Psychological/Physiological Analysis as is used in Criminal Investigation

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The rate of crime has been increasing at a very high rate in the society. In consistent with this, criminal investigation agencies have continued to research on the appropriate strategies to combat rising criminal activities in the society. Following this point, this research paper would focus on psychological/physiological analysis as is used in criminal investigations. The paper will begin by looking at how this analysis is used in criminal investigation activities, before moving on to the importance of this approach in investigation. Additionally, this research will look at the pro and cons of using psychological and physiological analysis in criminal investigation. The paper will also propose different recommendation on which areas need further development to enhance this method of criminal investigation.

Introduction

The 21st century remains as one of the periods in history which continues to enjoy the advances in technology and other innovations which have relatively improved the lifestyles of people across the globe. In line with this, the execution or rather accomplishments of different activities has been enhanced, with efficiency being put on top of the agenda. Nonetheless, this is also a period in history which continues to face different challenges which emanates from crime or rather criminal activities, not only in the United States but also across the globe. Notably, there has been an increase in crime rate in the United States and across the globe, on a local and international level. According to Polisˇenská, (2007), during the year 2005, the police documented 344060 criminal acts, a 2.2% decrease from the previous year and the lowest crime level since 1993 in the Czech Republic. Similar data has been collected in different parts of the globe. In addition to this, crime has also exhibited evolution characteristics just the same way the society has evolved with the invention of new technologies.

In line with this, the government of the United States in collaboration with other governments across the globe has been on the forefront to devise ways of dealing with crime in an effective way. Consequently, various ways of deterring crime in the society have been developed with a focus on how it can be reduced in the society. Following this, one of the ways of guaranteeing that crime is dealt with in an effective way is through investigation. Accordingly, crime or rather criminal investigation is one of the most important approaches towards solving crime puzzles and reducing its impact on the society. To be specific, there are different crime investigation approaches which have been developed over time to reverse the current crime trends in the society. More so, there has been a shift towards analysis and solving crime puzzles from a scientific point of view.

Above and beyond, some of the scientific means which are currently utilized on the crime scene include the psychological and physiological analysis in criminal investigations. In reference to Vrij, Mann & Fisher (2006), scientists, law enforcement agents and a host of other investigators have been attempting to develop better methods to discriminate between truth-tellers and liars (p.329). In consistent with this, it is important to mention that human behavior and how they respond to situations remains as the most important factors which could assist law enforcement agencies to gather and analyze vital evidence which could assist them to bring criminal culprits to book. Apart from looking at crime and trying to gather evidence on a crime which has already occurred, the psychological/physiological analysis as is applied to criminal investigations also focuses on the preventing future crimes in the society.

In consistent with this, the criminal investigation department in the United States and in other countries across the globe has continued to develop its knowledge and skills in using psychological and physiological analysis in crime investigation. However, there are numerous limitations which would be identified in this research paper which relates to the use of psychological and physiological analysis in criminal investigations. One of the challenges of using this approach in criminal investigations regards the issue that there are limited studies which have been carried out on this subject. In reference to Polisˇenská (2007), despite the many improvements and the existence of institutions which relate to the area of crime research, no academic bodies exists whose sole purpose is to conduct research in the area of forensic disciplines, including forensic psychology in the Czech Republic and among most nations across the globe (p.60). This, among other limitations has contributed to the lagging behind of this field as is applied to criminal investigations across the globe.

The development of psychological and physiological analysis remains as one of the critical areas which are poised to transform not only the present criminal investigation tactics but also the future. Notably, this is one of the areas which are yet to be exploited fully by the law enforcement bodies in the United States and across the globe. Its development, which will rely more on thorough research and studies would require both the government and academic institutions to pull together their resources towards conducting further research and training professionals with a deeper understanding of psychological and physiological analysis processes.

Furthermore, the involvement of the community would also be an important factor to be incorporated into this approach of criminal investigation. Tyler & Fagan (2008) argues that research from social psychology demonstrates that one central reason that people cooperate generally is that they identify with their communities, linking their sense of self (identity) to the wellbeing of their group (p.236). Following this point, psychological and physiological analysis could also be utilized to gather important information from the community and as acquire important information which is needed in criminal investigation cases.

