Event Title

The CSI Effect: Can Watching Crime Television Make You a Better Criminal?

Graduation Year

2014

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

12-4-2014 2:00 PM

End Date

12-4-2014 3:00 PM

Description

The CSI effect suggests that watching crime-based television influences how viewers relate to various factors of the criminal justice system. Although many researchers have investigated how the CSI effect impacts jurors, defense attorneys, and law enforcement, no research thus far has examined the effect of viewing crime television on potential criminals. The purpose of this study is to explore the CSI-effect in relation to criminal behavior by determining whether people who watch crime television are more likely to consider detection-prevention techniques (such as avoiding leaving fingerprints) while planning a crime in comparison to people who do not watch crime television. Two hundred undergraduate participants responded to an open-ended prompt that asked them to plan a burglary and then completed a survey about their television viewing habits. Their responses were coded for a variety of features, including knowledge of forensics, and compared to their survey responses regarding their type, frequency, and level of engagement with crime television viewing. Preliminary results indicate that participants who frequently watch general crime-based shows (like Law and Order) were more likely to mention forensics and detection-prevention techniques in their burglary plans. However, participants who frequently watch programs in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation genre or non-fictional crime shows like 48 Hours Mysteries were not more likely to mention forensics or detection-prevention techniques. Male participants reported higher engagement with crime television programs, and were more likely to mention forensics and detection-prevention techniques than female participants. Implications for the fields of media research, criminal justice, and social psychology are discussed.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 12th, 2:00 PM Apr 12th, 3:00 PM

The CSI Effect: Can Watching Crime Television Make You a Better Criminal?

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

The CSI effect suggests that watching crime-based television influences how viewers relate to various factors of the criminal justice system. Although many researchers have investigated how the CSI effect impacts jurors, defense attorneys, and law enforcement, no research thus far has examined the effect of viewing crime television on potential criminals. The purpose of this study is to explore the CSI-effect in relation to criminal behavior by determining whether people who watch crime television are more likely to consider detection-prevention techniques (such as avoiding leaving fingerprints) while planning a crime in comparison to people who do not watch crime television. Two hundred undergraduate participants responded to an open-ended prompt that asked them to plan a burglary and then completed a survey about their television viewing habits. Their responses were coded for a variety of features, including knowledge of forensics, and compared to their survey responses regarding their type, frequency, and level of engagement with crime television viewing. Preliminary results indicate that participants who frequently watch general crime-based shows (like Law and Order) were more likely to mention forensics and detection-prevention techniques in their burglary plans. However, participants who frequently watch programs in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation genre or non-fictional crime shows like 48 Hours Mysteries were not more likely to mention forensics or detection-prevention techniques. Male participants reported higher engagement with crime television programs, and were more likely to mention forensics and detection-prevention techniques than female participants. Implications for the fields of media research, criminal justice, and social psychology are discussed.