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Does cross-examination help jurors detect deception?
Year of Dissertation:
Margaret Bull Kovera
Both the Constitution and case law establish cross-examination as a crucial method for eliciting testimony that will assist fact finders in determining the truthfulness of a witness's testimony. Despite the legal system's faith in the efficacy of cross-examination as a safeguard against deceptive witnesses, no studies have tested the assumption that cross-examination will help jurors discriminate between truthful and false testimony. The cross-examination strategies that trial technique manuals advocate are based on commonsense notions of human behavior, but these strategies have not been empirically tested to determine if they help jurors accurately discriminate between truthful and lying witnesses. Although traditional cross-examination techniques have not been empirically studied, psychological research has identified specific strategies that improve laypeople's ability to detect deception when viewing an interrogation of a suspect. The present research examined the effectiveness of currently employed cross-examination techniques in determining the truthfulness of a witness's testimony. In addition, the traditional cross-examination techniques were tested against cross-examination strategies that were based on techniques derived from the deception detection literature. In the first phase, 106 participants either witnessed a confederate steal a wallet or they were not exposed to the theft. In phase II of the experiment, I manipulated participants' motivation to either lie or tell the truth about what they saw. Witnesses' direct and cross-examinations were videotaped in a mock courtroom, and witnesses either underwent a traditional cross-examination, a cross-examination based on deception detection research, or no cross examination. In phase III of the study each of the witnesses' examinations were edited into the larger context of a theft trial. Mock jurors viewed the trial and provided veracity judgments for each of the witnesses and rendered a verdict. Although behavioral differences were observed between deceptive witnesses who underwent a research based cross-examination and deceptive witnesses who underwent a traditional cross-examination, cross-examination type did not influence jurors' evaluations of witness truthfulness. Implications for the legal systems and future research directions are discussed.
The Situated and Dialogical 'Nature' of (In)Competence: A Socio-Cultural Approach to Informed Consent Treatment Decision-Making Competence in Adults Diagnosed with Intellectual Disability
Year of Dissertation:
The Situated and Dialogical 'Nature' of (In)Competence: A Socio-Cultural Approach to Informed Consent Treatment Decision-Making Competence in Adults Diagnosed with Intellectual Disability Assessment of treatment decision-making competence emerges in situations where incompetence is suspected, for example in situations involving adults diagnosed with intellectual disability. Competence Judgments have traditionally been considered a matter of individual intellect. Alternatively, a developmental perspective based within a socio-cultural framework considers competence an interactional process and a matter of dialogical self-other encounters where information is exchanged and perspective taking where the point of view of the 'other' is legitimized as being worthy of consideration. This qualtiative study examined reports of self-other encounters by adults diagnosed with intellectual disability placed in residential agencies and the employees of those agencies. Encompassing a variety of perspectives 44 individuals acros three non profit agencies within New York State participated. Interviews were used to elicit accounts of self-other encounters from 29 adults diagnosed with intellectual disability and 19 employees across a range of positions from direct-care to upper management. Findings revealed that accountability issues were particularly salient for employees with and across agencies tailoring policies, practices and type of encounters with the adults placed. Employee encounters with placed adults were characterized by monological relations; constraining access to necessary social knowledge and information required to demonstrate competence. Autonomy relating to treatment decisions hinged on employee and professional's judgment of placed adults as 'kinds of persons'--competent or incompetent. Incompetence frequently emerged based on their 'placed status' positioning them 'recipients of' rather than 'agents for' services and treatments. Accordingly, many placed adults perceived medical and mental health services and treatments as devoid of choice. Responses to a standardized capacity assessment instrument employing vignettes evidenced their knowledge of the distance between their actual experiences and 'ideal forms' hypothetically constructed. Shifts in judgments allowing them greater autonomy occurred when they articulated legitimate forms of social knowledge in self-other encounters; often not predicted by IQ scores or assessment outcomes. Accessing these legitimate forms came from sources primarily outside of the agencies--through self-other encounters involving dialogical relations (e.g. with pharmacists) or accessing 'tools' self-appropriated through available technology (e.g. Television commercials, computers). Including the perspective and knowledge of adults diagnosed with intellectual disability these findings demonstrate that from an agency point of view, in the context of accountability, incompetence is the default and 'safe' position. Shifting this view rests on increasing inclusive practices--encouraging dialogical relations in self-other encounters between adults diagnosed with intellectual disability and the professionals providing services to them, through which knowledge and information is made accessible. Implications of these findings impact law and policy regarding competency evaluations, guardianship, and rights as these pertain to adults diagnosed with intellectual disability.
