Forensic psychology at York St John is a small but developing area of psychology. We conduct research focusing on perpetrators, witnesses and victims of crime using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In respect of teaching, forensic psychology is embedded in several modules throughout the undergraduate degree programme (cognitive psychology, individual differences) and we offer an optional level three forensic psychology module which covers: historical and contemporary theoretical explanations for offending behaviour, treatment and interventions for different types of crime, the application of psychology to the investigative process and eyewitnesses to crime.
Dr Carter is interested in the relationship between personality and anti-social, deviant, and criminal behaviours. Specifically, this centres on the ‘Dark Triad’ of narcissism, machiavellianism and, particularly, psychopathy. His work largely considers sub-clinical manifestations of these traits, but encompasses the overlap of these traits with clinical and forensic theory. Some areas of his recent work have covered sex work and sexual exchange, psychopathy in women, and the ways in which these traits can be both functional and dysfunctional.
I am interested in the underlying mechanisms that drive interpersonal interactions, primarily those that are negative in nature. This includes how individual factors increase vulnerability to criminal activity, those that result in the continuation of that violence (i.e. recidivism), and those that lead to false confessions, given that this takes place as part of an interpersonal interaction. I am currently working on three projects: conducting a path analyses of the SD3, a psychometric measure on dark triad; a thematic analysis of the transcripts from interviews on true and false confessions; and a meta-analysis of the predictive utility of the VRAG and PCL-R (recidivism). I am also planning projects around: attitudes towards domestic abuse; investigating whether salivary cortisol can be used as a biomarker for vulnerability to falsely confessing; and an experiment using eye-tracking and physiological response to assess reactions to male-on-female vs female-on-male violence.
My primary research interests focus on children’s eyewitness testimony. I have conducted research investigating techniques to facilitate memory recall in young children such as drawing. I am also interested in individual differences in children’s eyewitness testimony. More recently, I have broadened my research interests within forensic psychology. I have worked with North Yorkshire Police to investigate levels of pre-loading behaviour and I am currently investigating aspects of sexual violence. Along with colleagues in Student Services I have delivered a bystander intervention training programme designed to reduce rates of sexual violence on campus. This programme is currently being evaluated.