Criminal Psychology

Hans Gross

Part 3

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The right of physiognomies to the status of an independent science is to some degree established in the oft-repeated dictum that whatever is valid in its simplest outline must be capable of extension and development. No man doubts that there are intelligent faces and foolish ones, kind ones and cruel ones, and if this a.s.sertion is admitted as it stands it must follow that still other faces may be distinguished so that it is possible to read a certain number of spiritual qualities from the face. And inasmuch as n.o.body can indicate the point at which this reading of features must cease, the door is opened to examination, observation and the collection of material. Then, if one bewares of voluntary mistakes, of exaggeration and unfounded a.s.sertion, if one builds only upon actual and carefully observed facts, an important and well-grounded discipline must ensue.

The exceptionally acute psychiatrist Meynert shows[1] how physiognomics depends on irradiation and parallel images. He shows what a large amount of material having physiognomical contents we keep in mind. Completely valueless as are the fixed forms by which mankind judges the voluntary acts of its individual members, they point to the universal conclusion that it is proper to infer from the voluntary acts of a person whose features correspond to those of another the voluntary acts of the other. One of Hans Virchow's very detailed physiognomical observations concerning the expression of interest in the eyes by means of the pupil, has very considerable physiognomical value. The pupil, he believes, is the gate through which our glance into the inner life of our neighbor; the psychical is already close at hand with the word "inner." How this occurs, why rather this and not another muscle is innervated in the development of a certain process, we do not know, but our ignorance does not matter, since ultimately a man might split his head thinking why we do not hear with our eyes and see with our ears. But to some extent we have made observable progress in this matter. As far back as 1840 J. Mller[2] wrote: "The reasons are unknown why various psychoses make use of different groups of nerves or why [1] Psychiatrie. Vienna 1884.

[2] J. Mller: Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen. 1840.

certain facial muscles are related to certain pa.s.sions." Gratiolet[1] thought it necessary forty years ago to deny that muscles were developed merely for the purpose of expression. Almost contemporaneously Piderit knew that expressive muscular movements refer partly to imaginary objects and partly to imaginary sense impressions. In this fact lies the key to the meaning of all expressive muscular movements. Darwin's epoch-making book on the expressions of the emotions finally established the matter so completely and firmly, that we may declare ourselves in possession of enough material for our purpose to make it possible to carry our studies further. The study of this book of Darwin's I believe absolutely necessary to each criminalist--for he meets in every direction, expositions and explanations that are related to cases he has already experienced in practice or is sure to experience. I present here only a few of Darwin's most important notes and observations in order to demonstrate their utility for our purpose.

As subjects for study he recommends children because they permit forms of expression to appear vigorously and without constraint; lunatics, because they are subject to strong pa.s.sions without control; galvanized persons, in order to facilitate the muscles involved, and finally, to establish the ident.i.ty of expression among all races of men and beasts. Of these objects only children are important for our purpose. The others either are far removed from our sphere of activity, or have only theoretic value. I should, however, like to add to the subjects of observation another, viz., the simple unstudied persons, peasants and such otherwise unspoiled individuals whom we may believe innocent of all intention to play a comedy with us. We can learn much from such people and from children. And it is to be believed that in studying them we are studying not a special cla.s.s but are establishing a generally valid paradigm of the whole of mankind. Children have the same features as adults only clearer and simpler. For, suppose we consider any one of Darwin's dicta,--e. g., that in the expression of anger and indignation the eyes shine, respiration becomes more rapid and intense, the nostrils are somewhat raised, the look misses the opponent,-- these so intensely characteristic indices occur equally in the child and the adult. Neither shows more or fewer, and once we have defined them in the child we have done it for the adult also. Once the physiognomy of children and simple people has been studied, [1] L. P. Gratiolet: De la Physiognomie et des Mouvements d'Expression. Paris 1865.

the further study of different kinds of people is no longer difficult; there is only the intentional and customary masking of expression to look out for; for the rest, the already acquired principles, mutandis mutatis, are to be used.

Darwin posits three general principles on which most expressions and gestures are to be explained. They are briefly: I. The principle of purposeful a.s.sociated habits.

II. The principle of contradication.

III. The principle of the direct activity of the nervous system.

With regard to the first. When, in the course of a long series of generations, any desire, experience, or disinclination, etc., has led to some voluntary action, then, as often as the same or any a.n.a.logous a.s.sociated experience is undergone, there will arise a tendency to the realization of a similar action. This action may no longer have any use but is inherited and generally becomes a mere reflex.

This becomes clearer when one notices how often habit facilitates very complex action:--the habits of animals; the high steps of horses; the pointing of pointers; the sucking of calves, etc. It is difficult for us in falling to make opposite movements to stretching out the arms, even in bed; we draw on our gloves unconsciously. Gratiolet says: "Whoever energetically denies some point, etc., shuts his eyes; if he a.s.sents he nods and opens his eyes wide. Whoever describes a terrible thing shuts his eyes and shakes his head; whoever looks closely raises his eye-brows. In the attempt to think the same thing is done or the eye-brows are contracted-- both make the glance keener. Thence follows the reflex activity."

