Dr. Luis M. Rivera gave an invited talk at the 2017 Southeastern Psychological Association’s 63rd annual meeting: “Understanding the Nonconscious Criminal Mind: Implicit Criminal Identity, Criminal Behavior, and Mental Health.”

From the conference program: “Individuals who commit a crime often struggle with disclosing about their criminal past, in part because they wish to avoid being stigmatized and/or to distance themselves from their past. The present research challenges these strategies.  We demonstrate that criminal pasts can translate into nonconscious associations between criminal and self, what we refer to as an implicit criminal identity, which can in turn shape future criminal behavior and poor mental health.  Moreover, if a criminal identity operates largely implicitly, then what are the implications for improving the criminal justice system, especially for those who are disproportionately targeted such as African-Americans and Hispanics.  Finally, how might understanding the nonconscious criminal mind inform interventions that seek to help ex-offenders re-enter society and achieve optimal re-integration.   The main goals of this presentation are to define implicit criminal identity, identify the theoretical approaches used in understanding the development of an implicit criminal identity, understand research findings on the role of an implicit criminal identity in criminal behavior, identify moderators of the implicit criminal identity processes underlying poor mental health, and, finally, to discuss the implications of implicit criminal cognition research for criminal justice system practices and policies in the United States and beyond.”

Click here for more information on this and past annual SEPA meetings.

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