Literature Review

There are many researches which have been carried out in the past which relates to psychological and physiological analysis and crime investigation in the society. To begin with Vrij, Mann & Fisher (2006), examined or rather tested the Behavior Analysis Interview (BAI), an interview technique which was developed by F.E. Inbau, J.E. Reid, J.P. Buckley, & B.C. Jayne (2001) designed to evoke different verbal and non-verbal responses from liars and truth-tellers (p.329). This research found out that liars were more inclined towards portraying a more honest appearance as compared to those who told the truth. In other words, liars tried as much as possible to control their psychological appearance in order to look as honest as possible. In consistent with this, the law enforcement officers must be able to differentiate such phenomenon between truth-tellers and liars as a way of ascertaining whether they were on the right track towards solving the crime under investigation. This piece of literature is an important eye-opener on the importance of understanding psychological and physiological analysis result in criminal investigation.

The understanding of personalities and human behavior in general also contributes by a greater part to the overall understanding of crime. In line with this, Guay et al. (2007) argues that a personality disorder such as psychopathy, its association with violence and its usefulness is a risk factor in predicting criminal recidivism has increased its prominence in the last decade in both criminology and psychopathology (p.701). Remarkably, these authors argue that the understanding of personality disorders plays a critical role towards a thoughtful approach in gathering information that would assist in criminal investigation. Therefore they argue that the factors of psychopathy as one of the personality disorders which were identified were vital in predicting sexual coercion against women (p.709). Therefore, before launching any criminal investigative activity, the law enforcement officers have to examine whether there are psychological issues which were involved in that case. Apart from helping them to understand the issues which resulted to the crime, understanding psychological could also assist in speeding up the investigation process as well as laying down important strategies towards preventing further crime in future. Notably, it is the responsibility of law enforcement agencies not only to investigate crime but also to lay down structures to prevent an occurrence of the same.

Another source which would play an important role in this research regards some of the weaknesses which have been identified in using psychological and physiological analysis in criminal investigation. In line with this, there are some of the methods which were not ascertained as it concerns their reliability in criminal investigation processes. According to Snook et al. (2008), the police department around the world has been using Criminal Profiling as one of their strategies in criminal investigation (p.1257). Notably, this refers to the collecting of important data from the crime scene and then building a profile of the perceived criminal. Snook et al. argues that there is no scientific evidence to ascertain that Criminal Profiling as a method in crime investigation is credible. Therefore, such an understanding is important as it helps the criminal investigation officers to develop an open mind when conducting investigation using this method. Consequently, this source plays a significant role in this research in the sense that it helps in identifying flaws and weaknesses in the psychological and physiological analysis methods as they are used in criminal investigation.

The ability to classify criminals based on psychological and physiological analysis by the law enforcement agencies is an appropriate strategy in solving crime puzzles in the society. As a result of this, Swogger & Kosson (2007) argues that psychopathy is an important construct in offender classifications (p.953). In consistent with this, it is important to note that there is a difference between crime offenders in the society. Therefore, criminal investigation agencies need to classify these crime offenders in different categories to make it possible to differentiate the type of crimes committed and associate them with the right offenders. Therefore, one of the ways of classifying these offenders is through the use of psychological and physiological analysis. For instance, from the results which were obtained by Swogger & Kosson (2007) in their research, classifying psychopaths as either primary or secondary psychopaths was an important steps in differentiating one group from the other in the sense that the former group exhibited more violent behavior than the latter (p.357). Therefore, such classification of crime offenders created an opportunity for crime investigators to identifying from the onset the kind of criminals they were dealing with.

Methodology

This research was based on an analysis of scholarly materials which had carried out extensive research and analysis of data on the topic of discussion. These sources were deemed credible as a result of their recent publication which indicated their ability to carry out extensive research using current scientific research methods. Additionally, the information which was utilized was based on credible data which was collected from different geographical areas across the globe, with the interest of crime, psychological and physiological analysis in mind. In addition, most of the authors of these sources were researchers and academic staff based in different renowned academic institutions across the globe.