With regard to the second. Dogs who are quarrelling with cats a.s.sume the appearance of battle--if they are kindly-minded they do the opposite, although this serves no purpose. M. Taylor[1] says, that the gesture language of the Cistercians depends considerably on ant.i.thesis; e. g., shrugging the shoulders is the opposite of firmness, immovability.

With regard to the direct activity of the nervous system, examples are paling, trembling (fear, terror, pain, cold, fever, horror, joy), palpitation of the heart, blushing, perspiring, exertion of strength, tears, pulling the hair, urinating, etc. With these subdivisions it will be possible to find some thoroughfare and to cla.s.sify every phenomenon.

We want to discuss a few more particulars in the light of Darwin's [1] Taylor: Early History of Mankind.

examples. He warns us, first of all, against seeing[1] certain muscle movements as the result of emotional excitement, because they were looked for. There are countless habits, especially among the movements of the features, which happen accidentally or as the result of some pa.s.sing pain and which have no significance. Such movements are often of the greatest clearness, and do not permit the unexperienced observer to doubt that they have important meanings, although they have no relation whatever to any emotional condition. Even if it is agreed only to depend on changes of the whole face; already established as having a definite meaning, there is still danger of making mistakes, because well accredited facial conditions may occur in another way (as matters of habit, nervous disturbances, wounds, etc.). Hence in this matter, too, care and attention are required; for if we make use of any one of the Darwinian norms, as, for example, that the eyes are closed when we do not want to see a thing or when we dislike it, we still must grant that there are people to whom it has become habitual to close their eyes under other and even opposed conditions.

We must grant that, with the exception of such cases, the phenomena are significant during examinations, as when we show the accused a very effective piece of evidence, (e. g.: a comparison of hand-writings which is evidential,) and he closes his eyes. The act is then characteristic and of importance, particularly when his words are intended to contest the meaning of the object in question. The contradiction between the movement of his eyes and his words is then suggestive enough. The same occurs when the accused is shown the various possibilities that lie before him--the movement of the examination, the correlations and consequences. If he finds them dangerous, he closes his eyes. So with witnesses also; when one of them, e. g., deposes to more, and more harmfully, than according to our own notion he can explain, he will close his eyes, though perhaps for an instant only, if the inevitable consequences of his deposition are expounded to him. If he closes his eyes he has probably said too much, and the proper moment must not be missed to appeal to his conscience and to prevent more exaggerated and irresponsible a.s.sertions.

This form of closing the eyes is not to be confused with the performances of persons who want to understand the importance of their depositions and to collect their senses, or who desire to review [1] J. Reid: The Muscular Sense. Journal of Mental Science, XLVII, 510.

the story mentally and consider its certainty. These two forms of closing the eyes are different: the first, which wants to shut out the consequences of testimony, is much shorter; the latter longer, because it requires a good deal of time to collect one's senses and to consider a problem. The first, moreover, is accompanied by a perceivable expression of fear, while the latter is manifest only by its duration; what is most important is a characteristic contemporary and perceivable defensive movement of the hand, and this occurs only in the cases where the desire is to exclude. This movement occurs even among very phlegmatic persons, and hence is comparatively reliable; it is not made by people who want undisturbedly to study a question and to that end shut their eyes.

In a similar way there is significance in the sudden closing of the mouth by either the accused or the witness. Resolution and the shutting of the mouth are inseparable; it is as impossible to imagine a vacillating, doubting person with lips closely pressed together, as a firm and resolute person with open mouth. The reason implies Darwin's first law: that of purposeful a.s.sociated habits. When a man firmly resolves upon some deed the resolution begins immediately to express itself in movements which are closely dependent upon bodily actions. Even when I suddenly resolve to face some correctly- supposed disagreeable matter, or to think about some joyless thing, a bodily movement, and indeed quite an energetic one, will ensue upon the resolution--I may push my chair back, raise my elbows, perhaps put my head quickly between my hands, push the chair back again, and then begin to look or to think. Such actions, however, require comparatively little bodily exertion; much more follows on different types of resolutions--in short, a firm resolution requires a series of movements immediately to follow its being made. And if we are to move the muscles must be contracted. And it is, of course, obvious that only those muscles can be set in action which are, according to the immediate situation of the body, free to move. If we are sitting down, for example, we can not easily make our feet conform to the movement of a march forward; nor can we do much with the thighs, hence the only muscles we can use are those of the face and of the upper limbs. So then, the mouth is closed because its muscles are contracted, and with equal significance the arms are thrust outward sharply, the fist clenched, and the fore-arm bent. Anybody may try the experiment for himself by going through the actions enumerated and seeing whether he does not become filled

with a sense of resolution. It is to be especially observed, as has already been indicated, that not only are mental states succeeded by external movements, but imitated external movements of any kind awaken, or at least plainly suggest, their correlated mental states.

