Summary Class notes - Forensic Psychology

- Forensic Psychology
- n/a
- 2017 - 2018
- DU
- N/A
258 Flashcards & Notes
1 Students
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Summary - Class notes - Forensic Psychology

  • 1485126000 Neurobiology of Crime

  • What are 4 types of developmental risk factors?
    • Prenatal factors
    • Perinatal factors (during birth e.g complications during the birth)
    • Postnatal factors
    • Genetics
    ---> these factors contribute to neurobiological development which put the individual at great risk of anti-social behaviour
  • What are MPAs?
    Minor Physical Anomalies 
    - Markers of neurobiological development in the foetus
    E.g. curved little fingers (clinodactyly; single palmer crease; low seated ears; furrowed tongue)

    MPAs are not directly related to criminal and antisocial behaviour but they are markers of neurobiological development during fetal development
    Note: if you have these, it doesn't mean you are a criminal! We just use MPA's as a marker of how well a child developed during pregnancy
    MPA's are also related to other disorders e.g. down's syndrome
  • MPA's = good indicators of what is happening during pregnancy
  • MPA's are in general associated with behavioural problems in school (includes aggression). There is also evidence to show that MPA's can predict antisocial and violent behaviour in adulthood
  • What did Brennan et al. 1997 find? What does this finding show?
    Male children of parents with psychiatric disorders with more MPAs AND family adversity had high rates of violent offending 

    --> combination of environmental factors and neurobiology predict antisocial behaviour
  • What did Haverson and Victor (1976) find?
    MPAs are associated with behavioural problems in school-aged boys
  • What did Waldrop et al. (1978) find?
    MPAs are associated with aggressive behaviour in children as young as 3 years
  • What did Arsenault et al. (2002) study?
    MPAs predicting violent and nonviolent delinquency

    They found that MPAs predict violent delinquency but not nonviolent delinquency (largest effect was the anomalies of the mouth)
    = fairly robust finding
  • How is maternal smoking a risk factor?
    Risk factor for later antisocial behaviour
    - Smoking while pregnant is detrimental to the baby's health, neurodevelopment = which in turn predicts antisocial behaviour

    An abundance of evidence that show that smoking whilst pregnant correlates with atypical neurotypical development which leads to antisocial behaviour

    Maternal smoking is linked with antisocial behaviour by neurodevelopment of the fetus and association with MPAs
  • What did Wakschlag et al. (2002) find?
    Maternal smoking is linked to children developing antisocial behaviour
  • What did Maughan et al. (2004) find?
    Without smoking - girls are much lower than boys in developing conduct disorders
    Introducing a mother that smokes affects girls more than boys 
    Boys are more aggressive, this is amplified when they are exposed to heavy smoking
  • Where does smoking cause damage?
    Byproducts of smoking may affect:
    • dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems
    • glucose metabolism  
    • basil ganglia
    • cerebral and cerebellar cortices

    = these areas of the brain (basil ganglia + cerebral and cerebellar cortices) are implicated in violent offenders (Raine, 2002)

    From a correlational perspective, we are seeing multiple correlations in deficits in neurodevelopment in babies that are exposed to smoking and violent offenders
  • How is maternal alcohol consumption a risk factor?
    Prenatal exposure to alcohol increases the risk of antisocial behaviour in childhood (Murray et. 2016)

    Prenatal exposure to alcohol = effects the neurobiology of the child’s development
  • What did Murray et al. (2016) find?
    Prenatal exposure to alcohol increases the risk of antisocial behaviour in childhood 

    Specific to childhood-onset (means it is more pervasive, more long-term and massive detrimental effects long term) - Moffet et al showed that 30 years later, these individuals are more likely to be incarcerated for a violent offence, more likely to unemployed, remarried several times
  • As well as prenatal exposure to alcohol consumption, does the influence of antisocial parents contribute to antisocial behaviour?
    At study controlled for parents’ antisocial behaviour, psychiatric disorders, socioeconomic status - and over all of that, prenatal exposure to alcohol consumption predicted antisocial behaviour
  • What are examples of perinatal risk factors?
    Obstetrical  complications at time of delivery; maternal pre-eclampsia; premature birth; low birth weight; use of forceps in delivery; transfer to neonatal intensive care unit; anoxia; and low Apgar scores

