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Lecture 1: Psychology and Law Transcript of the lecture (word for word) on Microsoft Word with diagrams provided in class laid out in a way that is easy to follow.

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William Huggon

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PSY328 LEC1 PSYCHOLOGY AND LAW Psychology Human behavior lies at the heart of psychology and the law. Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes in an attempt to understand, predict, and in some cases control human behavior What is Psychology? Psychology is the scientific study of behavior. anything an animal or human does, feels, or thinks. Psychology is a science firmly based in empirical research. Psychology has broad application. The Law IT DEPENDS. The legal system is comprised of a body of laws, rules, regulations, and procedures. The legal system is designed to govern, regulate and control human behavior (Ogloff & Finkelman, 1999). Psychology and The Law Concerns issues arising out of the relationship between human behavior and the law, legal system, and legal process(Weiner, 1997) Psychologists working in law and psychology study empirically the assumptions about human behavior that underlie the operation and functioning of the law. Social scientists assess the reasonableness and validity of the evidence Differences between Law and Psychology (law vs. psychology) 1) Stare decisis vs. Creativity o Stare decisis legal precedent (Doing what was doing before) If someone committed murder and you gave them 10 years, the next person who had a similar case should also get 10 years Want to keep things consistent so its fair o Creativity like stare decisis, it is based on previous decisions but there is always some new twist (something innovative) 2) Hierarchical vs. Empirical o Hierarchical all lower courts are bound by higher courts (but not the other way around) o Empirical consistent and supporting data to support the validity and reliability of findings -> theories (can be proven wrong) 3) Adversarial vs. Experimental o Adversarial to find the truth, you have two conflicting points of view, they are battled out in court, the one that argues it out the best is now considered the real truth Key: Victory o Experimental experiments to find an objective truth (get rid of biases, distortions of observations) 4) Prescriptive and Descriptive o Prescriptive tells you what to do o Descriptive describes why you did what you did 1 PSY328 LEC1 5) Idiographic vs. Nomothetic o Idiographic case by case basis decided by specific facts Even though you have to use stare decisis, each case may be a bit different o Nomothetic general principles, averages (what will the average person do in this situation? Not everyone may do it, but the majority) 6) Certainty vs. Probablistic o Certainty in the results -> if you go to court, you will be found guilty or not guilty (yes or no -> all or none) o Probabilistic probability that there is 80% likelihood they are guilty (on a scale of 0- 100%) 7) Reactive vs. Proactive o Reactive based on reactions happened to an event o Proactive look at anything you want (what happens if this happened..) 8) Operational vs. Academic o Operational applied, used for real world problems o Academic it can be operational, but it can be just academic (quest for knowledge) Psychology/Law Psychology IN the law o Use of psychology IN law -> questionnaire, bias scale, fitness trial test o May not be psychologists doing the test, but they may make the test o Ex: Modern Racism Scale Psychology AND the law o Critical evaluation of some aspect of law by psychology (validate techniques already used and new techniques) o Ex: Best way to do a line-up o Ex: manipulate race of defendant and how salient how not being prejudice is Research to see what the best way is to screen for bias Psychology OF the law o Study of law itself previous things (why and when people will obey the law) o Ex: how does Canada and US screen for bias? Which is better? The Law in Canada Canada is a common law country o What does that mean? Lets look at some history, plus the differences between Common and Civil law 2PSY328 LEC1 Common vs. Civil Common Law o Stare decisis o Adversarial Civil Law o Statutes o Inquisitorial Common Law Most British countries, North American (created in England) Based on stare decisis or precedence what happens before has to be what happens later Basically law is created by cases, ultimately by judges who decide these cases o If you had a pure common law, wouldnt have laws written down, it would have previous court cases (big court summary) o Judge has passive role o Canada: Decisions made by judges, then later judges look at the previous decision and decides what to do in the future from there Adversarial system of litigation o When you imagine on TV, two lawyers fighting it out Civil Law Most European countries (most predominant law of the world) o Second most predominant is religious based law and then common law Based on statutes Inquisitorial system of litigation
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