FATHER ABSENCE, THE MYTHICAL FATHER, AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON AFFECT MATURITY
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This study investigates the influence of father absence on a son's ability to experience emotion in mature, differentiated ways--to show affect maturity. According to Anne Thompson (1986), affect maturity "determines how an individual will experience and cope with his or her feelings" (p. 212). This, according to Thompson (1986), has consequences for tolerating negative affects, reflecting on possible decisions instead of acting impulsively, and reality testing one's emotions. This study was founded upon the notion that the father, whether present or not, is internalized by his son and therefore plays an essential role in identity formation and the regulation of intense affect. Consequently, it was hypothesized that a father's absence would have deleterious affects on his son's attainment of these developmental milestones, and affect maturity. Interviews of young men who responded to Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) cards were quantitatively analyzed using Thompson's (1986) Affect Maturity Scale (which measures affect from the most primitive to the most mature). Additionally, subjects' responses to the TAT, and to questions about their early relational experience with their fathers, were qualitatively analyzed to help understand the father's role in shaping their son's internal world. Contrary to what was predicted, affect maturity scores of young men with regular father contact growing up were significantly lower than those with no father contact growing up. Furthermore, neither subset experienced a loving, nurturing, and supportive father--a good enough father--who could be internalized and then serve as an identification figure and to regulate emotion. However, those with regular father contact appeared to be additionally impaired by the consistently problematic interaction with their father. In this regard, this study's results suggest that it is not simply the father's presence or absence that impacts affect maturity, but the quality of the relationship. Similarly, they suggest that consistent interaction with a benevolent, nurturing father is an important variable in determining a son's affect maturity. The lack of a group in this study with positive father-son interactions, and the possible influence of social class, poverty, and peer groups on the findings limit the certainty that results are due solely to absence of a good-enough father. Nevertheless, the notion that a benevolent and nurturing father is important for healthy development is consistent with existing research and theory and has wide-ranging implications for clinical practice.
THE ROLE OF CLOCK AND MEMORY PROCESSES IN THE TIMING OF FEAR CUES IN HUMANS
Year of Dissertation:
Recent research on the effects of fear on timing has focused on two accounts proposed by Scalar Expectancy Theory (Church, 1984; Gibbon, 1977) for why the durations of fear stimuli are overestimated in comparison to the durations of neutral stimuli. One possibility is that fear serves as an arouser that increases the speed of a hypothetical internal clock. In this account, greater temporal overestimation of fear relative to neutral stimuli is predicted for longer stimulus durations relative to shorter stimulus durations. The other account is that fear increases attention to time, which results in organisms beginning to time fear-evoking stimuli sooner than they do neutral stimuli. In this possibility, the effect of fear does not interact with stimulus duration. Experiment 1 asked which of these two possibilities was the underlying mechanism of temporal overestimation of fear cues by manipulating emotion-evoking pictures (fear-evoking vs. neutral) across multiple duration ranges in the temporal bisection task. Larger effects of fear were observed at the longest duration range in comparison to the shortest duration range, supporting the arousal hypothesis. A related area that has been left relatively unexplored is the role that reference memory may play in the temporal overestimation of fear-evoking stimuli. Penney, Gibbon, and Meck's (2000) memory mixing hypothesis proposes that overestimation is only possible in preparations that allow for recalled reference memories for stimulus durations to be mixed across conditions. Therefore, in the second experiment, we manipulated whether or not fear and neutral cues were presented within the same session, a condition that may be necessary for memory mixing to occur. Fear cues were overestimated relative to neutral cues within the session in which fear and neutral cues were both presented, but no effect of emotion was observed between the two sessions in which fear and neutral cues were presented separately.
Unexpected Work Intrusions into Employees' Personal Lives: Investigation, Measure Development, and Exploration of Causes and Consequences
Year of Dissertation:
The present research explored unplanned work performed during employees' nonwork hours in response to unexpected work intrusions. Three studies were conducted to achieve four goals: 1) better understand the nature of switching from nonwork roles to the work role in response to work intrusions during nonwork hours, 2) help distinguish unplanned role switching from planned role transitions (e.g., bringing work home), 3) develop and validate new episodic measures of work intrusions and three aspects of unplanned nonwork-to-work role switching (frequency, mental difficulty, and physical effort), and 4) begin developing a nomological net of antecedent and outcomes variables surrounding the construct. In Study 1 I conducted employee interviews using the critical incident technique to clarify the nature of unplanned role switching and how it differs from planned role transitions. Analysis of rich qualitative data revealed important characteristics of unplanned role switching that help differentiate it from planned role transitions. The qualitative data also helped in developing episodic measures of work intrusions and unplanned role switching. In Study 2, the new measures were refined based on feedback from subject matters experts and interviewees from Study 1. Study 3 was a repeated measures design in which the refined measures from Study 2 were administered during a 10-day daily study period to assess employees' responses to discrete work intrusions during a typical workweek. Antecedents (individual differences and job characteristics) and outcomes (work interference with nonwork, burnout, and poor physical health symptoms) were examined using HLM. Results indicated that the antecedents differed for the three aspects of unplanned role switching. However, exploratory results demonstrated the importance of work intrusion characteristics in predicting all three aspects of unplanned role switching. Additionally, Study 3 results underscored the importance of examining intrusions and unplanned role switching, as both were related to negative employee outcomes, such as poor physical healthy symptoms. Also, the outcomes differed for the three aspects of unplanned role switching, indicating that it is a complex construct with distinct psychological and physical processes. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed, as well as ideas for future research.
