AN INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY OF LAW
Psychology And Law
Psychology based on empirical evidence, theory and scientific method-concerned with
understanding, explanation, prediction, and control of the causes human behaviour and
experience. Law=sum of all rules governing behavior that is enforceable in courts and is
concerned with control of human behavior and social justice .Law=values and value=basic
psychological concepts. Values-standards for decision making
Common “understandings” of the criminal justice system
Layman’s perception of the criminal justice system=well-oiled machines connected to one
another (Toch 1961)
1.law passing machine=government
3the justice dispensing machine=the courts
Justice=accused person, found guilty of breaking law
4.culprit processing machine]
In contrast to the metaphor of a smooth machine like process, JUSTICE is a human product.
Refer course reader Chapter 1pp 1-25
Interest in interaction btwn psyc and law dates back to 19 century
Beginnings of scientific psychology traced back to founding lab of Wilhelm Wundt of Germany in
Forensic psyc began with emergence of applied psy in particular “psyc of testimony” .No one
person can be called founder of this movement. Hugo Munsterberg generally considered father
of forensic psychology. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud proposed-psyc could assist the legal
system by offering its methods and understandings to the testing of truthfulness of reported
Hugo Muensterberg-book-“on the witness stand” argued, insights frm experimental research on
psyc of perception and memory could address accuracy and credibility of eyewitness testimony
.Muensterberg’s viewpoint criticised heavily by legal and psychological communities. French psychologis ,Alfred Binet experimentally demonstrated power of suggestibility on
children’s memory. William Stern provided evidence on the psychology of verbal reports as it
occurs in law .Professor von Liszt legal scholar and criminologist-first to perform drama or
reality experiments in which actor would break into public lecture yell at speaker draw a
revolver and shoot his gun and then run off .participants woud be asked to immediately write
down their observation.
Science and methodology
Philosophy of science
Four general principles by Charles Peirce:
1.method of tenacity: people hold steadfast to their beliefs abt others and how the world
operates because they “know” them to be true based on experience
2.method of authority :ppl believe and have knowledge abt things coz individuals in authority or
institutions declare it to be so.
3.a priori method: an idea is believed to be correct and true coz “it only stands to reason”
4.method of science :testing of statements through observations and systematic research.
Social Frame Work.