In addition to collecting important information and data from these scholarly materials, this research also worked with some of the real life case studies which were based on psychological and physiological analysis in crime investigation. These were combined with the information and data from the scholarly articles and analyzed with the trendiest scientific methods which are currently used in research. Recommendations were also made to further the research in areas which were insufficiently covered by these sources. Therefore, this research paper would play an important role in forming the foundation for further research on the subject of psychological and physiological analysis as it is used in criminal investigation.

Research Findings and Discussion

The understanding of the psychological and physiological analysis in crime investigations is and would always be an important strategy towards dealing with criminal issues in the society. In line with this, this research on physiological and psychological analysis as is applied to investigating crime is among the studies which have been carried in the field of criminology. It has been argued that forensic psychology has been around as early as the 20th century (Polisˇenská, 2007). This has been developed further by research in this field with more focus on the psychological side as compared to the physiological side.

There are others scholars and researchers who have argued that some methods of psychological analysis in detection of certain aspects of crime were in use as early as 19th century. Irrespective of this developing history of physiological and psychological analysis as is used in criminal investigations, this shall not be the center of focus in this paper. Instead, the research findings would dwell on how physiological and psychological analysis is implemented into investigations, its importance in investigation and the pros and cons of using this method in criminal investigation processes.

Implementation of Psychological/Physiological Analysis into Investigations

There are various psychological and physiological analyses which are utilized in criminal investigation. To begin with, the Concealed Information Test to ascertain whether a person is telling a lie or the truth is one of the psychological analyses which are use in crime investigations. In reference to Meijer, Vershuere & Merckelback (2010), lie detection procedures are typically aimed at determining whether a suspect is lying about a crime committed in the past (p.44). This method of lie detection examined the physiological and psychological response which was provided by the suspects. Therefore, certain aspects are observed in these cases to which would then lead to a conclusion on whether the suspect is lying or not. This technique of truth/lie detection requires the law enforcement officers to use hi-tech strategies in determining the credibility of the information which was provided by a suspect. Remarkably, skin conductance was measured in as part of the physiological measures and the data acquired using Contact Precision Instruments bioamplifiers with a sample rate of 60 Hz (Meijer, Vershuere & Merckelback, 2000, p.45).

According to Meijer, Vershuere & Merckelback (2010), some of the issues which were observed in the lie detection tests entail how the suspect responds to questions which were related to the crime. Notably, in a test which was carried out, some suspects responded with a calculated move in a way to avoid putting themselves in a position which could result to a conclusion being made regarding their involvement in the crime. It was observed that consistent stronger physiological responding to the correct answer options indicated knowledge of intimate crime details, from which involvements in the crime could be inferred (p.44). Therefore these suspects were either put on further investigation or were opened charges to answer, depending on the level of being suspected as the culprits.

The second method which is used in detecting the truth/lies was referred to as Behavior Analysis Interview. This method encompassed evoking different verbal and non-verbal responses from liars and truth-tellers (Vrij, Mann & Fisher, 2006, p.329). In the research which was carried out using the BAI test, both liars and truth-tellers were helpful in the investigations which were being carried out. In other words liars and truth-tellers contributed to the investigation process, against the backdrop that liars were not helpful. Vrij, Mann & Fisher (2006) states that one reason why cues to deceit emerge because liars experienced more cognitive load than truth-tellers (p.343). Remarkably, it was noted that the greater the difference between physiological and verbal responses of truth-tellers and liars, the easier it was to discriminate between them.

Another method which is used in crime investigation based on the psychological and physiological analysis is Criminal Profiling, CP. In reference to Snook et al. (2008), Criminal Profiling is the practice of predicting a criminal's behavioral, personality and demographic characteristics using crime scene evidence (p.1257). Piercing up together the profile of a suspected criminal is done in a three stage process. To begin with, the police have to collect data from a crime scene such as detective reports, autopsy and photographs. These are then taken to a profiler who predicts the behavioral, personality and the behavioral characteristics of the possible criminal. After this, the results are taken to the investigating officers to track down the criminal.

It is important to note that accurate profiling requires a deep understanding of human behavior or a capacity for logical reasoning -skills typically found among psychologists and science students (Kocsis, 2004, p.343). Therefore, the effective use of this method in criminal investigation requires criminal investigation professionals to possess psychological skills and a deep understanding of human behavior and personalities. In line with this, the application of these methods in criminal investigations has contributed enormously to solving of important crime cases in the society.

