The American journal of forensic psychology

Online ISSN: 0733-1290
Publications
Article
Discusses how the trauma of losing a parent through death, divorce, or neglect shatters people's feelings of security, adequacy, and worth and leaves psychological scars that never completely heal. When children perceive themselves to be abandoned, feelings of inadequacy and self-devaluation develop. While the effect of abandonment varies with the particular sensibilities and vulnerability of the child, many children experiencing loss of a parent show disruption in normal personality development. The extent and impact of early childhood separation of the offender from a loved one may be a causative factor in violent offenses, including murder, rape, and assault. Serial and jealousy murders are contrasted. Therapy for treating violent offenders is described. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Compared scores on a self-perception test of 16 abused males (aged 9–11 yrs) and a matched sample of 14 nonabused children from the same day treatment facility. Results indicated that 7 abused Ss had poor self-esteem, compared with only 2 nonabused Ss. The findings suggest that abused children could benefit by instruction in self-help skills related to grooming and physical appearance, competency training in popular sports, and social skills training. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Administered a survey questionnaire on various issues in child sexual abuse cases to 45 male and 56 female jurors (aged 19–60 yrs) within a selected court system. Among areas covered were: (a) ages at which children were perceived as credible witnesses; (b) types of evidence viewed as necessary for conviction of sexual abuse; and (c) jurors' perception of the accuracy with which mental health professionals can assess the credibility of child witnesses and the presence of sexual abuse. Results indicate significant response differences among male and female jurors and between female juror groups (aged 19–39 yrs and 40–60 yrs). The clearest finding of the present study was the importance and accuracy attributed to decision making by mental health professionals, as all groups of Ss placed confidence in their assessment of a child's credibility and the presence of abuse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses a case currently being considered by the US Supreme Court ( Traynor v. Turnage), which raises the issue of whether alcoholism is "willful misconduct" or a physical or mental disability. The outcome of this case may affect the issue of criminal responsibility while under the influence of alcohol/drugs or because of being dependent on alcohol/drugs. Three illustrative cases are discussed that raise concerns of the involvement of drug intoxication and abuse and how drugs impact on decisions of responsibility. It is concluded that a judicious review is needed, as each case presents numerous factors to be considered and may not be as simple as it appears on the surface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examines procedures used to interview children when sexual abuse (SA) is suspected. These interviews have a high potential for diminishing the reliability of statements that children make. Techniques involving drawings, books, play therapy, and anatomical dolls have not been validated for assessing SA and may introduce error into the interviews. Interviews by adults using suggestive approaches may "teach" children what to say, suggesting that adult social influence may affect children's behaviors in the interviews. If interviewed carefully, avoiding leading questions and suggestion, child witnesses may be competent to provide testimony. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examines how false allegations (FAs) of sexual abuse can seem credible and presents a hypothetical case of an FA. Allegations originate as rumors but eventually acquire the appearance of verified facts. Consequently, the dynamics of rumor formation and rumor transmission, combined with constructivist theory, seem to provide an explanatory model accounting for the origins and apparent credibility of these rumors. The development of FAs includes elevated anxiety, rumor formation, reduction in ambiguity, credibility expansion, validating networks, and invalidating information. Ultimately, FAs of sexual abuse influence and are influenced by the systemic context in which they occur. Thus, parents and children can report FAs without consciously fabricating them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
A review of the literature on female sexual abusers indicates that although most sexual abusers are males, child sexual abuse by females does occur and may be less rare than was once believed. There is a great range in the estimated frequency of sexual abuse by women from different studies. The definition of abuse used, sample selected, and methodology employed must be considered. There are widely different circumstances under which women sexually abuse children, and these circumstances may differ from those causing men to do so. Many studies depict female abusers as socially isolated, loners, alienated, coming from abusive backgrounds and having emotional problems, although most are not psychotic. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Forensic psychologists are often asked to evaluate, treat or testify about victims of automobile accidents. The most common injury suffered in automobile accidents is an abrupt acceleration of the head. This causes a variety of somatic and psychological disturbances producing a complex symptom presentation. Two categories of psychological reactions are commonly observed, one following soon after the injury, the other developing in its aftermath. Early psychological trauma is characterized by symptoms that suggest psychological, neurological and psychosomatic etiologies. Delayed psychological reactions may take the form of depression, anxiety, hostility, reactive somatoform disturbances or exaggerations of symptoms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents 2 cases of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) precipitated by serious automobile accidents. Ss were White women (aged 60 and 32 yrs) who reacted quite differently to similar stressors and presented different Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) profiles. The present authors maintain that there does not appear to be a typical MMPI profile that characterizes PTSD accident victims who are involved in litigation. A checklist of issues is presented that may be of assistance to the forensic practitioner in reaching an appropriate diagnostic decision and, in some cases, may help to reveal important factors potentially affecting the patient's presentation, the course of treatment, and the litigation in which the patient has become involved. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents an overview of the research and clinical literature on the assessment of truthfulness vs fabrication in accusation of child molestation (CM). It is concluded that a reliable determination of CM can be sometimes made, based on a wide-ranging clinical investigation, in which data are gathered from the widest possible range of sources, and integrated as pieces of a puzzle into a logically consistent overall picture. Potentially useful sources of data include the child's formal statement of the abuse, obtained under conditions that maximize accurate communication; the child's verbalizations and affective patterns over the course of therapy; and an understanding of possible motivations for false allegations by the child or key adult. Reliance on popular single-item procedures such as structured questionnaires and penile plethysmography is not supported by the empirical literature. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents a case in which a Native American adult male defendant was charged with assault following the hospitalization of a 20-mo-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend. After the child died he was charged with 2nd-degree murder. Discussion revolves around the defendant's ability to waive his rights under the Miranda standard and various psychological evaluations to which the S had been subjected. Points considered include (1) the failure of psychological evaluations to consider adaptive behavior in their formation of a diagnosis of mental retardation, (2) the assessment of IQ in minority groups, and (3) evidence of malingering on the part of the defendant. The defendant was eventually convicted of 2nd-degree murder; the jury apparently accepted his confession as having been competently given and validly obtained. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Addresses the vicissitudes of performing adverse psychological evaluations in civil suit cases of alleged sexual harassment, sexual contact by therapists with current or terminated clients, and sexual contact by other professionals. Topics covered include conducting the adverse psychological evaluation, whether the alleged behavior fits the state's legal definition of actionable behavior, research on the effects of sexual misconduct, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), whether the alleged behavior is probable, allegations of recovered memory, cases involving a child as the plaintiff, and evaluation of the defendant. Suggestions for discriminating true and false claims are provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Three experiments, using undergraduates, examined how male and female mock jurors reacted to various characteristics of a legal case involving a repressed memory of child sexual assault. Loglinear analyses revealed that females were 3 to 6 times more likely to offer a guilty decision than males and that individuals who believed that repressed memories could be accurately recalled were 12 to 33 times more likely to offer a guilty decision than individuals who did not believe that repressed memories could be accurately recalled. Overall, the 3 experiments demonstrated the importance of a number of trial characteristics in determining juror decision making in repressed memory cases. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes and illustrates three general categories of situations that superficially resemble parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and can be mistaken for it. The term PAS continues to stir controversy in part because of a concern that during custody litigation the term is applied indiscriminately to children who reject a parent regardless of the type of rejection or the reasons for it. First are children who are not truly alienated but who nonetheless resist spending time with a parent or exhibit hostility toward a parent. Second are children who resist becoming alienated despite one parent's denigration of the other. The third category consists of children who are truly alienated, but whose alienation is not caused primarily by the favored parent's influence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined 5 cases in which a mother, ultimately diagnosed as suffering from delusional disorder, believed her children had been sexually molested by the father and other persons. In each case, the molestation was believed not to have actually occurred. Aspects for forensic psychologists to consider in such cases include the degree to which the disorder affects the accuser's functioning as a parent, the external support system, the parent's overall functional level, the developmental stage of the children and how they respond to the parent, and the parent's willingness to participate in psychiatric treatment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Explores the psychological implications of artificial insemination by donor (AID) and the possible emotional impact on the couple and the child as well as the donor, family, physician, and friends. It is noted that research on the effect of telling the offspring that he or she is an AID child does not exist. Mental health practitioners see only those children who have learned the facts of their origin inadvertently, often in dramatic circumstances. Finding out this way can have a devastating effect on the AID child, no matter how old. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
