Treatment or punishment?

Following on from my last blog I will continue on with that theme and focus on how punishment and treatment effect treatment effect the reoffending rates of prisoner. A offend is given a sentence that is a based on severity of the crime this of course makes sense as a man who commits murder should not be given the same punishment as a man who has conducted a petty . The main area I will focus on is the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and reoffending

CBT is based on on changing a offender maladaptive thought process which may be causing behaviours such as self justification and not accepting accountability, offender are taught through serval ways such as self instruction training and role-play, the premise of CBT therapy is if you can change the thought patterns you can change the behaviour.

CBT is one of the most successful forms of psychotherapy for offenders Following on from my last blog I will continue on with that theme and focus on how punishment and treatment effect treatment effect the reoffending rates of prisoner. A offend is given a sentence that is a based on severity of the crime this of course makes sense as a man who commits murder should not be given the same punishment as a man who has conducted a petty . The main area I will focus on is the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and reoffending

CBT is based on on changing a offender maladaptive thought process which may be causing behaviours such as self justification and not accepting accountability, offender are taught through serval ways such as self instruction training and role-play, the premise of CBT therapy is if you can change the thought patterns you can change the behaviour.

CBT is one of the most successful forms of psychotherapy for offenders due to the effect of combining the cognitive aspect and the behavioural aspect it should treat the cause and the symptoms, so to speak.in a study conducted by Chandler (1973) it showed the offender the perspective of the victim in the follow up study that was conducted fewer young offenders committed crimes compared to the control group.similarly in Friendship et al study 670 males offenders who volunteered to take part in the study and received CBT therapy had a 14%lower reconviction rate compared to the control group in addition Garrido (2007) found the application of cognitive based therapies to juvenile offenders helped reduce recidivism in the sample .

In conclusion the exclusivity of punishment alone does not decrease the rates of reoffending according to Bartol (1999) the more time spent in prison the more likely a person reoffends this is down to the overstimulation of the environment however a prison environment combined with CBT should make a drastic improvement however it does depend on the patient and the crime committed for example psychodynamic therapy Used for the treatment of sex offenders is found to be redundant, this is based on several characteristics like empathy with victim which the rapist lack.

due to the effect of combining the cognitive aspect and the behavioural aspect it should treat the cause and the symptoms, so to speak.in a study conducted by Chandler (1973) it showed the offender the perspective of the victim in the follow up study that was conducted fewer young offenders committed crimes compared to the control group.similarly in Friendship et al study 670 males offenders who volunteered to take part in the study and received CBT therapy had a 14%lower reconviction rate compared to the control group in addition Garrido (2007) found the application of cognitive based therapies to juvenile offenders helped reduce recidivism in the sample .

In conclusion the exclusivity of punishment alone does not decrease the rates of reoffending according to Bartol (1999) the more time spent in prison the more likely a person reoffends this is down to the overstimulation of the environment however a prison environment combined with CBT should make a drastic improvement however it does depend on the patient and the crime committed for example psychodynamic therapy Used for the treatment of sex offenders is found to be redundant, this is based on several characteristics like empathy with victim which the rapist lack.

Criminality

Criminality Is a social construct as most people have committed a crime at some point in life it really depends on whether the person has been caught or not. Therefore the definition of criminal is unscientific and there is no clear explanations of a criminal and a non criminal this means it is a difficult to propose a theory on what motivates a person to commit a crime, one question that should be proposed is criminal: born or made?

Early psychologist such as Lombroso(1898) believed criminals were a genetic throwback to the early homo sapiens, criminals called easily be identified by their atavistic facial expressions which included heavy brows, prominent and large ears however Lombroso study has been heavily criticised mainly because Lombroso only conducted his study on men because he believed women were less evolutionary developed than men and wouldn’t be devolved enough to be criminals more over Lombroso’s study was only conducted in one country which therefore could not be generalised to other countries.

On the other hand Goring(1913) conducted a study which contradicts Lombroso study, Goring conducted research on 3000 participants which were a mixture of criminals and non-criminals and determined there was no significant difference between criminality and facial appearance and states mental deficiency are more prominent causes of crime.

