Psychology and policing in a changing world

Psychology and policing in a changing world

Book Reviews 517 REFERENCES Beloff, H. (1980). A balance sheet on Burt. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society (suppl). Fletcher, R. (1991). ...

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Book Reviews


REFERENCES Beloff, H. (1980). A balance sheet on Burt. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society (suppl). Fletcher, R. (1991). Science, Ideology and The Media: The Cyril Burt Scandal. New Brunswick, NJ: Transactions Press. Flynn, J. R. (1987). Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: what IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 171-191. Hearnshaw, L. S. (1979). Cyril Burt: Psychologist. London: Hodder & Stoughton. Joynson, Robert B. (1989). The Burt Affair. London: Routledge.

PETER B. AINSWORTH: Psychology and Policing in a Changing World. Wiley, Chichester (1995). xii + 248 pp. £15.95. The author sets out to persuade police officers of the value of psychology and empirical research to their profession and entices his prospective readership with a publication divided into three adventurous and rather appealing sections. These examine (i) The Police and the Public, (ii) The Police as an Organisation and (iii) The Police and Society. I am a little surprised the author feels the need to embark on such a conversion course given the enthusiastic demand shown by police officers to participate in university psychology courses and the numerous requests made over the years to psychologists to assist in many aspects of policing. The first section catered for some of the more fundamental theories of psychology, securely harnessed to everyday police problems (for example, Fundamental Attribution Error, Social Identity Theory and Group Processes). The jewel in the crown is clearly the Cognitive Interview Technique, representing as it does an excellent example of the empirical research of Fisher and Geiselman that is applied to the interviewing of witnesses and victims (although not unco-operative suspects). The first section is brought to a close with an excellent chapter on mental health where the author tackles the 'unpredictable and the aggressive' in an illuminating and very practical fashion, although a brief and idiosyncratic reference to illegal drugs appears out of place. The remainder of the book lost some of the pace and proximity of the first section. The adhesive qualities of the relevant psychological theories gave way to more general problems surrounding recruitment, training and efficiency demands, all of which invariably focused on the need to establish agreed criteria at the outset. I was also a little disappointed that the chapter on offender profiling suggested that British forces confined its use to crimes of murder and rape when they have tackled extortion, arson, abduction and also burglary cases. Ironically the next chapter is prefaced with an infant abduction case where a psychologist not only helped to compile a profile but also assisted composing media appeals. This book makes a useful contribution to cementing the relationship between psychology and policing; they are after all, natural bedfellows, but in attempting to cover such a wide selection of topics most issues tended to receive a somewhat superficial coverage and not the in-depth analysis such relationships demand. JOHN PEARSE

LAUREN K. AYRES: The Answer Is Within You--Psychology, Women's Connections, and Breast Cancer. Crossroads, New York (1994). 261 pp. This is a popular account of the importance of psychological factors in combating cancer of the breast. It is well-written, easy to read, with well-chosen references unobtrusively furnished at the end. Readers do not require any prior knowledge of psychology, medicine, or immunology to understand the main points made, and the author does not make any claims that cannot be fully substantiated. There is now no real doubt that psychosocial factors are of great importance in the development of breast cancer (and cancer generally!), and that suitable methods of stress management and behaviour therapy can prolong the lives of terminally-ill cancer sufferers to a marked extent--and with none of the debilitating side effects of traditional medical methods. This is a finding the scientific and social importance of which has not been sufficiently appreciated by medical people or the general public, and an easy-to-read popularization such as this fulfills an important need. Beyond that, the book may with advantage be used by breast cancer sufferers as a kind of bibliotherapy help. There is a good deal of evidence that many people suffering from neurotic disorders and stress related diseases can help themselves, in the absence of trained psychologists, by reading about their condition, and the causes and possible cures. It would be an interesting experiment to take a sample of breast cancer sufferers and get half of them to read this book, while the other half was given some popular medical test dealing with breast cancer. Would there be a signincant difference in life expectancy? I would not be surprised if there turned out to be quite a sizeable difference. Even better, of course, would be a combination of such bibliotherapy and a few hours of psychotherapy geared to the special problems of these women. However that might be, this is a very useful book that spreads the message that body and mind are not two entirely separate entities, but that we always deal with a body-mind continuum, just as physicists had to learn the fact that they were dealing with a space-time continuum. For clinical psychologists ignorant of the large literature around this topic, this would be an excellent introduction. H. J. EYSENCK

C. R. LEGG and D. A. BOOTH (Eds): Appetite--Neural and Behavioral Bases. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1994). xii + 334 pp., £37.00. This book is the first in a series of reviews covering major areas in the brain and behaviour sciences. The series is designed to be accessible to the non-specialist, with the reviews written by leading researchers.