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Psychology of Investigations and Security

  • Module code: PS6012
  • Year: 2017/8
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5 Forensic Psychology or Level 5 Psychology (or equivalent)

Summary

This module will focus on psychological aspects of investigations and will combine theoretical and practical approaches to activities central to the investigative process such as interviewing, identification, profiling, decision-making and deception. In addition, the module explore the psychological and behavioural underpinnings of feelings of security, and describe psychological factors in various measures that police, government, and security personnel take in ensuring the security of people in the community.

Aims

  • To develop a critical understanding of the application of psychological principles and methodologies to the study of criminal investigations and provide an introduction to the main theoretical perspectives relating to some activities central to key areas of the psychology of investigations.
  • To critically examine the application of empirical research findings to different real world contexts of criminal investigations and consider the strengths and weaknesses of different methodological approaches and provide students with practical skills and an understanding of the difficulties faced by investigators.
  • To develop an understanding of the judgment and decision making aspects of the uncertainty of security and establish how risk of threat is assessed.
  • To establish perceptual, attentional, and decision making limitations to surveillance for crime and explore critically what practices are effective in preventing crime and reducing inter-group conflict and why these practices are effective.

Learning outcomes

  • Critically evaluate key concepts, theoretical and practical issues relating to investigative psychology.
  • Apply and critically evaluate psychological research findings to investigative practice and assess implications of empirical research.
  • Critically evaluate the methodologies used to address research questions in Investigative Psychology.
  • Critically appraise research about the effectiveness of security measures.
  • Critically examine what underpins people's feelings and reasoning about security, including mental processes, societal influences, and environmental factors.

Curriculum content

  • Investigation chronology
  • Eyewitness/earwitness identification
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Interviewing suspects
  • Detecting deception
  • False and recovered memories.
  • Offender profiling
  • Decision-making
  • False confessions
  • Victims and risk
  • Cyber-crime
  • Crowd behaviour
  • Detecting deception/photo-face matching
  • CCTV and surveillance

Teaching and learning strategy

The module will consist of 22 x two hour lectures/interactive sessions which will be used to deliver the core content, consolidate and discuss information delivered. Key research articles and methodologies will be discussed and case studies will be used to allow students to apply relevant theory and concepts. Role playing will be used to allow students to practice interviewing skills. Students will be given a list of academic readings to direct their private study. Additional materials such as links to news stories related to the topics covered in the unit; and links to web-based resources relevant to the unit will also be provided.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Interactive Lectures 44
Guided independent study 256
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to develop critical appraisal skills and knowledge in Forensic Psychology and provide evidence of the students' understanding, and progress throughout the module. Details of the formative and summative assessments are provided below.

Formative assessment: Throughout the year students will develop skills in critical evaluation thought discussion, debate and quizzes. Students will receive oral feedback on their understanding of key research articles and their learning and skills development from the lecture discussions. To support preparation for summative assessments within the interactive lecture sessions there will be set opportunities for students discuss their essay plans, and where they will complete mock exam questions that are peer-marked and discussed with lecturers in relation to marking criteria.

Summative assessment: The Summative assessment for this module consists of coursework (40%) and an exam (60%).
The coursework will be an essay (1000 words) and will assess students' knowledge and ability to critically appraise and evaluate key issues. A 2-hour end of unit examination (60%) is designed to assess the breadth and depth of knowledge acquired during the module.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Critically evaluate key concepts, theoretical and practical issues relating to investigative psychology. Formatively through lecture activities, and summatively via the essay and exam.
Apply and evaluate psychological research findings to investigative practice/security and assess implications of empirical research. Formatively through lecture activities, and summatively via the essay and exam.
Critically evaluate the methodologies used to address research questions in Investigative Psychology/security. Formatively through lecture activities, and summatively via the essay and exam.
Critically appraise research about the effectiveness of security measures. Formatively through lecture activities, and via the summative assessment.
Critically examine what underpins people's feelings and reasoning about security, including mental processes, societal influences, and environmental factors. Formatively through lecture activities, and via the summative assessment.

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Bull, R., Valentine, T. & Williamson, T., 2009, Handbook of Psychology of Investigative Interviewing, Chichester: Wiley (978-0470512685)

Gudjonsson, G, 2003, Psychology of interrogations and confessions, Wiley: Chichester (978-0470844618)

Kassin, S. M. (2012, April 30). Why Confessions Trump Innocence. American Psychologist. doi: 10.1037/a0028212

McNally, R.J., 2003, Remembering trauma, Harvard University Press (978-0674010825)

Vrij, A., 2008, Detecting lies and deceit: Pitfalls and opportunities, Chichester: Wiley (978-0470516256)

Security:

Blagden, N., 2011, Policing and Psychology (Policing Matters), Learning Matters (0857254650)

Lacey, D., 2009, Managing the Human Factor in Information Security, John Wiley & Sons (978-0470721995)

Meloy, J.R., Sheridan, L., & Hoffmann, J. , 2008, Stalking, Threatening, and Attacking Public Figures. A Psychological and ...., Oxford: OUP (978-0195326383)

Welsh, B.C. & Farrington, D.P., 2009, Making Public Places Safer: Surveillance and Crime Prevention, Oxford: OUP (978-0195326215).

Edwards, C. (2014). Ending identity theft and cyber crime. Biometric Technology Today, 2014, 2, DOI: 10.1016/S0969-4765(14)70033-5

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