Psychology- Criminal Behavior

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Whether human behavior is acceptable or not is always driven by how people think as well as what motivates them. The criminal’s psychology addresses some of the thinking processes that do result into deviant acts and what really motivates them. The environmental as well as hereditary factors do play a major role as far as developing a person’s character to go ahead and be a criminal. When people break the law, this is always thought to be actions of deviation from what is usually seen to be accepted in the society. Criminal psychology usually examines the thoughts, motivations and the intentions of the people who defy the legal system habitually. Forensic mental health assessment is usually an evaluation that is performed by the mental professionals who offer crucial as well as scientific data to a decision that is legally based or to the litigants who are involved in crime (Kirk, Geoffrey, David, Eric, Justin & Tiffany, 2003, pp. 329-343). This paper aims at analyzing case scenarios from an e-book, the degree to which the environmental risk factors as well as the correlation of the criminal behavior influences the criminal behavior and finally evaluate on whether or not the offender is a criminal or not.

Most courts today are quite interested in determining the capacity of the defendants in order to attend, reason, concentrate and track all proceedings as well as some salient details. The compensation board, juries and the entire court must first determine whether the plaintiffs have any kind of impairment in their functional cognitive abilities, their memory aptitude or their intellect. Psychologists hence have come up with divergent tests that have been validated to evaluate the psychological wellness of the defendants. There are various procedures that are available which are meant to assess the impairment of the memory. One of them is the Portland Digit Recognition Test (PDRT) (Binder, 2002, pp. 27-41) as well as Test of Memory Malingering (Iverson, Le page, Koehler, Shojania & Bidii, 2007, pp. 532-46).

The PDRT usually requires a prolonged time in order to present effective results but the Test of Memory Malingering is much quicker taking around 5 to 10 minutes (Kirk, Geoffrey & David, 2002). The PDRT is a measure that is quite valid that is used to measure motivation in performing on memory tests that are quite useful in forensic evaluations (Fredric, Stuart & Allen, 1995, pp.124-134).

Recent contributions have focused largely on the major standards of evaluating the competence to be sentenced by analyzing the major need to offer involuntarily the treatment to those who for some major psychotic reasons are not in a position to stand full trial. Competence to being sentenced is the major component or an entire capacity to undergo the legal proceedings beyond fitness. It is the duration between the moment when the entire court process ends and the time a sentence is rendered (Gomez & Arboleda. 2005, pp. 547-9).

The principle of using psychological testing in order to assess the style of response is a vital consideration in Forensic Mental Health Assessment (FMHA). It usually refers to the minimization, exaggeration and accurate reporting of the signs of emotional and mental disorder (Kirk, Geoffrey & David, 2002, pp.85). The assessment as far as FMHA is concerned is crucial due to the incentives that are there in the contexts of forensic as well as the view of the attorneys and judges that the self reported report might be inaccurate. There are four divergent forms of response style (Richard & Michael, 2002, pp. 83-104).  One of them is honest whereby a genuine attempt is usually made accurate. Factual imprecision usually result from misperception and poor comprehension. Malingering is the second form of response which involves exaggeration and fabrication of the physical symptoms.

The defensive is where there is denial consciously and gross reduction of the physical symptoms and finally irrelevant usually comprises of the failure in becoming engaged in the whole evaluation and where the responses do not concur with the questions. The role of some specific styles of response in assessing the treatability of the patients has been widely neglected. Defensiveness and denial are the main obstacles to gaining effectual treatment. The researchers ought to consider some of the theories like Trans- theoretical model when it comes to assessing the major role of denial and defensiveness in determining treatment (Richard, pp. 433). Numerous research queries have emerged on the major connection of dissimulation to responses of the patients in their treatment. Some of the questions in which have been considered is for example the extent in which the dissimulators follow and comply with the treatment as well as the  treatment outcomes for the dissimulators.

The response forms and styles can hence be assessed by using traditional interviews as well as some psychological tests.  In discussing these tests, it is integral to consider the accuracy and consistency of responding that involves over reporting and underreporting. With the respect to accuracy on item endorsement, MMPI-2 comprises of numerous scales that are usually crucial to overendorsement and underreporting of the psychopathological signs. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory or the MMPI is the personality tests for mental health (Rouse, Greene, Butcher, Nicholas & Williams, 2008, pp. 435-42).

The results of most studies that were undertaken by researchers where by participants were offered with comprehensive information regarding the nature of the psychopathology for example schizophrenia showed that MMPI-2 scales are effectual in differentiating between genuine disorders and the simulated disorders. Some research though declares that MMPI-2 is ineffective in distinguishing the two concepts (Robert, 2005, pp. 121.)

In a structured interview of eight primary scales that was developed in order to assess the psychopathology feigning, research using the SIRS revealed that it is effectual when it comes to differentiating between the genuine patients and the feigners (Kirk, et al, 2002, pp.87). Though SIRS is usually limited because of its major inability in detecting a malingerer who reports to have symptoms and then fails in responding to some questions, it is equally important.

In assessing the individual responsive style, it is crucial for forensic practitioners to come up with divergent measures. The use of measures for example structured interviews, psychological tests as well as collateral information offers some additional support regarding the response of individuals.

One of the cases that apply to this principle in a court ordered evaluation context in order for a criminal to be sentenced, involved the evaluation of the cognitive capacity in comprehending the current situation and obtaining a more elaborate representation of the defendant as far as his cognitive functioning was concerned. The evaluator was however skeptical on the accuracy of the entire psychopathological symptoms and therefore speculated that there was a possibility of the malingering of the defendant.

To determine the rate of malingering, some interviews were conducted as well as some psychological testing for example the MMPI2 and SIRS. The defendant was hence administered on some psychological tests that run on three occasions concurrently in order to assess on the responding outcomes.

