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Dr Jim Turner

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Psychology
  • Psychology
  • jim.turner

Research interests

Jim Turner's main research interests are in the application of psychological knowledge to forensic settings, particularly police investigations and jury decisions. The initial focus of Jim's work, beginning with his PhD studies, was on the efficacy of facial compositing systems (E-FIT) in police use and adapting the systems and procedures in the light of psychological theory and research into face perception and eyewitness memory. This work had a direct impact on police use of composite systems, as the later versions of E-FIT, and the training that police operators receive, incorporated elements from Jim's PhD research.

After gaining his doctorate, Jim joined colleagues at the Open University to work on an EPSRC-funded project examining the interaction between eyewitnesses and new composite systems based on Principal Components Analysis. This project was undertaken in collaboration with the Forensic Imaging Group at the University of Kent and resulted in the production of a new facial compositing system: E-FIT V. During this time, Jim also contributed to the development of the Association of Chief Police Officers' guidelines for morphing of facial images, which can be an issue where mutliple witnesses are asked to make a facial likeness of the same offender.

Lately, Jim’s research interests have developed in the direction of the ‘CSI Effect’. This is a phenomenon in which portrayals of forensic science and evidence in the media (particularly the entertainment media) may influence the expectations of the ‘general public’ (especially juries) about what evidence to expect in real cases. This can have serious consequences for the application of justice in trials involving – or lacking – forensic evidence. As an interesting adjunct to this research, Jim was one of the Open University's academic consultants on the BBC / OU series 'Forensics: The Real CSI', broadcast on BBC2 in May 2019 (and available on BBC iPlayer).

In addition, Jim has conducted scholarship and research into teaching and assessment pedagogy.

Jim is a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Open University’s Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC), which developed from the predecessor International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR). 

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Teaching interests

Jim has recently produced two key modules for the Open University psychology programme: the 60-credit undergraduate module Living psychology: From the everyday to the extraordinary (DD210) and the 120-credit postgraduate module Investigating forensic psychology (DD802). DD210 is a broad applied psychology module, covering real-world issues such as psychopathy, understanding and misunderstanding the world, conspiracy theories, and comparative and evolutionary psychology. DD802 is a wide-ranging forensic psychology module, with topics including eyewitness memory and identification, offender profiling, jury decision-making, terrorism, and violent and sexual offending. Jim is also currently the qualification lead for the undergraduate degree BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology (Q82).

Prior to this, Jim was the production chair for the 30-credit postgraduate module Forensic psychology: crime, offenders and policing (D872), and also worked on the production of its partner module Forensic psychology: witnesses, experts and evidence on trial (D873) and the undergraduate module Applying psychology (DSE232). Jim has also worked on the undergraduate modules Discovering psychology (DSE141) and its successor module Investigating psychology 1 (DE100), Exploring psychology (DSE212) and Exploring psychology on-line project (DZX222), and the postgraduate modules Research methods dissertation in social sciences (D845) and Psychometrics: selection and assessment (D842) (as an exam board member).

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Forensic Psychology Research GroupGroupFaculty of Social Sciences
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences

Publications

The Effect of Facial Composite Construction on Eyewitness Identification Accuracy in an Ecologically Valid Paradigm (2019-02-01)
Pike, Graham E.; Brace, Nicola A.; Turner, Jim and Vredeveldt, Annelies
Criminal Justice and Behavior, 46(2) (pp. 319-336)
The impact of attentional set and situation awareness on dual tasking driving performance (2018-08)
Briggs, Gemma F.; Hole, Graham J. and Turner, Jim A.J.
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 57 (pp. 36-47)
To see or not to see? Comparing the effectiveness of examinations and end of module assessments in online distance learning (2018)
Turner, Jim and Briggs, Gemma
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(7) (pp. 1048-1060)
Eye-witness identification procedures and stress: a comparison of live and video identification parades (2009)
Brace, Nicola A.; Pike, Graham E.; Kemp, Richard I. and Turner, Jim
International Journal of Police Science & Management, 11(2) (pp. 183-192)
Holistic facial composite systems: are they compatible with witness recall? (2008)
Brace, Nicola A.; Pike, Graham E. and Turner, Jim A.
Cognitive Technology Journal, 13(2) (pp. 42-49)
Does the presentation of multiple facial composites improve suspect identification? (2006-03)
Brace, Nicola; Pike, Graham; Kemp, Richard; Turner, Jim and Bennett, Peter
Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20(2) (pp. 213-266)
Making faces with computers: Witness cognition and technology (2005)
Pike, Graham; Brace, Nicola; Turner, Jim and Kynan, Sally
Pragmatics & Cognition, 13(3) (pp. 459-479)
Does making a facial composite contaminate witness memory? Ecological validity and framing an innocent suspect (2016-07)
Turner, Jim
In : European Association of Psychology and Law Conference (EAPL 2016) (5-8 Jul 2016, Toulouse, France)
Testing the weapon focus effect: change blindness and eyewitness identification (2016)
Briggs, Gemma; Turner, Jim and Pike, Graham
In : European Association of Psychology and Law Conference (EAPL 2016) (5-8 Jul 2016, Toulouse, France)
Believing the TV: Perceptions of crime fiction as a possible basis for the 'CSI Effect' (2015-08)
Turner, Jim
In : European Association of Psychology and Law Conference (EAPL 2015) (4-7 Aug 2015, Nuremberg, Germany)
The ‘CSI Effect’: Are potential jurors sensitive to the (un)realism of fictional forensic evidence? (2012-04)
Turner, Jim
In : European Association of Psychology and Law Conference 2012 (EAPL 2012) (10-13 Apr 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus)
Exploring the CSI Effect: What do potential jurors think they know about forensic evidence? (2011-06)
Turner, Jim
In : Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition conference 2011 (SARMAC 2011) (27-29 Jun 201, New York City, USA)
Comparing types of sequential lineups (2009-07-26)
Pike, Graham; Brace, Nicola; Briggs, Gemma and Turner, Jim
In : The 8th Biennial Conference of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (26-30 Jul 2009, Kyoto, Japan)
Change blindness during an identification parade (2009-07-26)
Brace, Nicola; Pike, Graham; Turner, Jim and Briggs, Gemma
In : The 8th Biennial Conference of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (26-30 Jul 2009, Kyoto, Japan)
Can composite construction contaminate witness memory? (2009-07-26)
Turner, Jim; Briggs, Gemma; Pike, Graham and Brace, Nicola
In : The 8th Biennial Conference of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (26-30 Jul 2009, Kyoto, Japan)
Interference effects from feature and PCA compositing procedures: Does composite construction interfere with eyewitness identification? (2007-07)
Turner, Jim; Pike, Graham and Brace, Nicola
In : Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition conference 2007 (SARMAC 2007) (25-29 Jul 2007., Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, USA.)
Applying memory and cognition to facial compositing: Is eyewitness memory still the key problem? (2007-07)
Brace, Nicola; Pike, Graham and Turner, Jim
In : Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition conference 2007 (SARMAC 2007) (25-29 Jul 2007, Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, USA.)
Do PCA compositing systems make better use of witness cognition than traditional systems? (2005-01)
Brace, Nicola; Pike, Graham; Turner, Jim and Kynan, Sally
In : Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition conference 2005 (SARMAC 2005) (5-8 Jan 2005, Wellington, New Zealand)
Comparing two PCA compositing interfaces: Is it better to limit or encourage witness interaction? (2005-01)
Pike, Graham; Brace, Nicola; Kynan, Sally and Turner, Jim
In : Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition conference 2005 (SARMAC 2005) (5-8 Jan 2005, Wellington, New Zealand)
Do array-based composite construction systems interfere with witness recognition memory? (2005-01)
Turner, Jim; Pike, Graham; Kynan, Sally and Brace, Nicola
In : Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition conference 2005 (SARMAC 2005) (5-8 Jan 2005, Wellington, New Zealand)
The eyes have it: Feature saliency and facial composite construction (2001-06)
Turner, Jim; Pike, Graham; Brace, Nicola and Kemp, Richard
In : European Association of Psychology and Law conference 2001 (EAPL 2001) (Jun 2001, Lisbon, Portugal)
Applying perceptual research to E-FIT construction: A minimal face experiment (2000-04)
Turner, Jim; Pike, Graham; Kemp, Richard and Brace, Nicola
In : European Association of Psychology and Law conference 2000 (EAPL 2000) (Apr 2000, Limassol, Cyprus)
Applying perceptual research to E-FIT construction (1999-07)
Turner, Jim; Bennett, Peter; Pike, Graham; Brace, Nicola and Kemp, Richard
In : European Association of Psychology and Law conference 1999 (EAPL 1999) (Jul 1999, Dublin, Republic of Ireland)

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