Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute

Lecture: Crime and Punishment

Lead instructor:

Your progress is not being saved! Enroll now or log in to track your progress or submit homework.

3.2 Terminology » Glossary

  • clearance rate     the frequency at which the police are able to solve cases
  • cognitive load     the amount of information held in working memory, which inversely impacts the efficiency or accuracy of cognitive processes, i.e. higher cognitive load > decreased cognitive efficiency
  • confirmation bias     the tendency to believe or incorporate new information that aligns with or supports one's existing beliefs and to disregard new information that counters existing beleifs 
  • criminal justice     the delivery of appropriate punishment against entities that have committed crimes according to the law of the place
  • first-mover disadvantage   negative effects of being the first to do something; in the case of witness cooperation, there is a first-mover disadvantage in that the witness may be subjected to disbelief and/or retaliation and/or a failed prosecution unless additional corroborating witnesses come forward
  • impunity     exemption from punishment
  • incentives     things that encourage a particular action or belief, or benefits derived from taking such action
  • preemptive motive (preemption)     taking an action in order to prevent an unfavorable action from occuring; especially in the context of policing, preemption is used as a justification of an officer's use of lethal force against a potential assailant
  • prejudice   negative stereotypes that result in faulty and harmful beliefs about a category of people; may lead to outward discriminatory actions against members of that category
  • racial profiling     the practice of using race as a predictor of some quality or behavior
  • rational behavior     actions that maximize gain for the individual, taking into account known facts; purely objective decision-making
  • stereotype     beliefs individuals hold about categories that are extended to all members of that category; generally applied to groups of people
  • stigma     the negative associations of particular categories of people due to prejudice and discrimination
  • threat perception    the estimation of danger in a particular situation; when the potential threat is another person, stereotypes and prejudices inform the perception of danger
  • witness cooperation    the willingness of a witness to a crime to present themselves to the police and to testify on record against an alleged perpetrator
  • victim compliance     the likelihood of the victim of a crime to submit to the crime and/or report the crime to police
  • victim selection   the process by which the potential perpetrator of a crime estimates the wins and losses of potential victim(s) to maximize wins and minimize losses; generally, stereotypes and prejudices about the victim(s) inform the estimation of wins and losses