On the other hand, the criminal investigation agencies could also approach the issue of solving crime from the community perspective. Notably, most crime offenders live in the community or rather society with people. In some cases, these offenders are known by the society in which they live in. Therefore, the community approach involves using societal psychological and physiological analysis to acquire information which could be used to arrest these offenders. In the study of social psychology of cooperation, it was found out that legitimacy shaped willingness to help the police and willingness to work with the community, whose influence of legitimacy was similar among both majority and minority respondents (Tyler & Fagan, 2008, p.250). In other words, legitimacy was one of the factors which contributed to the community assisting the police in fighting crime in the society.

Importance of Psychological/Physiological Analysis' in Investigation

The use of psychological/physiological analysis in investigation is vital in investigation of key crime cases in the society. To begin with, it is important to understand that crime has continued to be a threat to the harmonious existence of the society. In consistent with this, one cannot ignore the place of psychological and physiological analysis as is used in crime investigation. In relation to this, psychological and physiological analysis continue to play a critical part in the understanding the relationship between human behavior and crime. Above and beyond, human behavior could either assist in acquiring important information and data during the investigation process while on the other hand; it may serve as a stumbling block to the acquisition of this information. Therefore, for crime investigation officers to be able to probe crime activities in the society, they need to have an understanding of psychological and physiological perspective of human beings.

Psychological and physiological analysis played a significant role in separating criminal suspects from the innocent people in the society. Notably, one cannot be able to solve a crime issue without first identifying key suspects in this crime and working out on getting the actual culprits. Therefore, this analysis was vital in separating these two groups of people; letting the innocent to go free while filing charges against the crime offenders. This is particularly important when the crime offenders were not found on the scene of crime, thus complicating the issues of solving such a crime. In consistent with this, the use of strategies such as Concealed Information Test and Behavior Analysis Interview remain as important approaches towards solving these crimes (Vrij, Mann & Fisher, 2006). Notably, from the case studies which were analyzed in the past researches, it was revealed that liars were more likely to go free due to their ability to focus on giving out answers to investigation questions which could not link them to the crime committed. According to Meijer, Vershuere & Merckelback (2010), the linear trend in Concealed Information Test detection efficiency between the informed innocent, intent, and guilty condition was marginally significant (p.46).

Apart from investigating crime, the use of psychological and physiological analysis in criminal investigation could also go a long way in reducing further crime in the society. For instance, the analysis of psychopaths in the society was an important strategy towards gathering data and information which could help criminal investigation officers to develop mechanisms of dealing with such kind of people in the society before they commit crime. It is important to understand that there are psychological issues which contribute to one committing a crime. Therefore, further crimes could be prevented if these psychological issues are identified and applied in deterring further criminal activities. Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2009) argue that there is a need to develop actuarial tools which would consider variables associated with recidivism and incorporate them into psychometrically sound measures of psychologically meaningful constructs (p.10). This will assist in accurate identification of important factors which contribute to recidivism among offenders in the society.

Pros and Cons of Physiological/Psychological Analysis in Criminal Investigation

There are pros and cons which were identified in this research in regard to using psychological or physiological analysis in criminal investigation. To begin with, looking at the positive side of psychological and physiological analysis as is used in crime investigation, it was found out that the study of behavior in the investigation of crime was among the most consistent ways of dealing with crime in the society. Notably, one of the advantages of this method of crime investigation is embedded in the fact that it does not provide ways of nabbing criminals alone but also provides ways of preventing further criminal activities in future.

Another advantage of this process of crime investigation is coined in the fact that this methods does not focus only on one person but rather on a group of people in crime investigation. As a result of this, the data and information obtained in regard to certain type of crime offenders could easily be analyzed and grouped, thus enabling the criminal investigation agencies to use such information in investigating further similar crimes. For instance, grouping people as psychopaths could easily help criminal investigation agencies to develop appropriate strategies of dealing with crimes committed by such people. According to Guay et al. (2007), there are two subtypes of psychopaths which have been identified so far namely; primary and secondary psychopathy (p.711). These groups exhibit different characteristics and such an understanding among the law enforcement professionals would a long way in enhancing criminal investigation processes.