If, then, we observe in any person before us the signs of resolution we may certainly suppose that they indicate a turn in what he has said and what he is going to say. If they be observed in the accused, then he has certainly resolved to pa.s.s from denial to confession, or to stick to his denial, or to confess or keep back the names of his accomplices, the rendezvous, etc. Inasmuch as in action there is no other alternative than saying or not saying so, it might be supposed that there is nothing important in the foregoing statement; the point of importance lies, however, in the fact that a *definite resolution has been reached of which the court is aware and from which a departure will hardly be made. Therefore, what follows upon the resolution so betrayed, we cannot properly perceive; we know only that it in all likelihood consists of what succeeds it, i. e. the accused either confesses to something, or has resolved to say nothing. And that observation saves us additional labor, for he will not easily depart from his resolution.

The case is a.n.a.logous with regard to the witness who tells no truth or only a part of the truth. He reveals the marks of resolution upon deciding finally to tell the truth or to persist in his lying, and so, whatever he does after the marks of resolution are noted, we are saved unnecessary effort to make the man speak one way or another.

It is particularly interesting to watch for such expressions of resolution in jurymen, especially when the decision of guilt or innocence is as difficult as it is full of serious consequences. This happens not rarely and means that the juryman observed is clear in his own mind as to how he is going to vote. Whatever testimony may succeed this resolution is then indifferent. The resolved juryman is so much the less to be converted, as he usually either pays no more attention to the subsequent testimony, or hears it in such prejudiced fashion that he sees everything in his own way. In this case, however, it is not difficult to tell what the person in question has decided upon. If the action we now know follows a very damaging piece of testimony, the defendant is condemned thereby; if it follows excusive testimony he is declared innocent. Anybody who studies the matter may observe that these manifestations are

made by a very large number of jurymen with sufficient clearness to make it possible to count the votes and predict the verdict. I remember vividly in this regard a case that occurred many years ago. Three men, a peasant and his two sons, were accused of having killed an imbecile who was supposed to have boarded in their house. The jury unanimously declared them guiltless, really because of failure, in spite of much effort, to find the body of the victim. Later a new witness appeared, the case was taken up again, and about a year after the first trial, a second took place. The trial consumed a good many days, in which the three defendants received a flood of anonymous letters which called attention mostly to the fact that there was in such and such a place an unknown imbecile woman who might be identical with the ostensible murdered person. For that reason the defendant appealed for a postponement of the trial or immediate liberation. The prosecutor of the time fought the appeal but held that so far as the case went (and it was pretty bad for the prosecution), the action taken with regard to the appeal was indifferent. "The mills of the G.o.ds grind slowly," he concluded in his oration; "a year from now I shall appear before the jury." The expression of this rock-bound conviction that the defendants were guilty, on the part of a man who, because of his great talent, had tremendous influence on juries, caused an astounding impression. The instant he said it one could see in most of the jurymen clearest signs of absolute resolution and the defendants were condemned from that moment.

Correlated with the signs of resolution are those of astonishment. "The hands are raised in the air," says Darwin, "and the palm is laid on the mouth." In addition the eyebrows are regularly raised, and people of not too great refinement beat their foreheads and in many cases there occurs a slight, winding movement of the trunk, generally toward the left. The reason is not difficult to find. We are astonished when we learn something which causes an inevitable change in the familiar course of events. When this occurs the hearer finds it necessary, if events are simple, properly to get hold of it. When I hear that a new Niebelungen ma.n.u.script has been discovered, or a cure for leprosy, or that the South Pole has been reached, I am astonished, but immediate conception on my part is altogether superfluous. But that ancient time in which our habitual movements came into being, and which has endured longer, incomparably longer than our present civilization, knew nothing whatever of these interests of the modern civilized human being.

What astonished people in those days were simple, external, and absolutely direct novelties: that a flood was coming, that game was near the camp, that inimical tribes had been observed, etc.--in short, events that required immediate action. From this fact spring our significant movements which must hence be perceivably related to the beginning of some necessary action. We raise our hands when we want to jump up; we elevate our eyebrows when we look up, to see further into the distance; we slap our foreheads in order to stimulate the muscles of our legs, dormant because of long sitting; we lay the palms of our hands on our mouths and turn the trunk because we discover in the course of life rather more disagreeable than pleasant things and hence we try to keep them out and to turn away from them. And astonishment is expressed by any and all of these contradictory movements.

In law these stigmata are significant when the person under examination ought to be astonished at what is told him but for one reason or another does not want to show his astonishment. This he may hide in words, but at least one significant gesture will betray him and therefore be of considerable importance in the case. So, suppose that we present some piece of evidence from which we expect great results; if they do not come we may perhaps have to take quite another view of the whole case. It is hence important not to be fooled about the effect, and that can be accomplished only through the observation of the witnesses' gestures, these being much more rarely deceptive than words.