MODIFYING THE CRIMINALIZATION HYPOTHESIS: PREDICTING JAIL DIVERSION OUTCOME WITH CLINICAL, CRIMINOLOGICAL, AND PERSONALITY FACTORS
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There are a disproportionate number of individuals with serious mental illness in the criminal justice system, compared to the general population. Mental health courts and jail diversion programs were developed to divert individuals with mental illness out of jails into community treatment to ease the overburden of treating psychiatric disorders in the criminal justice system. These programs have become increasing popular, but little is known about the characteristics of the diverted individuals that result in successful outcomes. The purpose of this study is to test different causal models of noncompliance as predicted by clinical, criminological, and personality variables, and examine the incremental validity of widely used clinical and risk assessment instruments over the screening instrument currently employed by diversion programs. Cox regression models do not support the strict interpretation of the criminalization hypothesis that treatment noncompliance is a result of clinical symptoms alone. Rather, treatment noncompliance is predicted by personality variables. Neither the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) nor the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) demonstrated incremental validity over the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS) for predicting noncompliance. In addition, the PAI personality features, substance abuse, and aggression scales, were associated with all forms of treatment noncompliance.
Neuropsychological and Neuropsychiatric Prediction of Cognitive Functioning and Cognitive Decline: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Elizabeth Guerrero Berroa
Year of Dissertation:
The goal of this study was to examine whether seven neuropsychological tests and three depression measures were associated with cognitive functioning among Hispanic elderly, and to assess whether they operated differently for Hispanic and White ethnic groups. Participants were 89 community-dwelling elderly Hispanics and 89 Whites matched on clinical and demographic characteristics, all followed longitudinally at the NYU Alzheimer's Disease Center (NYUADC). Their cognitive functioning ranged from normal to moderate dementia. Although a large proportion of the measures evidenced an association with cognitive status, hierarchical regression analyses showed that the initial recall of the NYU-Paragraph Test and the Retardation measure (especially for Spanish-speaking Hispanics), as well as WAIS-Digit Symbol (especially for English-speaking Hispanics) were most strongly associated with cognitive status after controlling for demographic and other cognitive measures. Retardation (for the entire Hispanic group) and the total score of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS; for the entire White group) differentiated between normal cognition and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). For the full range of cognitive status, the combined predictive usefulness of the 10 measures differed significantly between Hispanics and Whites; this difference was especially driven by the Retardation measure. For nondemented participants, only the depression measures predicted differently between the two ethnic groups. When the analyses examined the primary language of the participants, the predictive usefulness of neuropsychological and depression measures differed between Spanish-speaking Hispanics and their matched Whites, but no differences were found between English-speaking Hispanics and their White counterparts. Subsequent analyses showed that, for Hispanics, the usefulness of the 21-item HDRS-total score reflected the contributions of Work and Activities and Retardation, but not the other 19 items. The WAIS-Digit Symbol lacked specificity for Spanish-speaking Hispanics. Preliminary longitudinal analysis showed that the delayed recall of the NYU-Paragraph Test predicted cognitive decline among Spanish-speaking Hispanics. These results suggest that the NYU-Paragraph Test and Retardation may improve diagnostic accuracy and prediction of decline among Spanish-speaking Hispanics.
