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.
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).
|Forensic Psychology Research Group||Group||Faculty of Social Sciences|
|International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)||Centre||Faculty of Social Sciences|