Scorn manifests itself in certain nasal and oral movements. The nose is contracted and shows creases. In addition you may count the so-called sniffing, spitting, blowing as if to drive something away; folding the arms, and raising the shoulders. The action seems to be related to the fact that among savage people, at least, the representation of a worthless, low and despicable person is brought into relation with the spread of a nasty odor: the Hindoo still says of a man he scorns, "He is malodorous." That our ancestors thought similarly, the movement of the nose, especially raising it and blowing and sniffing, makes evident. In addition there is the raising of the shoulders as if one wanted to carry the whole body out of a disgusting atmosphere--the conduct, here, is briefly the conduct of the proud. If something of the sort is observable in the behavior of a witness it will, as a rule, imply something good about him: the accused denies thereby his ident.i.ty with the criminal, or he has no other way of indicating the testimony of some damaging

witness as slander, or he marks the whole body of testimony, with this gesture, as a web of lies.

The case is similar when a witness so conducts himself and expresses scorn. He will do the latter when the defendant or a false witness for the defense accuses him of slander, when indelicate motives are ascribed to him, or earlier complicity with the criminal, etc. The situations which give a man opportunity to show that he despises anybody are generally such as are to the advantage of the scorner. They are important legally because they not only show the scorner in a good light but also indicate that the scorn must be studied more closely. It is, of course, naturally true that scorn is to a great degree simulated, and for that reason the gestures in question must be attentively observed. Real scorn is to be distinguished from artificial scorn almost always by the fact that the latter is attended by unnecessary smiling. It is popularly and correctly held that the smile is the weapon of the silent. That kind of smile appears, however, only as defense against the less serious accusations, or perhaps even more serious ones, but obviously never when evil consequences attendant on serious accusations are involved. If indubitable evil is in question, no really innocent person smiles, for he scorns the person he knows to be lying and manifests other gestures than the smile. Even the most confused individual who is trying to conceal his stupidity behind a flat sort of laughter gives this up when he is so slandered that he is compelled to scorn the liar; only the simulator continues to smile. If, however, anybody has practiced the manifestation of scorn he knows that he is not to smile, but then his pose becomes theatrical and betrays itself through its exaggeration.

Not far from scorn are defiance and spite. They are characterized by baring the canine teeth and drawing together the face in a frown when turning toward the person upon whom the defiance or spite is directed. I believe that this image has got to be variously filled out by the additional fact that the mouth is closed and the breath several times forced sharply through the nostrils. This arises from the combination of resolution and scorn, these being the probable sources of defiance and spite. As was explained in the discussion of resolution, the mouth is bound to close; spite and defiance are not thinkable with open mouth. Scorn, moreover, demands, as we have shown, this blowing, and if the blowing is to be done while the mouth is closed it must be done through the nose.

Derision and depreciation show the same expressions as defiance

and spite, but in a lesser degree. They all give the penologist a good deal to do, and those defendants who show defiance and spite are not unjustly counted as the most difficult we have to deal with. They require, above all, conscientious care and patience, just indeed because not rarely there are innocents among them. This is especially so when a person many times punished is accused another time, perhaps because of his record. Then the bitterest defiance and almost childish spite takes possession of him against "persecuting" mankind, particularly if, for the nonce, he is innocent. Such persons turn their spite upon the judge as the representative of this injustice and believe they are doing their best by conducting themselves in an insulting manner and speaking only a few defiant words with the grimmest spite. Under such circ.u.mstances it is not surprising that the inexperienced judge considers these expressions as the consequences of a guilty conscience, and that the spiteful person may blame himself for the results of his defiant conduct. He therefore pays no more attention to the unfortunate. How this situation may lead to an unjust sentence is obvious. But whether the person in question is guilty or not guilty, it is the undeniable duty of the judge to make especial efforts with such persons, for defiance and spite are in most cases the result of embitterment, and this again comes from the disgusting treatment received at the hands of one's fellows. And it is the judge's duty at least not to increase this guilt if he can not wipe it away. The only, and apparently the simplest, way of dealing with such people is the patient and earnest discussion of the case, the demonstration that the judge is ready carefully to study all damaging facts, and even a tendency to refer to evidence of innocence in hand, and a not over-energetic discussion of the man's possible guilt. In most cases this will not be useful at the beginning. The man must have time to think the thing over, to conceive in the lonely night that it is not altogether the world's plan to ruin him. Then when he begins to recognize that he will only hurt himself by his spiteful silence if he is again and again examined he will finally be amenable. Once the ice is broken, even those accused who at the beginning showed only spite and defiance, show themselves the most tractable and honest. The thing needful above all is patience.