Nepantla and Ubuntu Ethics Para Nosotros: Beyond Scrupulous Adherence Toward Threshold Perspectives of Participatory/Collaborative Research Ethics
Year of Dissertation:
Participatory Action Research (PAR) refers less to a method and more to a continuum of approaches to collaborative inquiry. Within PAR, ideally, some phenomenon has been identified as a mutual area of concern to researchers and community members; working together they design, conduct, analyze, and disseminate the findings of a shared piece of research and coordinate action(s) aimed at using research to redress injustice. If PAR is embraced holistically boundaries inevitably blur as research team members become enmeshed in each other's lives. This blurring while momentous can give rise to ethical quandaries that IRB centered research ethics are inadequate to engage or provide parameters for the conduct of ethical participatory research. Borrowing from Borderlands scholarship I conceptualized PAR stakeholders as nepantleras. PAR researchers and their community partners are nepantleras because their work is about unremittingly trying to co-create and co-nurture counter-hegemonic research relationships bridging racial, ethnic, cultural, and social class boundaries within their collaborations. Nepantla perspectives give rise to Ubuntu ethical stances. Ubuntu ethics involves evaluation(s) of how our PAR builds capacity, sustains transparency of project aims, gauges accountability, assesses inclusivity, demonstrates trustworthiness, and the preservation of dignity at each stage of the research process. Using individual interviews and a longitudinal de-colonial ethnography of a community based ethical review board this dissertation attempted to understand how different nepantleras define the parameters of ethical conduct in research. In some ways I have accomplished this aim. I am in other respects left with the sobering realization that conducting ethical participatory research that embraces nepantla and Ubuntu ethics while working within the confines of conventional ethics is more difficult to conduct than I could have possibly imagined.
Repetition: From Compulsion to Structure
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This work studied the different functions of repetition in the course of a long-term psychoanalysis. In empirical psychoanalytic research, repetition has been viewed as a maladaptive behavioral structure or speech disfluency. However, it was argued that repetition is a unique function of the mind that has various uses. Repetition can manifest as dominance of inertia; it can also be associated with traumatic anxiety and help develop a structure to alleviate the impact of trauma. In addition, some repetitions are in the service of difference where they modify and enrich the psyche. In an effort to study the linguistic expressions of these different kinds of repetitive phenomena, this study identified the patient's use of fixed repetitions, where the same words were used over and over again to narrate an experience. It was proposed that an increase in the use of such fixed repetitions would point to an inability to create new meaning. In contrast, when the patient is able to reach an evocative, vivid and specific representation, the use of fixed repetitions was expected to decrease. A further goal of the study was to explore the relationship between repetition and defensive processes. It was expected that an increase in the use of fixed repetitions bespeaks of a failure in defensive strategies. With these multiple objectives in mind, the transcripts of ten audio-taped psychoanalytic sessions were coded for the exact repetition of verbs. The language of verbs was expected to capture repetitions used with intention. Computerized linguistic measures of referential activity, which is a measure of imagistic language, as well as computerized linguistic measures of intellectualization and negation were used in order to capture patient's representational language and defensive processes. As expected, the results showed a general negative correlation between fixed repetitions and representational speech. No consistent pattern was found between repetition and the measured defensive processes. The results were discussed through a clinical qualitative analysis. The study marked repetition as a significant measure that is able differentiate between sessions in terms of their affective and symbolic qualities.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in Couples Facing Multiple Sclerosis: Impact on Self Reported Anxiety and Uncertainty
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Nearly 2.5 million people in the world have MS (The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, 2007). MS is an auto-immune disorder, involving the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary and can come and go, appear in any combination, and may be mild, moderate, or severe. The prognosis and time-course of the disease is often unclear. The disease can create a great deal of uncertainty, particularly in newly diagnosed patients (Noseworthy et al., 2000). Approximately 50% of patients and partners showed significant levels of either anxiety or distress (Pakenham, 1998). Additionally, patients who reported their spouses to be more encouraging have been shown to be significantly less depressed (Schwartz & Kraft, 1996). Thus, couples "react to disease as a unit" (Pakenham, 1998, p. 269). Rolland (1985) concurs that "the well spouse faces many of the same dilemmas" (p. 240). Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an eight-week course incorporating yoga, meditation, and mind-body awareness, is a skills training technique which has successfully combated many physical and emotional ailments. This study evaluated the effect of MBSR on the uncertainty and resulting anxiety of each partner, as well as on the relationship. Twenty-five couples were recruited into two MBSR groups, with one couple partner diagnosed with Relapse-Remitting MS. Quantitative self report measures assess physical symptoms, anxiety, relationship satisfaction, perceived illness uncertainty, and intolerance of uncertainty. Data was collected before and immediately after the intervention. Results indicated a positive change in patient and partners levels of anxiety and uncertainty as well as in their relationship satisfaction. Results from this study contribute to the field of available interventions for couples dealing with chronic illness, and specifically MS. Additionally, it illuminates an important and yet undiscovered element of mindfulness meditation as a tool in coping with family illness.