New methods for examining expertise in burglars in natural and simulated environments: preliminary findings

Nee, Claire, White, Martin, Woolford, Kirk, Pascu, Tudor, Barker, Leon and Wainwright, Lucy (2015) New methods for examining expertise in burglars in natural and simulated environments: preliminary findings. Psychology, Crime & Law, 21 (5). pp. 507-513. ISSN 1068-316X

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Abstract

Expertise literature in mainstream cognitive psychology is rarely applied to criminal behaviour. Yet, if closely scrutinised, examples of the characteristics of expertise can be identified in many studies examining the cognitive processes of offenders, especially regarding residential burglary. We evaluated two new methodologies that might improve our understanding of cognitive processing in offenders through empirically observing offending behaviour and decision-making in a free-responding environment. We tested hypotheses regarding expertise in burglars in a small, exploratory study observing the behaviour of experienced offenders (ex-burglars) and novices (students) in a real and in a simulated environment. Both samples undertook a mock burglary in a real house and in a simulated house on a computer. Both environments elicited notably different behaviours between the experts and the novices with experts demonstrating superior skill. This was seen in: more time spent in high value areas; fewer and more valuable items stolen; and more systematic routes taken around the environments. The findings are encouraging and provide support for the development of these observational methods to examine offender cognitive processing and behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Martin White
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 11:43
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2015 11:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/57265
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