More over in Burgess(1923) believes to detemine whether a person is deemed a criminal we should not use psychology as the primary and sole reason for it we must also use sociology in other words a person Burgess agreed with Healy study that the person must undergo mental and physical test but must also understand their view on social factors. We must see is the enviroment society makes causes deliquent behaviuor for this individual and their mental state to see whether criminal behaviuor is a likely outcome.

In conclusion as with most psychological issues it is still widely debated and the outcomes is very much on the fence there are many studies that highlight how criminal behaviuor is caused by genetics and many studies that delinquency is a product of the person’s upbringing and with most psychological cases it is usually a mixture of the two that causes the reactions however from the study I highlighted it is quite clear we cannot justify criminal behaviuor based on someones looks.

Refernces

E. W. Burgess

The Study of the Delinquent as a Person, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 28, No. 6 (May, 1923), pp. 657-680 Published by: The University of Chicago Press

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2764575

C. Goring, English convict-a statistical study including the schedule of measurements and general anthropological data,1913, as cited from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=12439

C.Lombroso, W. Ferrero, the female offender,1898 as cited from http://brittlebooks.library.illinois.edu/Scripts/Done%20with%20Dispatching/lombce0001femoff/lombce0001femoff.pdf

Repression

Repression is a concept created by Sigmund Freud and relies heavily on the role of emotions in forgetting memories. Freud defined repression as ‘forgetting motivated by a desire to avoid displeasure so unpleasant and anxiety provoking , bad memories are pushed down into the unconscious‘. Repression acts as a self defence mechanism where the ego blocks out the recall of conscious memories, they then in turn become inaccessible and if the attempt to recall these memories it would cause distorted memories and digression off the topic. Freud believes repression is reason for everyday forgetting this then leads onto the question is forgetting a product of our everyday lives and what kind of problems does repression cause?

A study examining hospital records of young women who had been admitted due to sexual abuse found that seventeen years later 38% of the women had no conscious memory of the event(Williams,1994) this shows that repression is indeed caused by our circumstances, Williams study also correlates itself with Freud definition of repression as 38% women in the study have pushed down their memory of their horrific ordeal into their unconscious in order to avoid their pain.

Loftus(1993) also agrees with the Freud repression is triggered by a horrendous ordeal which is then forced into the unconscious however Loftus also believes the repressed memories may enter the conscious, however Loftus poses a problem with the repressed memories, due legislation changes victims of child abuse are suing the perpetrator 20-40 years later, in addition according to Yapko(2011) the mental health profession is divided on the use of hypnosis in order to retrieve repressed memories, Yapko also claims that the questions can lead to a suggestibility in the patient and this creates false memories of sexual abuse more over psychologists are more likely to accept the memories procured from a hypnosis sessions that recalled memories.

One thing is for certain, repressed memories can occur but when an individual undergoes memory retrieval therapy we must make sure the traumatic event they claimed happened actually happened, this can be done using a historical timeline and follow up interviews in order to corroborate evidence, although it is more difficult for sexual abuse victims to gather evidence however this can be done by medical examinations and confirmation from the abuser.

references

Loftus,1993The reality of repressed memories.American Psychologist, Vol 48(5), May 1993, 518-537. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.48.5.518
 
Williams,1994,Recall of childhood trauma: A prospective study of women’s memories of child sexual abuse.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 62(6), Dec 1994, 1167-1176. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.62.6.1167
 
 
 
 

Michael D. Yapko Ph.D.Suggestibility and Repressed Memories of Abuse: A Survey of Psychotherapists’ Beliefs.pages 163-171.DOI:10.1080/00029157.1994.10403066

Memory

I think it is possible to say that everybody forgets something at least once everyday, in fact the definition of forgetting is the loss of information that has been stored into individual memory store. According to the multi store memory model the brain has separate areas for encoding certain levels of information the first stage is the sensory memory which encompasses the visual and acoustic elements of information, this leads on to the short term memory store which groups information into ‘chunks’ to help remember, for information to pass onto the long term memory, information recived must undergo elaborate rehearsal this is when information is giving an attachment or meaning to help in the remembering process, information that enters the long term can transfer back into the short term memory by retrieval. However if information is not constantly rehearsed it is forgotten. The main question of this blog, is trace decay a valid explanation of forgetting?