Real rage, unfortunately, is frequent. The body is carried erect or thrown forward, the limbs become stiff, mouth and teeth closely press together, the voice becomes very loud or dies away or grows hoa.r.s.e, the forehead is wrinkled and the pupil of the eye contracted;

in addition one should count the change of color, the flush or deep pallor. An opportunity to simulate real rage is rare, and anyway the characteristics are so significant that a mistake in recognition can hardly be made. Darwin says that the conviction of one's own guilt is from time to time expressed through a sparkling of the eyes, and through an undefinable affectation. The last is well known to every penologist and explicable in general psychological terms. Whoever knows himself to be guiltless behaves according to his condition, naturally and without constraint: hence the notion that nave people are such as represent matters as they are. They do not find anything suspicious in them because they do not know about suspicious matters. But persons who know themselves guilty and try not to show it, must attain their end through artifice and imitation, and when this is not well done the affectation is obvious.

There is also something in the guilty sparkle of the eye. The sparkle in the eyes of beauty, the glance of joy, of enthusiasm, of rapture, is not so poetical as it seems, inasmuch as it is no more than intensified secretion of tears. The latter gets its increase through nervous excitation, so that the guilty sparkle should also be of the same nature. This may be considered as in some degree a flow of tears in its first stages.

An important gesture is that of resignation, which expresses itself especially as folding the hands in one's lap. This is one of the most obvious gestures, for "folding the hands in the lap" is proverbial and means there is no more to be done. The gesture signifies, therefore, "I'm not going to do any more, I can't, I won't." Hence it must be granted that the condition of resignation and its gesture can have no significance for our own important problem, the problem of guilt, inasmuch as the innocent as well as the guilty may become resigned, or may reach the limit at which he permits everything to pa.s.s without his interference. In the essence and expression of resignation there is the abandonment of everything or of some particular thing, and in court, what is abandoned is the hope to show innocence, and as the latter may be real as well as merely pleaded, this gesture is a definite sign in certain cases. It is to be noted among the relations and friends of a defendant who, having done everything to save him, recognize that the evidence of guilt is irrefutable. It is again to be noticed among courageous lawyers who, having exerted all their art to save their clients, perceive the failure of their efforts. And finally, the defendants show it, who

have clearly recognized the danger of their case. I believe that it is not an empirical accident that the gesture of resignation is made regularly by innocent persons. The guilty man who finds himself caught catches at his head perhaps, looks toward heaven gritting his teeth, rages against himself, or sinks into a dull apathy, but the essential in resignation and all its accompanying movements is foreign to him. Only that conforms to the idea of resignation which indicates a surrender, the cession of some value that one has a claim on--if a man has no claim to any given thing he can not resign it. In the same way, a person without right to guiltlessness and recognition, will instinctively not surrender it with the emotion of resignation, but at most with despair or anger or rage. And it is for this reason that the guilty do not exhibit gestures of resignation.

The contraction of the brow occurs in other cases besides those mentioned. Before all it occurs when anything is dealt with intensively, increasing with the increase of the difficulty of the subject. The aboriginal source of this gesture lies in the fact that intensive activities involve the need of acuter vision, and this is in some degree acquired by the contraction of the skin of the forehead above the eyebrows; for vision is clarified in this way. Intensive consideration on the part of a defendant or a witness, and the establishment of its reality or simulation, are significant in determining whether he himself believes the truth of what is about to be explained. Let us suppose that the issue involves proving an alibi on a certain definite, rather remote day, and the defendant is required to think over his whereabouts on that day. If he is in earnest with regard to the establishment of his alibi, i. e. if he really was not there and did not do the thing, it will be important for him to remember the day in question and to be able to name the witnesses of his whereabouts then. Hence he will think intensively. But if he has claimed an alibi dishonestly, as is frequent with criminals, in order to make people conclude that n.o.body has the right to demand where and for how long a time he was on such and such a day, then there is no need of thinking closely about something that has not happened. He exhibits in such cases a kind of thoughtfulness, which is not, however, earnest and profound: and these two adjectives describe *real consideration. The same observations are to be made in regard to dishonest witnesses who, when pressed to think hard, only simulate doing so. One is compelled at the very least to look closely after the witness who simply imitates intensive

thinking without showing the signs proper to it. The suspicion of false testimony is then justifiable.

A rather different matter is that blank expression of the eyes which only shows that its possessor is completely lost in his thoughts --this has nothing to do with sharp recollection and demands above all things being let alone or the belief of being so. In this case no distinguishing gestures are made, though the forehead, mouth or chin may be handled, only, however, when embarra.s.sment occurs-- i. e. when the man observes that he is being watched, or when he discovers that he has forgotten the presence of other people. It is supposed that this does not occur in court, but it does happen not infrequently when, for example, the judge, after some long discussion with the accused, is about to dictate what has been said. If this takes rather a long time, it may chance that the witness is no longer listening but is staring vacantly into the distance. He is then reviewing his whole life or the development and consequences of his deed. He is absorbed in a so-called intuitive thought, in the reproduction of events. Intensive consideration requires the combination of particulars and the making of inferences; hence the form of thinking we have just been speaking of is merely spiritual sightseeing. It is when this takes place that confessions are most easy to get, if only the judge keeps his eyes properly open.

