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"Outline The Relevance Of One Of The Following To Policing: Cognitive Psychology."

2284 words - 10 pages

The intention of this essay is to explore the area surrounding how cognitive psychology has affected or disaffected policing practices and the positive or negative outcomes of it. To do this, a deeper understanding of the terms cognitive and psychology, along with their interactive relationship had to be expounded.The scope of cognitive psychology is vast in relation to the public and police, particularly due to the fact that it is an individual process with many external mitigating factors. Therefore I have attempted to narrow the field and concentrate on a couple of specific examples of the use of cognitive psychology, while attempting to explain the theories behind the processes.What is ...view middle of the document...

That in and of itself does not necessarily mean that it is specifically talking about childhood, (although the majority of our personality is developed during that period). Strong traits are also developed as an adult, through peer pressure and indoctrination. This can also be reinforced in an organisation in the form of institutionalisation.An example of this would be the case of David and Lucille White, a middle aged couple, who in 1982, received aggravated and exemplary damages of £51,392 in the High Court, for wrongful and malicious prosecution. One night in September 1976, two police officers watching a house saw three youths coming out of the front door at 12:45am. 'Suspecting a burglary', they radioed for assistance and were joined by fifteen more officers. No search warrant was produced; one member of the household was knocked unconscious with a truncheon blow to the head. Lucille also had a truncheon blow to the head when she appeared in her dressing gown and Daniel (beaten so badly he had nine weeks off work), was arrested, taken to the station, held for four to five hours and charged with assaulting police officers.When acquitting the Whites' at court, Justice Mars-Jones described the police actions as 'Monstrous, wicked and shameful'. (Harrison 1983:355)Here is a clear example of developed behaviour (use of physical force to achieve objective), reinforced through peer pressure and indoctrination (at no time did any officer step outside the 'circle' and attempt to stop what was obviously illegal and morally wrong) and given validity in the shape of institutionalisation (the force appeals against the decision)One of the first aspects of cognitive psychology I discovered was its' intricate links with social learning theories. There is a high level of subjectivness in relation to cognitive behaviour, due to it being a learned developed process or a reactionary process depending on the stimuli, through learned behaviour.The difficulty with cognitive psychology was the fluidity of the processes involved. 'There is no clear boundary between psychological approaches to crime and those of other behavioural and social scientists' (Blackburn, preface). His argument is that psychologists need to be applied criminologists as well as psychologists. He states that 'Any claim to "scientific" solutions to "the crime problem" are also disingenuous, since the kinds of conduct a society chooses to penalise by law, and how it deals with offenders, are determined by normative ethical systems. Science can inform these systems, but cannot replace them'. What is the 'norm'? 'The concept of norm does not denote a single belief or standard (Gibbs 1972; source Blackburn, introduction). There are so many different factors that come into the equation. Of the views held there seemed to be an agreement of opinions that the cognitive aspect brings in personality traits to the fore. Those traits being the behaviour, which is normally developed over a...

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