    = all of these things in sum are related offending and antisocial behaviour; they are peripheral markers of development

  • If development is hindered/disrupted in some way, there is going to be a negative consequence e.g. the child becomes less inhibited and then gets in to trouble
  • Poor nutrition is a potentially important risk factor for the development of antisocial behaviour in adults and children
    --> longitudinal studies have shown that increased aggression are related to malnutrition during infancy

    (p. 82 textbook)
  • What postnatal factor is associated with antisocial behaviour? What are the mechanisms behind this association?
    Poor nutrition has long been associated with adult criminal behaviour. The mechanism behind the association are that the poor nutrition influences neurotransmitters and hormones, and influences the ability to deal with neurotoxins (Liu & Raine, 2006).

    Nutrient deficiencies lead to impaired brain functioning, and a predisposition for antisocial behaviour in childhood and adolescences (Lister et al. 2005) 

    -->  Poor nutrition affects neuropsychological development e.g. executive function, IQ, which in turn impacts behaviour
  • Genetics is an extremely important risk factor in antisocial behaviour ---> over 50% of antisocial behaviour
    Environment plays around 20%
  • What did Jackson et al. (2016) study?
    Looked at different types of dietary consumption in over 10,000 children (a twin study)

    Found that factors that are predictive of antisocial behaviour include:
    - antisocial behaviour of the parents
    - poor quality nutrition
    - low vegetable consumption    
    - low fruit consumption
    - high sweets consumption
  • What did Raine et al. (2015) find?
    Omega-3 supplements decreased externalising and internalising behaviours in children

    Over the 12-month period:
    40% reduction in externalizing behaviours
    68% reduction in internalizing behaviours

    Omega-3 strengthens neurological function
  • What disorder would display externalising and internalising behaviours?
    Borderline personality disorder
    - Omega-3 a treatment?
  • Having a head injury increases the risk of offending by at least...
  • What percentage of adults in prison and young offenders have a history of head injury?
    60% of adults in prison
    30% of young offenders
  • To what extent does a head injury increase the risk of developing a mental health problem?
    A head injury doubles the risk
  • Head injury is a shocking marker of antisocial behaviour
  • What did Vaughn et al. (2015) find?
    Those with traumatic brain injury were higher in psychopathy and impulsivity; performed worse in moral decision making; had greater gang involvement, bullying behaviour, peer delinquency, and exposure/witness to violence  

    Limitation of study - the researchers didn't look at where the brain injury was from - would have been interesting, e.g. did the head injury come from when they were exposed to violence?
  • Where was Charlie Whitman's brain tumour? What was his crime? What was he like before his crime?
    Near the amygdala (responsible for emotional regulation e.g fear response and aggression)  - this tumour seemed to have made him really angry and violent

    He killed his wife, mother and open fired on a university campus

    Charlie Whitman had no history of antisocial behaviour, showed a good academic record, won a scholarship at his university. Hen then started feeling very hostile, had aggressive thoughts and disgust towards other people
  • What are 4 types of attachment?
    Secure attachment
    Dismissive (avoidant) attachment
    Preoccupied attachment
    Disorganised attachment
  • How does secure attachment affect behaviour?
    - related to sensitive and responsive parenting
    - high levels of self-esteem
    - positive relations with others
    - accepting intimacy and close relations
  • How does dismissive (avoidant) attachment affect behaviour?
    - related to rejecting/interfering parenting (cold/controlling)
    - minimal reliance on others 
    - desire for independence (often appears as an attempt to avoid attachment altogether)
    - deals with problems by social withdrawal  
    - aggressive and suspicious of others 
    - maintains distance from partners
  • Parental relationships/abusive relationships typically predict antisocial behaviour
  • How does preoccupied attachment affect behaviour?
    - related to inconsistent parenting - leads to uncertainty in interpersonal relations 
    - seek high levels of intimacy
    - become dependent on attachment figures
    - less positive self-perception
    - high levels of emotionality, emotional dysregulation, worry, and impulsiveness in relationships
    - immense fear of abandonment
  • How does disorganised attachment affect behaviour?
    - related to paternal maltreatment/childhood trauma
    - child is caught in conflict which is frightening and lacks security
    - individuals may act passive-aggressive
    - most often associated with psychiatric disorders
    - they develop maladaptive strategies for friendships 
    - predictive of hostile behaviours and psychosocial problems
  • What is Mitchell & Beech's (2011) definition of attachment?
    Attachment = the inborn biological need to maintain close contact with caregivers; create experience of safeness, which impacts the affect and affect regulation systems with the brain
  • Regarding neurochemistry of attachment, are we born a level of predisposition for attachment style? What other factors may affect this?
    Ultimately, we are born with a level of predisposition for attachment style
    --> this is influenced by environmental factors and biological factors