That contraction of the brow signifies a condition of disgust is well known, but there is yet, as I believe, a still other use of this contraction--i. e. its combination with a smile, indicating disbelief. How this union occurred seems comparatively undiscoverable-- perhaps it results from the combination of the smile of denial with the frown of sharp observation. But the gesture is, in any event, reliable, and may not easily stand for anything but disbelief and doubt. Hence it is always a mistake to believe that anybody who makes that expression believes what he has heard. If you test it experimentally you will find that when you make it you say involuntarily to yourself: "Well now, that can't be true," or "Look here, that's a whopper!" or something like that. The expression occurs most frequently in confronting witnesses with defendants and especially witnesses with each other.

The close relation of the contraction of the brow with its early stage, a slight elevation of the eyebrows, is manifest in the fact that it occurs under embarra.s.sment--not very regularly but almost always upon the perception of something foreign and inexplicable, or upon getting twisted in one's talk; in fact, upon all such conditions

which require greater physical and psychical clearness of vision, and hence the shutting out of superfluous light. The expression may be important on the face of a defendant who a.s.serts,--e. g.-- that he does not understand an argument intended to prove his guilt. If he is guilty he obviously knows what happened in the commission of the crime and thereby the argument which reproduces it, and even if he a.s.sures the court a hundred times that he does not understand it, he is either trying to show himself innocent or wants to gain time for his answer. If he is innocent it may be that he really does not understand the argument because he is unaware of the actual situation. Hence he will frown and listen attentively at the very beginning of the argument. The guilty person perhaps also aims to appear enormously attentive, but he does not contract his brow, because he does not need to sharpen his glance; he knows the facts accurately enough without it. It is important for the penologist to know whether a man has in the course of his life undergone much anxiety and trouble, or whether he has lived through it carelessly. Concerning these matters Darwin points out that when the inner ends of the eyebrows are raised certain muscles have to be contracted (i. e. the circular ones which contract the eyebrows and the pyramidal muscle of the nose, which serve both to pull down and contract the eyelids). The contraction is accomplished through the vigorous drawing together of the central bundle of muscles at the brow. These muscles, by contracting, raise the inner ends of the brow, and since the muscles which contract the eyebrows bring them together at the same time, their inner ends are folded in great lumpy creases. In this way short oblique, and short perpendicular furrows are made. Now this, few people can do without practice; many can never perform it voluntarily, and it is more frequent among women and children than among men. It is important to note that it is always a sign of spiritual pain, not physical. And curiously enough it is as a rule related with drawing down the corners of the mouth.

Further to study the movements of the features will require an examination into the reasons for the action of these, and not other muscles, as accompaniments of the psychical states. Piderit holds it is due to the fact that the motor nerves which supply these muscles rise right next to the purely psychical centers and hence these muscles are the supports of the organs of sense. The latter is no doubt correct, but the first statement is rather doubtful. In any event it is evident that the features contain an exceptionally large number

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of fine muscles with especially rich motor capacity, and hence move together and in accordance with the psychical conditions. It may be that the other muscles of the body have also a share in this but that we fail to perceive the fact. Such movements, however, have not been essential.

Section 22.

The study of the human soul as psychology, has for its subject the whole stream of conscious life and for its aim the discovery of the occurrence and relation of the laws of human thought. Now whether these relations imply the coherence of the objects thought about or not, so long as logic is dealing with the laws according to which thoughts must be correlated in order to attain to objectively valid knowledge, all questions that deal with the formal aspect of thinking do not enter the field of psychological investigation. The general psychological problem is to describe the actual psychic events as they occur, to a.n.a.lyze them into their simplest elements, and inasmuch as it is this purely pragmatic application of psychology to the problem of inference that concerns us, we need to deal only with that law which defines the combination of images and with the question,--how the spirit achieves this combination. The material aspect of this question is therefore psychological. The legal importance of the problem lies in the very potent fact that inferences and theories are often constructed which are formally or logically absolutely free of error, yet psychologically full of errors that no logic whatever could correct. We have, therefore, to consider at least the most important conditions which determine the manner of our inferences.

