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Volume 8 Issue 1

An Exploratory Examination of Obsessive, Schizotypal, and Narcissistic Traits Among Sexual Offenders

Jung, S., & Jamieson, L.

Sexual offenders demonstrate errors in judgment and deficits in interpersonal functioning that may be attributed to elevations in obsessional, narcissistic, and schizotypal traits. Twenty-five sexual offenders completed a series of personality measures and were compared to 45 non-offending students and 15 mentally ill offenders. Compared to the control groups, sexual offenders showed significant and expected elevations of obsessional features and more schizotypal features compared to nonoffenders. However, contrary to our hypotheses, narcissism was not found to be elevated in sexual offenders. Implications for the treatment and assessment of psychopathological traits and their relation to sexual offending will be discussed in the article.

Predictors of Juvenile Court Dispositions in a First-Time Offender Population

Kalmbach, K.C., & Lyons, P.M.

Scholars and policy makers have long been troubled by the potential for some youth to receive disparate sanctioning as a function of extralegal factors, especially against the backdrop of ethnic/racial minority group overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system as a whole. Beginning in the late 1990s, many states began to adopt a graduated sanctions model in response to the emerging 'get tough' zeitgeist of the day. Originally intended by the federal government to reinforce juvenile accountability and to ensure equitable treatment of all youth in custody, some stakeholders began to note concerns about uneven outcomes in the use of graduated sanctioning schemes. Specifically, data across multiple jurisdictions suggested that racial and ethnic minority youth were receiving more restrictive than expected sanctions. The current study in one large urban jurisdiction explored this issue in a group of 2,786 racially and ethnically diverse first-time juvenile male offenders (ages 10-17). Results indicated that race/ethnicity was not a predictor of receiving a more restrictive than expected sanction; however, variables related to offending (offense severity, history of violence), age (older), and parental supervision (inadequate) were significant predictors of such departures.

The World Assumptions of Police Officers and Academy Cadets: Implications for Response to Trauma

Colwell, L.H., Lyons, P.M., & Garner, R.

One way to understand individuals' reactions to traumatic events is to focus on their basic assumptions about the self and the world and how these influence the coping response. Some scholars have argued that police officers' assumptions about the world differ from those of average citizens, and that these different worldviews may act as a risk factor or a protective factor against the development of trauma-related symptoms in response to the myriad potentially traumatic events that they encounter on a daily basis. The present study sought to examine the world assumptions of police officers and academy cadets to determine if they differ from one another and the general public in their basic assumptions about the self and the world, and to investigate how these beliefs shape and, in turn, are shaped by their traumatic experiences on the job.

A Distinctiveness-Driven Reversal of the Weapon-Focus

Carlson, C.A., & Carlson, M.A.

The presence of a weapon during a crime can reduce the accuracy of eyewitness identification, known as the Weapon-Focus Effect (WFE). We hypothesized that the effect could be eliminated if the perpetrator has a distinctive feature on the face, based on research from the face processing literature. Participants (N = 600) watched a mock crime video from a first-person point-of-view in which a perpetrator appeared to assault them with either his fists or a beer bottle, or by pointing a shotgun at them. The perpetrator either had a distinctive feature (a large sports sticker) added to his face or not. After a few minutes spent on a distractor task, participants made an identification decision from a perpetrator-present or -absent simultaneous lineup. Overall, the probative value of a suspect identification was worst when the shotgun was present (replicating the WFE), but only if there was no distinctive feature. Adding the distinctive feature to the perpetrator's face reversed the WFE, both by increasing correct identification rate and decreasing false identification rate when the shotgun was present. This condition also yielded the highest confidence-accuracy correlation. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of perpetrator distinctiveness as an estimator variable in eyewitness identification research.