One of the challenges of using psychological and physiological analysis in carrying out criminal investigation activities is based on the fact that the law enforcement agencies need to have deep knowledge and understanding of human behavior and psychology in order to be able to use this method. However, research indicates that there are very few people in the law enforcement agencies who have these skills. According to Kocsis (2004), the science students surpassed all of the police groups, and there was a negative correlation between investigative experience and profiling accuracy (p.344). Stated in other words, these criminal investigation professional were supposed to develop important skills such as profiling by acquiring knowledge on human behavior. Without such information, these professionals would not be able to deal with crimes using this analysis in an effective way. On the other hand, some of the methods which are used by criminal investigation agencies across the globe have received minimal attention from the research. This has crippled the acquisition of information to determine whether the results which are obtained using these methods are dependable.

Conclusion

Criminal investigation remains as one of the most important step towards solving crime puzzles in the society. To begin with, there are different ways through which physiological and psychological analysis is applied to criminal investigation. Notably, this approach to investigation utilizes the psychological and the physiological aspects of human beings to solve challenging criminal issues in the society. As a result of this, this research found out that acquiring skills and knowledge in human behavior played important roles toward understanding the relationship between crime and the psychological aspects of human beings.

In consistent with, some of the methods which were identified in this approach to criminal investigation relates to Concealed Information Test and Behavior Analysis Interviews. These methods played a vital role in collecting information which was supposed to assist criminal investigation officers to determine whether one was involved in crime or not by analyzing whether they were telling the truth or lies. Notably, it was found out that those people who told lies were more composed when answering investigation questions as compared to those people who told the truth. On the other hand, this research found out that both liars and truth-tellers were equally important in the investigation process.

In combination with this, psychological and physiological analysis in criminal investigation played an important role in separating crime offenders from the innocent people in the society. This research found out that there were difficult cases in the criminal world which required criminal investigation officers to gather a pool of suspects and then eliminate them one by one until they found the culprit. Therefore, the use of psychological and physiological analysis assisted these officers in separating these two kinds of people in the society. There were also pro and cons of using this methods in investigation of crime which were identified. In line with this, this approach created an environment not only of solving crime puzzles but also of creating deterrence measures of crime in the society. On the contrary, lack of adequate research remained as one of the negative issues which were associated with this approach. As such some of the approached which were used could not be ascertained whether they were effective or not.

Recommendation

To begin with, there is a need to enhance psychological and physiological analysis as is applied to criminal investigations. Note that there has been a focus more on psychiatry and other medical-related psychological issues in this field as compared to criminology. Therefore, the criminal investigation agencies need to develop extensively their use of psychological and physiological analysis and approach to criminal investigation. Outstandingly, this would go a long way towards enlightening more criminal investigation professionals in regard to using this approach in criminal investigation.

Secondly, there is need to train professionals in criminal investigation department to expand their knowledge on the use of psychological and physiological analysis as it is used in investigating crime. Notably, most police officers had limited knowledge and skills in psychological and physiological analysis as it is used in investigation practices. It is important to understand that some of the psychological and physiological analysis approaches to criminal investigation were delicate and needed critical understanding on how to apply them in real life. For instance, Criminal Profiling needed a deep understanding not only on human behavior but also on the interpretation of certain factors in the society as they relate to human behavior.

There is also a need to develop academic institution which will cater exclusively for criminal investigation officers in terms of training them in regard to psychological and physiological analysis approach to criminal investigation. Notably, research indicates that irrespective of the fact that there are numerous institutions which deal with criminal investigation across the globe, little has been done to develop academic institutions to deal with the same. Furthermore, adequate research should be conducted in this area to ascertain the credibility of some of the methods which are applied in psychological and physiological analysis as is applied in criminal investigation. For instance, some of the approaches which were used under psychological and physiological analysis as is applied to criminal investigation could not be ascertained whether they were credible or not. In addition to adequate research it is also important to increase the support towards research and studies in this area of criminal investigation. Polisˇenská (2007) argues that one of the weaknesses which have been identified in some area of psychological analysis such as forensic psychology is limited opportunities due to lack of institutional support.

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