32 psychiatrists in Canada (average length of clinical practice 18.2 yrs) completed a questionnaire to test the hypothesis that a small number of arsonists are compulsive firesetters. The total number of arson-related cases reported by Ss was 243 (primarily male). 236 cases were judged to be arson, while the remaining 7 cases were labeled pyromania. Although N. D. Lewis and H. Yarnell (1951) recorded a high incidence of pyromania among their population of arsonists (24–45%), findings show that 2.9% of the present cases involved compulsive firesetters. Data suggest that true pyromania, as defined by DSM-III criteria, is either significantly lower than previously estimated or has decreased in frequency in the past 10 yrs as a result of changing social and moral values. (14 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Two experiments, involving a total of 143 undergraduates, investigated the impact of expert testimony regarding repressed memories in a childhood sexual assault trial. In Exp 1 participants read a fictional civil trial summary involving the sexual assault of a 6-yr-old female. In the 1st 3 conditions, the plaintiff testified immediately, after allegedly repressing the memory of the incident for 20 yrs, or after a 20-yr delay without repression. In a 4th condition, also involving repression, expert testimony regarding memory and repression was added. In a post-hoc condition, experts provided testimony regarding memory recovery techniques. The results indicated that expert testimony did not significantly affect the trial decision. In Exp 2, participants read the trial summary used in the post-hoc condition and made ratings of guilt and witness believability following each witness. The results indicated that cross-examination effectively counter-balanced the expert's direct testimony. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Argues that civil competency determinations should be complex processes that acknowledge certain general guidelines about competency and the specific factors of the situation so that final recommendations address the issues without restricting individuals' rights in areas in which they remain competent. Guidelines for assessing individuals' competency to manage their estates and themselves and to give informed consent, contractual competency, and testamentary capacity are presented, and the use of psychological testing and competency interviews is described. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses the dance of denial that sex offenders exhibit when referred for treatment and describes a 3-person Therapy Review Board used by prison clinicians to interview and assess sex offenders. The task of assessing sex offenders is difficult because the offenders say nothing happened, that they committed only a portion of the crime, that their victims lied, or that their behavior was misinterpreted. The role of each psychologist is presented. The panel creates a double bind to facilitate offender honesty, self-disclosure, and the confrontation of case discrepancies. Guidelines to sex offender assessment are also given, along with sample cautions for the interview process. Finally, the Review Board approach is seen as valuable for 5 reasons: data collection, collaboration, accountability, decision-making, and professional growth. The Therapy Review Board approach can result in less time and money being spent on sex offenders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This article will examine the legal and ethical challenges facing clinicians practicing in California due to the expansion of liability to third parties. The article will review prior relevant legal decisions, and discuss potential legal, ethical and clinical implications for clinicians in California, as well as other states and suggest guidelines for clinical and forensic practice. The primary focus is on recent decisions by the California Appellate Court concerning the liability of a therapist in matters of duty to warn potential victims or third parties of harm by an individual under the therapist's care. Previously California therapists had clearly outlined statutory protection against Tarasoff type finding of liability known as "Tarasoff Duty." The present rulings expand on the language in the statute that codified the Tarasoff duty of therapists in California. The decision in Ewing v. Goldstein and Ewing v. Northridge Hospital Medical Center will likely result in situations where the therapist will now have to consider and evaluate information regarding potential threats that are communicated by third parties and not made by the patient directly. This article will also examine the impact of "criminalization" of the "Tarasoff Duty" as it relates to California clinicians and the impact these decisions will have on clinician's duty to provide informed consent. As a result of these recent Court decisions continuing the erosion of psychotherapist-patient privilege, a greater possibility exists that more persons will be hospitalized, perhaps inappropriately and that therapists will be forced to testify against their patients in later criminal proceedings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Administered the Gravely Disabled-Sentence Completion Task (GD-SCT) to 52 psychiatric patients. Ss either completed the measure by themselves or had a staff member read the sentence stems and write the responses. Many sentence completions were incoherent, meaningless, or contained loose associations. Spelling and grammatical errors, sloppiness, and indication of psychotic thought were used in a comparative sense to determine whether there was improvement or further deterioration. Responses are identified that could be provided in court to document a patient's inability to understand the demands of his/her environment. It is demonstrated that the GD-SCT is effective in generating information about patients, particularly when they are reluctant to verbalize. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined 202 undergraduate students' (aged 17–49 yrs) attitudes toward the death penalty. In addition, attitudes toward the juvenile death penalty, and the differences between "Witherspoon excludables," those who would automatically vote against the death penalty, and "death-qualified" respondents, those who would vote for the death penalty in some cases, were examined. Results show that 84% of Ss favored the death penalty and 91% of Ss favored the death penalty for murder. More than half of the sample endorsed retribution as a basis for support of capital punishment. More "death qualified" respondents endorsed retribution as a viable reason to support the death penalty than did "Witherspoon excludables." Most Ss thought that young juveniles (aged 13–15 yrs) should be treated as adults and sentenced to death if warranted. Ss' beliefs and reasons for favoring the death penalty for 18–19-yr-olds were more like those of Ss who endorsed the death penalty for adults. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Proposes a protocol for mental health professionals and attorneys to meet the needs of clients who may have been sexually involved with their therapists. The benefits of developing a collaborative clinician–attorney relationship are addressed. The rights of the client and the responsibilities of the respective professionals are explored. The central theme of the protocol is the issue regarding the potential for the subsequent therapy, as well as the legal, administrative, and criminal systems of redress, to be damaging in similar ways as was the original sexual boundary violation. Steps outlined in the protocol attempt to sensitize mental health professionals to the perhaps unforeseen issues that will likely arise from the synthesis of legal and mental concerns. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes the use of a database of related information for a psychological autopsy and a framework for helping to determine the difference between homicidal, suicidal, accidental, and natural deaths. A forensic medical autopsy is a procedure conducted to determine the cause of death (e.g., acute barbiturate poisoning, gunshot wound) and its mode (homicide, suicide, accidental, natural). In cases where the cause of death is equivocal or the manner of death unexplained, a forensic psychological autopsy is performed, with the goal of assisting the medical examiner or coroner in the determination of the manner of unexplained death. A database usually consists of scene examination, study of pertinent documents, life circumstances documents, and interviews with relevant persons. Autopsy results may be used to settle criminal cases, estate questions, workers' compensation and insurance claims, and malpractice suits. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Provides an overview of characteristics and symptoms associated with battered women who kill their husbands/lovers after repeated abuse, based on clinical experience. The women are described as passive-dependent individuals who are so filled with terror and panic that they see murder as their only escape from a life-threatening situation. The abusive men are described as excessive drinkers who demonstrate a "Jekyll and Hyde" pattern of violently abusive behavior alternated with profuse apologies and promises of reform. Symptoms following the killing include intense nightmares recreating the act, feelings of acute pain and severe guilt, denial, and suicidal tendencies. It is reported that the act itself is rarely a premeditated or intentional decision but a desperate and survival-oriented act of self-defense. The importance of administering psychological tests, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), and the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test, as close as possible to the time of the act is emphasized. (6 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examines the difference between cases in which women commit acts of violence against their abusers as the result of the battered woman syndrome (BWS) or simply in self-defense (SD). Manifestations of BWS resemble posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in that both share the symptoms of trauma. SD cases do not show the same psychological pattern, and the features of PTSD are absent. Alcohol and drugs frequently play a major role in the BWS but not in cases of SD. Educational, sociocultural, and socioeconomic levels are higher in SD than in BWS cases, and morbid dependency is usually absent in SD cases. In BWS and PTSD cases, psychological testing shows disruption of thought processes by anxiety and depression. Intellectual functioning is influenced by anxiety and depression in SD but is basically more intact than in the BWS. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes the theory behind investigative profiling, the database used, and how this information provides law enforcement, using specific information that will eliminate unlikely suspects and suggest a "profile" of the individual who may have committed the crime. The database is based on information: from and about witnesses, study of the crime scene, and documentation, such as, police and forensic post mortem reports. The Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) of the FBI has collected a vast database on convicted killers and has contributed methods for analyzing the crime scene, the victim, and related forensic evidence. The best profiling cases are those involving serial murders and rape, sexual homicides, child molestations and ritualistic crimes. The Crime Classification scheme of the BSU should bring greater uniformity of classification in crime definition and study. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