    Note: Environmental factors can influence biological factors and vice versa  --> it is important to understand that while these are unique factors, they are intertwined
        - which can then ultimately affect our type of attachment
  • What is the ACE model?
    A = genes (heritability) 
    C = shared family environment (common/shared experience)
    E = environmental risk factors unique to the individual (non-shared experiences)
  • Using the ACE model, what did Larson et al. (2006) find in its prediction of psychopathy?
    A = 63% of the variance
    C = 0% of the variance
    E = 37% of the variance

    The best predictors of psychopathy in terms of genes, family environment, and individual environment risk factors are the A and E

    Psychopathy is largely influenced by genetics
  • Using the ACE model, how does psychopathy compare to aggressive behaviour? Who studied this?
    Miles and Carey (1997)
    = A and E were equally important in explaining aggression = less of an emphasis on genetics - this makes sense as aggression is not a disorder, it's a behaviour
  • Using the ACE model, how does psychopathy and aggressive behaviour compare to antisocial behaviour? Who studied this?
    Rhee and Waldman (2002)

    A = 40-50% of the variance
    C = 15-20% of the variance
    E = 30% of the variance

    ---> for antisocial behaviour, there seems to be more factors at play - this make sense because psychopathy is a disorder whereas antisocial behaviour is a behaviour and is therefore influenced by more things
  • What is the multiplicative effect? According to which researchers?
    Having a biological predisposition to crime AND being raised in a criminogenic environment (e.g. crime was normalised or you have antisocial parents), the individuals at greatest risk of future crime/future antisocial behaviour
    (Cloninger et al. 1982)
  • What is the warrior gene?
    MAO-A = an enzyme that degrades neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin)
  • Regarding the MAO-A gene, what did Caspi et al. (2002) find?
    Similar to the multiplicative effect, low MAO-A gene plus maltreatment is more predictive of conduct disorder and being convicted of a violent offence, antisocial personality disorder etc.

    --> shows gene by environment interaction
  • Antisocial personality disorder is similar to psychopathy; however there are some differences. What are these differences?
    Antisocial personality disorder is more likely to show rage and impulsivity. The lack of empathy and callousness of someone with ASPD is not as severe compared to someone with psychopathy
  • What did Raine at al. (2000) study?
    The neurobiology of antisocial personality disorder
    --> they looked at the white and grey matter volumes in the prefrontal cortex 

    The grey matter volume is a lot lower in individuals with antisocial personality disorder (reported an 11% reduction) --> suggests something to do with the prefrontal cortex that is affecting these individuals. Suggests PFC is a biological marker for these individuals

    PFC has a role in inhibition, executive function --> may explain why someone with APSD has difficulty with responses , such as theft, getting into arguments and fights

    This is neuroimaging evidence       
  • How does the neurobiology of people with ASPD differ?
    • smaller temporal lobe (Dolan et al. 2002)
    • reduction in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and the orbital prefrontal cortex (Laakso et al. 2002)

    = diminished activity in the PFC
  • People with ASPD show diminished activity in the PFC. How is the similar to conduct disorder? Why is this not surprising?
    • reduced grey matter volume in orbital prefrontal cortex (Huebner et al. (2008)
    • reduced grey matter volumes in the amygdala (Sterzer et al. (2005)
    • reduced right temporal lobe volume (including amygdala; Krusi et al. 2004)