The right which lawyers possess of studying these questions, so far as they lie in our field, is of modern establishment. According to Hillebrand[1] the theory of knowledge has to-day broken up into individual theories, involving the certain needs of special fields of knowledge. The place of the epistomologists, who are professionals and beyond the pale of individual disciplines, is now taken by the representatives of those disciplines and each works expressly on his own epistomological problem. Our especial problem is the drawing of inferences from the material presented to us or brought together by our efforts, just as in other disciplines. If we set ourselves the [1] F. Hillebrand: zur Lehre der Hypothesenbildung.

task of determining the procedure when subjecting the fundamental principles of our work to revision and examining their utility, we merely ask whether the process is voluntary or according to fixed laws; and having cleared up that point we ask what influence psychological conditions exercise on the situation. It is, indeed, said that thinking is a congenital endowment, not to be learned from rules. But the problem is not teaching the inferrer to think; the problem is the examination of how inferences have been made by another and what value his inferences may have for our own conclusions. And our own time, which has been bold enough to lay this final conclusion in even the most important criminal cases, in the hands of laymen, this time is doubly bound at least to prepare all possible control for this work, to measure what is finally taken as evidence with the finest instruments possible, and to present to the jury only what has been proved and repeatedly examined.

It might almost seem as if the task the jury trial sets the judge has not been clearly perceived. A judge who thinks he has performed it when he has cast before the jury the largest possible ma.s.s of testimony, more or less reviewed, and who sees how people, who perhaps for the first time in their lives, are involved in a court of law, who perhaps see a criminal for the first time, and are under these circ.u.mstances the arbiters of a man's fate,--a judge who sees all this and is satisfied, is not effective in his work. Nowadays more than ever, it is for the judge to test all evidence psychologically, to review what is only apparently clear, to fill out lacunae, and to surmount difficulties, before he permits the material brought together in a very few hours to pa.s.s into the jury's hands. According to Hillebrand, much that seems "self-evident" shows itself dependent on definite experience attained in the process of hundreds of repet.i.tions in the daily life; the very impression of self-evidence is frequently produced by a mere chance instinct about what should be held for true. Hume has already shown how the most complex and abstract concepts are derived from sensation. Their relation must be studied, and only when we can account for every psychic process with which we have to concern ourselves, is our duty properly fulfilled.

Section 23. (a) Proof.

Mittermaier[1] holds that "as a means of testimony in the legal sense of that term every possible source must be examined which [1] C. J. A. Mittermaier: Die Lehre vom Beweis im deutschen Strafprozess. Darmstadt 1834.

may suffice the judge according to law. And from such examination only may the requisite certainties be attained from which the judge is to a.s.sume as determined, facts relevant to his judgment." Only the phrase "according to law" needs explanation, inasmuch as the "source" of reasons and certainties must satisfy the legal demands not only formally but must sustain materially every possible test, whether circ.u.mstantial or logico-psychologic. If, for example, the fundamental sources should be a combination of (1) a judicial examination of premises (lokalaugenschein), (2) testimony of witnesses, and (3) a partial confession, the requirements of the law would be satisfied if the protocol, (1), were written or made according to prescribed forms, if a sufficient number of properly summoned witnesses unanimously confirmed the point in question, and if finally the confession were made and protocoled according to law. Yet, though the law be satisfied, not only may the conclusion be wholly false but every particular part of the evidence may be perfectly useless, without the presence anywhere of intentional untruth. The personal examination may have been made by a judge who half the time, for some sufficiently cogent reason, had a different conception of the case than the one which later appeared to be true. It need not have been necessary that there should be mixed therewith false information of witnesses, incorrect observation, or such other mistakes. There need only have been a presupposition, accepted at the beginning of the examination, when the examination of the premises took place, as to the visible condition of things; and this might have given apparent justification to doubtful material and have rendered it intelligible, only to be shown later as false. The so-called "local examination" however, is generally supposed to be "objective." It is supposed to deal only with circ.u.mstantial events, and it does not occur to anybody to modify and alter it when it is certainly known that at another point the situation has taken an altogether different form. The objectivity of the local examination is simply non-existent, and if it were really objective, i. e., contained merely dry description with so and so many notations of distances and other figures, it would be of no use. Every local examination, to be of use, must give an accurate picture of the mental process of him who made it. On the one hand it must bring vividly to the mind of the reader, even of the sentencing judge, what the situation was; on the other, it must demonstrate what the examiner thought and represented to himself in order that the reader, who may have different opinions,

may have a chance to make corrections. If I, for example, get the impression that a fire was made through carelessness, and that somebody lost his life on account of it, and if I made my local examination with this presupposition in mind, the description will certainly seem different from that made under the knowledge that the fire was intentional and made to kill. At trial the description of local conditions will be read and entered as important testimony. It satisfies the law if it is taken according to form, has the correct content, and is read as prescribed. But for our conscience and in truth this ma.n.u.script can be correct only when it is logically and psychologically presented revised according to the viewpoint its writer would have had if he had been in possession of all the facts in possession of the reader. This work of reconstruction belongs to the most difficult of our psychological tasks--but it must be performed unless we want to go on superficially and without conscience.