The results in the first test of SIRS revealed that the defendant was actually misrepresenting herself and was not ill because his responses were like of that person who was intending to feign a mental incapacity. Since the defendant was obviously exaggerating on his psychological symptoms, this is hence grouped in the category of malingering (John, 1917).

The defendant after he was administered on MMPI2 the results showed that he was endorsing some of the items that were reflecting the onset of psychopathology. Based on these results, the evaluator hence concluded to the fact that the defendant was presenting some malingering style of response. This is because all the scales administered on him showed a consistent response of feigning of the mental illness. These results aided a lot in determining the state of mind of the defendant and the evaluator finally concluded to the fact that the defendant was in a position to go ahead with a plea agreement as well as a subsequent sentencing. This is a case revealing how people suffering from mental illness like schizophrenia can exaggerate on their illness in order to have a reduced sentencing. From the above results it is not obvious to allege that the defendant was totally guilty and hence needed no mercy from the court. This is because these tests are liable to be misinterpreted.

In the second case of  a 36 old man who was accused of possessing firearms and therefore convicted of felon, the court show a need for an extensive examination in order to give their opinion on the competency of the defendant to be sentenced (Kirk, et al, 2002, pp. 88). The defendant was informed that there was relationship between the patient and the doctor and hence there was no confidentiality. In an evaluation by theUSmedical Center for the Federal prisoners, the defendant was observed keenly by the correctional and clinical staff. He underwent through some interviews with the evaluators. According to the report he offered on his personal background, it revealed that he was selling illicit drugs in order to get income since he had no any family support. He also revealed that he was arrested like for about 20 times during his adulthood and adolescence because of felony. He also revealed that he was experiencing tremors, nervousness and depression. During all this time he received thioridazine to help him get some sleep. When the medication was discontinued, he showed no any signs of problems and was cooperative. He could care for himself and interacted effectively with the others. He was oriented and alert to time, place, situations and people. His speech was also quite coherent and clear though it was slowly delivered. There was no evidence to reveal that he had any mental disorders since his thinking capacity was coherent, organized and linear.

The defendant was hence administered on some psychological testing on three occasions. The test results revealed that the defendant was trying to present himself as ill and also confused. He however claimed that he was not feigning and therefore he agreed for a repeat of the tests. In his second test, there was no suggestion of feigning. When the tests were readministered, the responses that he gave were irrelevant and quite inconsistent to be interpreted. Measures on motivation as well as effort showed that he got motivated to respond in an incorrect style. Repeat tests administration of the cognitive ability showed that he had low aptitude as far as nonverbal reasoning was concerned, verbal comprehension and word knowledge. Results shows clearly that the defendant in this case had no any mental disorders as he had excellent styles of hygiene and also organization though he had a tendency to feign mental ailment. He also could portray some signs that were unbelievable and unlikely (Kirk, et al, 2002, pp.91).

Though the defendant in the case study was feigning mental ailment, he was doing in a reduced manner in order to get a reduced sentence if at all he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The defendant in this case was guilty on the grounds that he had no any mental disorder and only presented a behavior and personality style which is characterized by antipathy towards the authority as well as violation of the law and social norms. There was no relationship between mental illness and personality style. He was therefore fully aware of all the conditions and terms of the agreement. Basing our reasoning on the results, it is therefore proper to say that the defendant was fully competent to go ahead with the case since there is no revelation of mental disorders which would interfere with such abilities. Therefore basic reasoning shows that the felony acts that he committed was purely in his right conscious any dealings or confusion that he could have had was triggered by the drugs that he took for a long time like marijuana. However, to be more rational there could be a possibility that the entire tests were also biased because of some specific reasons.

There should be a principled approach that is usually specific as far as FHMA is concerned. There a number of set of principles that should be developed in order to enhance on the quality as well as consistency of the forensic assessment. Applications of such rules and principles would help a lot to minimize some of the arbitrariness as far as legal decisions processes are concerned through the promotion of a consistent, thorough, clear and impartial results.

The principled centered theoretical approach to FMHA usually holds a considerable promise in improving the quality of all the forensic practices. The principles will go a long way in supporting some major crucial functions. The first function which is of concern addresses training the mental professionals in practicing and understanding FMHA. This model would offer the trainee with some generalized approach as far as FMHA is concerned that would hence allow development of some expertise in a certain population. Also, in applying the principles, they should have an affirmative impact on theory as well as research development in forensic assessments. The case studies results though to an extent might have been correct; it is also lucid that they might have also had some biasness in the analyzing process.

It is patent that it is quite possible to evaluate some complaints on amnesia through developing recognition test which is individually directed to information in which the patient claims that they do not know. Making a rational assessment on presentation, means going ahead and incorporating some information from testing, history clinical presentation as well as incentives for malingering to form a clear hypothesis on patients. It is quite useful to confront the patients with some valid concerns on the fact that the testing performance usually do not reflect on their aptitude and the results are not always quite clear. In the case study presented, it is evident that we can never trust some results based on first testing and also the conclusive results are also quite biased.

Complication always results in cases where the findings are quite mixed up for example in the cases of malingering that is partial, contradictory response and false imputation. In most scenarios, the patients portray numerous personalities as well as dissociative disorders during the psychological testing thus it is imperative to come up with a rational base on the patients mental aptitude (Armstrong & Loewenstein, 1990, pp. 448-454).

In FMHA, the evaluator should assume an objective role and use higher standards for relevance and accuracy of all the data that is to be collected as well as being used in the assessment process. The evaluator usually takes a divergent role as far as the relationship to patients is concerned and usually acts in the interest of the patient.