As a psychologist with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the author has provided training to police officers in areas such as handling family disputes and domestic violence and mentally ill or suicidal persons. Another major role has been to provide police officers with services related to stress management, human resources development, and individual and marital counseling. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Defines types of bias to which forensic psychologists may be vulnerable, including confirmatory bias, anchoring, availability, illusory correlation, and hindsight bias. Debiasing techniques, or strategies designed to reduce the magnitude of judgment errors, are discussed. These include (1) the need for the expert to familiarize himself/herself with the literature on human judgment, (2) the use of explicit decision rules, (3) familiarization with relevant literature, (4) less reliance on memory, and (5) familiarization with the sensitivity and specificity of testing instruments being used. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
The usual forms for articles on boundary violations appears to be on the most severe forms, such as sexual intimacies with patients, or dual relationships such as going into business together. Recent exceptions have explored the topic more generally in preserving the safe and structured nature of therapy (D. Borys, 1994), or where to draw the line in dual relationships (J. Barnett, 1996). In the current study, the question of minor violations of the dual relationship prohibition was explored through questionnaires presented to 178 forensic professionals (M.D., Ph.D., Psy.D., M.A., M.S.W.) on their attitudes regarding dual relationships or potential conflicts (e.g., accepting a gift under $10, attendance at a wedding). Responses were considered by profession, gender, and years of experience. Results suggest an approach by the forensic professionals which is more cautious than that reported in an earlier work (K. S. Pope and M. J. Vasquez, 1991). They tended to see most scenarios as posing ethical dilemmas to be avoided. The expected relationships between item ratings and gender, profession, and years of experience were not found. Findings suggest that there is surprising homogeneity among such professions with regard to their views on low level ethical dilemmas. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Reviews the literature of the identification of mentally disordered remands at risk for future elopement and describes 7 elopement experiences occurring at the Metropolitan Toronto Forensic Service. Information was collected in terms of environmental, legal, and personal characteristics of the elopers or the elopements and then compared with 2 control groups of inpatient populations existing at the time of the elopements. Eight variables were analyzed for significant differences across the eloper population and the 2 control groups: disposition, having been noted to be manipulated, having received a diagnosis as antisocial personality disorder (APD), height, weight, length of maximum potential sentence to be received, previous incarcerations, and having had visitors while on the unit. Results reveal that elopers were more likely to have received a diagnosis of APD and to have been noted as manipulative by inpatient staff. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses issues involved in child custody evaluations to illustrate that subjective focuses such as the "best interests of the child" and the "least detrimental alternative" are not psychological categories. Objectivity in such evaluations is stressed. Issues examined include objectivity as the child's advocate and psychological vs custody evaluation. Guidelines for conducting an objective child custody evaluation are provided, and a 3-phase custody evaluation is detailed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Contends that the methods and procedures involved in plethysmography in males and females, and especially in sex offenders, have gained general acceptance in psychology and psychiatry and in assessment and treatment of sexual offenders. The author has performed such assessments at the requests of attorneys, parole boards, and judges, and has testified on these procedures in the courts of Hawaii. The 80-yr history of plethysmography is reviewed, and the clinical and research literature of the past 20 yrs concerning the reliability and validity of these procedures is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