The judgment and interpretation of the testimony of witnesses, (2), demand similar treatment. I am legally right if I base my judgment on the testimony of witnesses (provided there are enough of them and they are properly subpoenaed) if nothing suggestive is offered against their testimony, if they do not contradict each other, and especially if there are no contradictions in the testimony of any single individual. This inner contradiction is rather frequent, and the inattention with which the protocols, as a rule, are read, and the scanty degree in which the testimony is tested logically and psychologically, are shown clearly by the fact that the inner contradictions are not observed and worked over more frequently. As evidence of this, let us consider a few cases that are generally told as extravagant jokes. Suppose that a man dreamed that his head was cut off and that that dream so affected him that he died of apoplexy-- yet not everybody asks how the dream was discovered. In a like manner people hear with disgust that somebody who has lost his arm, in despair cut off his other arm with an axe in order more easily to get a.s.sistance, and yet they do not ask "how." Or again when somebody is asked if he knows the romance "The Emperor Joseph and The Beautiful Railway-signal-man's Daughter," the anachronism of the t.i.tle does not occur to him, and n.o.body thinks of the impossibilities of the vivid description of a man walking back and forth, with his hands behind his back, reading a newspaper.

Much testimony contains similar, if not so thorough-going contradictions. If they are credited in spite of this fact the silly be-

liever may be blamed, but he is justified in the eyes of the law if the above-mentioned legal conditions were satisfied. Hence, the frightfully frequent result: "Whether the witness's deposition is true, is a matter for his own conscience; eventually he may be arrested for perjury, but he has made his statements and I judge accordingly." What is intended with such a statement is this: "I hide behind the law, I am permitted to judge in such a case in such a way, and n.o.body can blame me." But it is correct to a.s.sert that in such cases there is really no evidence, there is only a form of evidence. It can be actually evidential only when the testimony is tested logically and psychologically, and the ability and willingness of the witness to tell the truth is made clear. Of course it is true, as Mittermaier says, that the utterance of witnesses is tested by its consistency with other evidence, but that is neither the only test nor the most valid, for there is always the more important internal test, in the first place; and in the second place, it is not conclusive because the comparison may reveal only inconsistency, but can not establish which of the conflicting statements is correct. Correctness can be determined only through testing the single statements, the willingness and ability of each witness, both in themselves and in relation to all the presented material.

Let us take now the third condition of our suppositious case, i. e. partial confession. It is generally self-evident that the value of the latter is to be judged according to its own nature. The confession must be accepted as a means of proof, not as proof, and this demands that it shall be consistent with the rest of the evidence, for in that way only can it become proof. But it is most essential that the confession shall be internally tested, i. e. examined for logical and psychological consistency. This procedure is especially necessary with regard to certain definite confessions.

(a) Confessions given without motive.

(b) Partial confessions.

(c) Confessions implying the guilt of another.

(a) Logic is, according to Schiel[1] the science of evidence--not of finding evidence but of rendering evidence evidential. This is particularly true with regard to confessions, if we subst.i.tute psychology for logic. It is generally true that many propositions hold so long only as they are not doubted, and such is the case with many confessions. The crime is confessed; he who confesses to it is always a criminal, and no man doubts it, and so the confession [1] J. Schiel: Die Methode der Induktiven Forschung. Braunschweig 1865.

stands. But as soon as doubt, justified or unjustified, occurs, the question takes quite a different form. The confession has first served as proof, but now psychological examination alone will show whether it can continue to serve as proof.

The most certain foundation for the truth of confession in any case is the establishment of a clear motive for it--and that is rarely present. Of course the motive is not always absent because we do not immediately recognize it, but it is not enough to suppose that the confession does not occur without a reason. That supposition would be approximately true, but it need not be true. If a confession is to serve evidentially the motive *must be clear and indubitable. Proof of its mere existence is insufficient; we must understand the confession in terms of all the factors that caused it. The process of discovering these factors is purely logical and generally established indirectly by means of an apagogue. This is essentially the proof by negation, but it may serve in connection with a disjunctive judgment which combines possible alternatives as a means of confirmation. We are, then, to bring together all conceivable motives and study the confession with regard to them. If all, or most of them, are shown to be impossible or insufficient, we have left only the judgment of one or more conclusions, and with this we have an essentially psychological problem. Such a problem is seldom simple and easy, and as there is no possibility of contradiction, the danger is nowhere so great of making light of the matter. "What is rea.s.serted is half proved." That is a comfortable a.s.sertion, and leads to considerable incorrectness. A confession is only established in truth when it is construed psychologically, when the whole inner life of the confessor and his external conditions are brought into relation with it, and the remaining motives established as at least possible. And this must be done to avoid the reproach of having condemned some confessor without evidence, for a confession having no motive may be untrue, and therefore not evidential.

(b) Partial confessions are difficult, not only because they make it harder to prove the evidence for what is not confessed, but also because what is confessed appears doubtful in the light of what is not. Even in the simplest cases where the reason for confession and silence seems to be clear, mistakes are possible. If, for example, a thief confesses to having stolen only what has been found in his possession but denies the rest, it is fairly probable that he hopes some gain from the evidence in which there appears to be no proof

of his having stolen what has not been found upon him. But th

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