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PSYC 2400 (77)
Chapter 1

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PSYC 2400
Craig Bennell

Chapter 1 What is Forensic Psychology - Forensic Psychology: A field of psychology that deals with all aspects of human behaviour as it related to the law and legal system – broad definition - Forensic Psychology: the clinical aspects of forensic assessment, treatment, and consultation - A debate on whether the definition of forensic psychology should be narrow or broad  Narrow: focus on certain aspects of the field while ignoring other potentially important aspects ex. the definition might focus on the clinical side while ignoring the experimental research hat many psychologists conduct Roles of Forensic Psychologists - Individuals who call themselves forensic psychologists have one thing common, they are interested in issues that arise at the intersection between psychology and law - Roles are not mutually exclusive, individuals can be both researchers and clinicians or legal scholars The Forensic Psychologists as Clinician - Clinical forensic psychologists: are broadly concerned with mental health issues as the pertain to the legal system or law. This includes things such as research and practice in a wide area of settings, such as schools, and prisons, and hospitals - For example they look at people with disorders within the context of the law, on the research side, they could look at validation of an assessment tool that has been developed to predict the risk of an offender being violent, on practical side they might asses an offender to see if they are still a violent threat to society - The difference between psychologists & psychiatry is that psychiatry can prescribe medication The Forensic Psychologist as Researcher - Experimental forensic psychologist: Psychologists who are broadly concerned with the study of human behaviour as it relates to the law or legal system - They are concerned with mental health, as well as issues that have to do with law or legal systems The Forensic Psychologist as Legal Scholar - Have a degree in both psychology and in law, analyze the scholarly of mental health law and psychologically oriented legal movements The Relationship Between Psychology and Law - Three primary ways in which psychology and law can relate to each other: - Psychology and the law: the use of psychology to examine the operation of the legal system (experimental and clinicals) - Psychology in the law: the use of psychology in the legal system as that system operates (experimental and clinicals) - Psychology of the law: the use of psychology to examine the law itself (legal scholars) Psychology and the Law - psychology is viewed as a separate discipline (to law), examining and analyzing various components of the law (and the legal system) from a psychological perspective - examines assumptions made by the law or our legal system, asking questions such as “Are eye witnesses accurate?”, answering these questions can be communicated to the legal community (forensic psychologists deals with this relationship) Psychology in the Law - Once psychology knowledge exists in the areas of study, it can be used in the legal system by psychs, lawyers, judges, etc. - Can take many different forms, ie. expert testimonies, or police interrogations Psychology of the Law - Involves the use of psychology to study the law itself and it addresses questions like, “what role should the police play in domestic disputes” - To answer these questions, a set of skills in multiple disciplines is needed (ie. sociology, criminology, sociology, law) The history of forensic psychology has a relatively short history dating back to the 19 Century, during those time it was not defined as forensic psychology. Early Research: Eyewitness Testimony and Suggestibility: - Psychology of Witness Testimony: Cattell - William Stern did the lecture experiment, showing that eye witnesses are not reliable, also found that a person’s emotional level has a lot to do with how much they remember Early Court cases in Europe - Also studied with the accuracy of eyewitness testimony - Ceci & Bruck showed that kids were highly suggestible Advocates of Forensic Psychology in North America - Musterberg: Farther of psychology - He had controversial ideas which many belived push North America psychologists into the legal field Landmark Court Cases in the U.S
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