50 divorcing couples (aged 25–66 yrs) litigating over custody of their children completed the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III) as part of a court ordered psychological evaluation. Results for the 4 validity scales and the 11 basic personality scales of the MCMI-III were then assessed for gender distribution and relationship to presenting problems. Findings indicate that litigants were defensive. The majority of litigants elevated on 1 of 3 scales: obsessive-compulsive, histrionic, and narcissistic. Men were more likely to elevate on single scales while women were more likely to elevate on combinations of scales. Women were more likely to test with histrionic features as some component of their personality structures as assessed on the test. With the exception of parents who elevated in atypical fashions, no relationship was noted between presenting problem and type or degree or scale elevation. Implications for assessment and treatment of litigants are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses the presence of coercive and persuasive patterns of speech as well as ineffective communication with patients diagnosed with severe dementia when civil commitment proceedings are scheduled. A patient's response to medication rights and decision to attend the legal proceeding and choice of trial by jury or commissioner/judge as well as professionals' questioning techniques are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents a tabular summary and review of the psychologist–client privileged communication statutory laws for the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. These regulations are also compared with statutory and case law surrounding the duty to report and the duty to warn and protect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Surveyed 126 psychologists practicing in 37 juvenile/family courts regarding the scope of psychological test practice within their juvenile/family court clinics. Major diagnostic batteries were identified for typical court-ordered delinquent and abuse/neglect assessments. The reasons for referral for psychological evaluations for abuse/neglect and delinquent assessment were rank-ordered by the frequency of request. Results show that the typical evaluation is conducted with a 15-yr-old boy using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Revised (WISC—R), the Rorschach, Bender Gestalt Test, TAT, and various projective drawings. The typical assessment of an abused or neglected school-aged child focuses on parent–child issues and the degree of psychopathology. Concern is expressed as to whether differential diagnosis of attention deficit, learning disabilities, and affective disorders (often found in behaviorally deviant children) is adequately addressed without special test batteries. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Human beings use a variety of cognitive heuristics, or mental shortcuts, in processing the information that they encounter every day. Although these tools can be useful in simplifying complex events, they can lead to serious errors in logic and reasoning when they replace the deeper, more controlled processing that is needed in certain decision making contexts. This work seeks to review these various heuristics (e.g., representativeness, availability, hindsight bias) in a context in which the stakes for accuracy are incredibly high and yet the basic tendencies of human information processing can lead to grievous injustices despite honest, conscious efforts to make the right decision: the legal arena. The influence of heuristics on determinations of guilt, sentencing, negligence claims and awards, jury instructions to disregard evidence, investigative interviewing, and juror's weighting of evidence is reviewed, and various strategies for reducing the impact of these biases in the legal forum are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Criminal defendants with paranoid disorders are frequently referred by the courts for evaluation of competency to stand trial. While these defendants share with other psychologically-based referrals potential difficulty rationally understanding the proceedings, they also present unique challenges for the psychologist who must accurately assess their capacity to reasonably consult with their attorneys in developing a defense. Since mistrust and unwillingness to relinquish control are hallmarks of this diagnostic spectrum, it becomes crucial to ascertain the extent to which the essential collaborative aspect of competency can be met. This article presents evaluation scenarios with defendants diagnosed with delusional disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, and paranoid personality disorder; identifies issues likely to be encountered with each condition; and explores evaluation strategies and outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes an evaluation approach used to assess criminal competencies in Hispanic immigrant defendants, who were fluent only in Spanish. The 1st case involved a Cuban man who was charged with burglary. The referral questions were competency to stand trial and competency to waive Miranda rights. The 2nd case was a man from the Dominican Republic charged with distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. The evaluation focused on competency to stand trial. Discussion includes psychometric issues, interview approach, malingering, and commentary on the findings of opposing experts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined the variation and range in reading levels and reading comprehension levels among Miranda waiver sheets. The language of each of the warning sheets was computer-analyzed in terms of the reading level (school grade), quantitative level of reading difficulty, and range of reading ease. Reading levels of the warning sheets ranged from a fourth grade level to the second-year college level. This study identified three important areas worthy of attention. First, in assessing the validity of any particular Mirandizing instance, the issue of reading level and ease of reading level of warning sheet and education level of the Mirandized suspect should be considered. Second, a current education/reading level assessment of the Mirandized suspect should be obtained in situations in which the question of a disparity between reading level of the suspect and readability of the Miranda warning sheet is even remotely relevant. Third, level of difficulty and ease of reading level of the Miranda warning sheet should be obtained in situations in which a significant disparity may exist between the reading/reading comprehension level of the warning and the education/reading level of the Mirandized suspect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