    CD is a precursor for ASPD (ASPD = only diagnosed in adults)
  • What did Raine et al. (2004) study?
    He compared the brain function of murderers and non murderers

    Test: continuous performance challenge task
    --> During a concentration task there is less activity in the PFC in the murderers brain. This shows they are disinhibited, they don't care about the task, they are not attentive

    They also compared the brain activity of a control, a murderer and a multiple murderer (killed 64 people without getting caught)
    --> Multiple murderer not sig. more active than the control (makes sense as killing 64 people without getting caught requires a lot of brain function and skill). Takes the ability to plan your actions

    Rage is more impulsive (like the murderer on one person)
  • Who was Herbert Weinstein?
    1991 -->Weinstein strangled his wife to death
    = he had a large cist putting pressure on his PFC which would effect his impulsive behaviour

    --> Before, Weinstein had no history of violence
    --> This neuroimaging evidence shortened his sentence from 25 to 7 years
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What can be said about Ms A's emotion regulation skills?
Exhibited strong emotion dysregulation, high impulsiveness and state anger. Towards the end of DBT, she showed a decrease in self-invalidation and mood dependency behaviour through the daily use of emotion regulation skills.

(Nee & Farman, 2007)
What can be said about Ms B's interpersonal effectiveness?
History of relationship difficulties e.g. victim of domestic violence. Ms B depended heavily on the affirmation of others, having little sense of her own self-worth. Interpersonal effectiveness skills through DBT helped her understand the development and maintenance of relationships. DBT also helped her develop self-worth.

(Nee & Farman, 2007)
What can be said about Ms A's interpersonal effectiveness ?
Ms A had continual difficulties with interpersonal relationships. Through DBT, she showed an improvement in interpersonal interactions and increased control of relationships with individuals inside and outside of the prison environment.

(Nee & Farman, 2007)
What can be said about Ms B's mindfulness?
Ms B had long-standing dysfunctional thoughts (e.g. perceived negative judgements and negative self-perceptions) and maladaptive coping strategies, such as self-harm and substance misuse and dissociation. Core mindfulness skills were used to calm her down during urges to self-harm or periods of anger; and helped her decrease the frequency of her dissociative experiences. ‘Wise mind’ was useful in helping her take control (A therapist will communicate and explain the rational mind, the emotional mind, and the wise mind (Lynch et al. 2006)). 

(Nee & Farman, 2007)
What is BPD?
Borderline personality disorder is characterised by a pervasive pattern of instability in affect regulation, impulse control, interpersonal relationships, and self-image (Lieb et al. 2004)
Why is the evidence base for DBT's effectiveness on BPD insufficient? Who argued this?
Most of the existing evidence is limited by the small sample sizes and short follow-up in clinical trials

(Bateman et al. 2015 - own reading)
Why is DBT especially useful for prison populations?
BPD is diagnosed in higher rates in prison populations and DBT directly aims to reduce impulsive, aggressive, or life-threatening behaviours (McCann et al. 2007)
What can be said about BPD and gender?
The majority of BPD research has been conducted with entirely or primarily female populations. The gender bias is largely due to the disproportionality higher rates of BPD diagnosis in females compared to males
What did Linehan et al. (2006) study?
Participants: 101 clinically referred women with recent suicidal and self-injurious behaviors meeting DSM-IV criteria. They received 1 year of DBT

Results: Subjects receiving DBT were half as likely to make a suicide attempt compared with non–behavioral therapy by experts, required less hospitalization for suicide ideation. Subjects receiving DBT were less likely to drop out of treatment (25% dropout rate in DBT compared with 59% in CTBE)

= suggests that DBT is the superior treatment for BPD compared with CTBE

(own reading)
What statistics did Rizvi et al. (2013) state?
In individuals with BPD
  • rates of non-suicidal self injury range from 69-80%
  • up to 75% attempt suicide at least once
  • 8-10% die by suicide

(own reading)