Donald Hebb believed that information that enters the short term memory contains a trace which activates nerve cells, if the nerve cells are not continually rehearsed the information would decay over time. Reitman(1971) conducted a study into the effect of decay on the short term memory , Reitman found that participants could retain three words for fifteen seconds while trying to avoid rehearsal by listening to music due to the results Reitman concluded the trace decay theory is not a reliable explanation of memory however Reitman’s studies can be criticised, although the participants remembered three words they forgot 33% of the words they can recall immediately and they forgot 44% more due to detecting syllables rather than tone this therefore means that interference between the information entering the short term memory and rehearsal does effect the amount of words remembered therefore trace decay does effect the process of forgetting, in addition the fact that participants did forgot some words and did not have a 100% recall means that Reitman study has a ceiling effect.

Judith S. Reitman, Without surreptitious rehearsal, information in short-term memory decay, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, Volume 13, Issue 4, August 1974, Pages 365-377, ISSN 0022-5371, 10.1016/S0022-5371(74)80015-0. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022537174800150)

Week Tweleve entry-Sex

Hurlbert and Ling (2007) study named Biological components of sex differences in color  preference is an accurate title for the journal, according to Hurlbert and Ling colour preference in the past were difficult to conduct as they were difficult to control  in the methods of measuring, therefore it was difficult to gather quantitative data which could be used for comparisons .the hypothesis for this study was whether there were different colour preferences between males and females?

Hurlbert and Ling conducted a study which contained 208 observers they were split into the several subgroups which were 171 were British Caucasian 92 were female and 79 were male in this subgroup, the next group were 39 Mainland Han Chinese 19 were male and 18 were female, the 90 other participants were made up of the Chinese sub population, 28 British females and 25 British males.

The research was based on the participant choosing their preferred colour between two coloured rectangles by changing the saturation, hue and brightness of the colors. A time limit was introduced in the test to make sure the participants gave rapid answers which were instinctual; the majority of the participants were given three different tests while the group with 90 participants was given two standard tests which had a two week interval between them.

The results were plotted on several graphs which showed that the British female group (n=92) and Chinese females (n=18) preferred red and purple hues compared to British males (n=79) however British males preference for green and yellow colours, the preference for green and yellow colours decreased in the female participants and Chinese males (n=19) who preferred dark red to purple.

Hurlbert and ling believed the results showed a predetermined colour preference in females due to evolutionary behavior, for example women have a colour preference which is biased towards red and purple this could be caused to the woman’s job of gathering fruits and berries the preference may be caused to a predisposition of picking ripe fruits, more over the lack of colour preference to yellow and green could mean the evolutionary aversion to picking unripe fruits in order to keep healthy

On the other hand the newspaper article is not representative f the research. the title of the newspaper article At last, science discovers why blue is for boys but girls really do prefer pink seems to imply a justification of socalising boys into the colour preference of blue and reinserting the social norms of feminine equals pink , however the research showed that males do not really have a particular colour preference for blue in that regard however the article implied the was a substantial amount of data gathered that showed men liked blue also they claimed Hurlbert’s  favorite colour was a pale pink this implied there was a personal involvement in the research to see if all women had a preference for pink, it was unnecessary information.

In conclusion the newspaper article, exaggerated Hurlbert and Lings research until it fit with the story they wanted to portray .

References

Hurlbert,A.Ling, Y.

Biological components of sex differences in color preference, 2007, Current Biology, R623

Henderson,M.

At last, science discovers why blue is for boys but girls really do prefer pink, August 21, 2007, The Times

Determinism or Freewill

Psychology has many differing theories and beliefs one of the most influential topics is whether human behavior is deterministic or is it down to the freewill of the individual.