A 136-item sentence completion test was administered to 51 Ss involved in personal injury litigation. Based on existing empirical literature, 12 categories of malingering characteristics were formulated, and a structured scoring manual was developed for each response for each category. Factor analysis led to the identification of 3 meaningful strategies for malingering which were named angry negativity/no fair deal, disability exaggeration/overinvestment, and excessive virtue/honesty. The indices of malingering developed in this manner were validated against MMPI scales and against the responses of 39 college students in a simulation situation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses problems in understanding the nature of posttraumatic stress disorders and special complications in treatment. Clinical and forensic issues are illustrated using the case of a 19-yr-old man who had been severely injured in an automobile accident. The S was predisposed to this disorder because of traits of passivity and dependency and a pathological inability to modulate anger in the context of the traumatic event that aroused intense affects of fear and rage. Problems in treatment included the S's readiness to externalize and blame all problems on the accident; litigation that focused on the effects of the accident and emphasized the sick role, making it more difficult to resolve the emotional conflicts concerning the disability; and the secondary gain with family members, the legal process, and compensation, which increased resistance to change. (5 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Describes an antitrust case in an attempt to resolve the cognitive dissonance that results when reality does not match expectations. A 26-yr-old woman, initially part of a community attitude survey of 150 prospective jurors, was later selected to be a juror for the actual trial. Her responses on the survey indicated she was in favor of the defendant, but based on testimony provided by the plaintiffs and witnesses, negative impressions of the defense attorneys, and concerns about the role and methods of the judge, she later voted in favor of the plaintiff. Discussion focuses on the importance of communication by attorneys of all material facts when a trial consultant (TC) is involved. Areas identified as beyond the control of the TC included the nature of the evidence, the skills of the attorneys, and the psychological and sociological processes of juries. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Examined whether the correspondence between the 1957 and 1983 norms (R. C. Colligan et al, 1983) of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is sufficient to consider them parallel forms. MMPI profiles obtained from 62 adult male and 38 adult female patients from a mixed forensic sample (civil, criminal, and custody) were scored with both norms. Correlation between the 1957 and 1983 norms for the clinical and validity scales of the MMPI was high. Lack of reliability and stability of code types was a greater source of error than the actual difference between the 1957 and 1983 norms when looking at multicode types. The 1983 MMPI norms can be used with accuracy and reliability independent of the 1957 norms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Discusses ethical and legal issues in the management of countertransference in therapeutic relationships with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients. Therapists working with traumatized people are confronted with intense emotions and bizarre stories that challenge reality and reach into the most sinister side of humanity. Attachment problems, control issues, and dominance dilemmas surface during the course of therapy. Clients pressure therapists to reenact the trauma or divert the memories rather than remember and purge the horrors from their minds. The insistence that the therapist relive or distract the traumatic event(s) challenges treatment methodology, frustrates therapists, and creates opportunities for dual relationships, ethical violations, and malpractice offenses. In order to avoid these pitfalls, the therapist must have a sound grasp of trauma-based psychotherapeutic techniques, knowledge of trauma theory, and a healthy understanding of the treatment role within the therapeutic relationship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Presents suggestions for the forensic reporting of imminent dangerousness. It is argued that such short-term dangerousness predictions are professionally legitimate. The forensic format is predicated on a knowledge of variables associated with violence, under what conditions they occur, a way to order or manipulate the factors, and rules or guidelines to present the dangerousness report so that reasonable decisions concerning prediction, treatment, and review can be made. (5 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Top-cited authors
Kevin Colwell
  • Southern Connecticut State University
Amina Memon
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Deirdre Rand
  • Professional Development Resources / Latham Foundation
Hollida Wakefield
  • Private practice
Joseph Schumacher
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham