delinquent behaviour is increased when certain personality qualities, such as impulsivity, violence, or sensation-seeking inclinations, are paired with other risk factors.


Assignment III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks.


Q6) Ethical issues in forensic psychology.

Ans) Ethical considerations in forensic psychology revolve around confidentiality breaches, dual relationships (such as acting as a therapist and evaluator for the same individual), informed consent for assessments, cultural competence, and the duty to warn about potential harm. Ensuring impartiality and avoiding bias during evaluations, maintaining privacy, and accurately presenting findings in legal proceedings are crucial.  The ethical dilemma of balancing client confidentiality with legal obligations, particularly in criminal cases, remains a key concern. Ethical guidelines such as those from the American Psychological Association (APA) serve as crucial frameworks for forensic psychologists to navigate these complex ethical landscapes.


Q7) Cognitive theory and criminal behaviour.

Ans)Cognitive theory examines how thoughts, perceptions, and interpretations influence behaviour. In the context of criminal behaviour, this theory explores how cognitive processes, like beliefs, attitudes, and decision-making patterns, contribute to criminal actions. It suggests that distorted thinking, irrational beliefs, or faulty problem-solving skills can lead individuals to engage in criminal activities.  Cognitive-behavioural interventions often target these cognitive distortions, aiming to restructure thoughts and develop healthier behavioural patterns to reduce recidivism and aid rehabilitation among offenders. This theory is central to understanding the cognitive factors that influence criminal behaviour and in designing interventions for offender rehabilitation.


Q8) Mens rea

Ans) "Mens rea" is a Latin term used in criminal law, signifying the mental state or intention behind committing a crime. It refers to the individual's mental culpability or awareness of wrongdoing while engaging in a criminal act. This concept emphasizes that for an action to be considered a crime, the person must have intended to commit the act and understood its implications. Mens rea classifications vary, ranging from intentional actions (with full awareness) to reckless behaviour or negligence. Establishing mens rea is crucial in determining criminal liability and the severity of punishment in legal proceedings.


Q9) Heinous crimes

Ans) Crimes that are considered heinous are those that are very repugnant or odious, and they shock society owing to the great cruelty, brutality, or moral depravity that they exhibit. The commission of these offences frequently involves the infliction of serious violence, cruelty, or intentional harm on other individuals, which results in broad public indignation and profound mental pain. Atrocities such as murder, torture, severe physical assault, acts of terrorism, sexual violence, or major violations of human rights are examples of the kind of crimes that are considered to be heinous. These crimes, because of the severity of their nature, elicit significant moral, ethical, and legal emotions, which frequently result in stiff legal consequences and societal condemnation.


Q10) Police psychology

Ans) Police psychology involves applying psychological principles in law enforcement, focusing on officer mental health, performance, and interactions with the public. It addresses stress management, trauma, crisis intervention, and decision-making in high-pressure situations.   Psychological assessments aid in recruitment, evaluating fitness for duty, and providing counselling services to officers dealing with trauma or critical incidents. Additionally, it includes research to enhance police training, improve community relations, and prevent burnout or psychological strain among law enforcement personnel. Police psychologists collaborate with departments to promote officer well-being, enhance team dynamics, and optimize law enforcement practices through a psychological lens.

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