One argument , that agree that behavior is deterministic is the basis of psychology is made on the assumption that we can make predictions about the causes of behavior , test are carried out to gain evidence and create theories to predict future behavior , therefore it assumes that behavior and factors that effect behavior are consistent ,if we assume that behavior is caused by freewill, then people would be able resist any factor that may shape future behavior , which makes it impossible to predict how or why a person reacts in a particular way .for psychology to have any credit as a science it should have a background belief in determinism although psychology is a study of human behavior, human is notoriously  known to be unpredictable, this is accepted in psychology as almost every study can be criticised about individual differences. Most psychologists accept the fact that there is no unifying theory for every explanation of behavior; therefore this may suggest freewill is responsible for our differences in how we react to a situation.

Another point that human behavior may be more deterministic that previously thought is mental disorders,for example a person with a mental illness like obsessive compulsive disorder, their whole life revolves around their compulsions. The fact that these disorders exist and can be treated suggest freewill is not influential in human behavior as no-one would rationally lose control of themselves and their lives.however cognitive forms of therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy, are more effective at treating patients due to the fact they give the patient tools to change their thoughts and behaviors, so this shows there is a degree of freewill involved in human behavior.

More over Foot [1957] believed determinism and freewill could be integrated and the factors leading up to the decisions are deterministic however the choice at the end of the day is ultimately freewill. However Budd[1959] believed  we are using both determinism and free will as two separate thought patterns  to explain behavior simultaneously and it cannot be done .therefore is one theory more important than the other? and can we be completely certain our decisions is made by us?  The answer is we cannot test properly if one theory is better at explaining behavior than the other because determinism and freewill is interpreted by the psychologist and the individual also it is difficult to be sure that the final is made by us as the buildup factors help form the final decision.

References

Budd, William C. Free Will Versus Determinism. American Psychologist, Vol 14(1), Jan 1959, 49-50. doi: 10.1037/h0039076

Foot,p. Free Will Involving Determinism Vol. 66, No. 4 (Oct., 1957)Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2182743

Gender bias

Gender bias is an issue in psychology which has to be thoroughly thought about. If the research does not contain an equal amount of male and female participants, then the theory cannot be generalized for both sexes according to Mustin and Marecek (1988)[1] gender bias can be split into two different categories, alpha and beta bias.

Alpha bias is when theories acknowledge there is a difference between men and women however alpha bias can exaggerate the differences between men and women making research misleading , however beta bias refers to theories that minimize the differences between men and women assuming men and women are the same. Both Alpha and Beta bias can be detrimental to psychological research however alpha bias can be considered worse for example Lombroso believed women were false less evolved than men therefore women has fewer signs of degenerate and women criminals were more rare this meant the FBI did not use any female serial killers for their profiling technique and as a result many female serial killers evaded capture due to the fact the profilers didn’t consider the murderer to be female.

However beta bias also has an impact on psychological research for example Kohlberg  (1983)[2] conducted research into moral reasoning, he was criticized heavily because the hypothetical situations he used were based on a male perspective more over his sample was purely male which he tried to genralise to females . However Gilligan [3] developed a study in response to Kohlberg’s study with males and females and found their moral reasoning were completely different, men were more black and white and focused making decisions based around justice and women were more focused on emotions. Although Gilligan managed to rectify the Beta bias in Kohlberg’s study she instead created an Alpha bias and highlighted the differences between men and women’s decision making, which begs for the question, can a study be completely unbiased probably not.


[1]Mustin, R. Marecek, J. The meaning of difference: Gender theory, postmodernism, and psychology.

American Psychologist, Vol 43(6), Jun 1988, 455-464. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.43.6.455

[2] Moral stages: A current formulation and a response to critics.

Kohlberg, Lawrence; Levine, Charles; Hewer, Alexandra

Contributions to Human Development, Vol 10, 1983, 174.

[3] Gilligan, C. (1982). In a Different Voice. Cambridge,

Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Cited by http://www.lisasloft.net/pdf/gilligan.pdf