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PSYC 3020 (97)
Dan Yarmey (94)
Chapter 1

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University of Guelph
PSYC 3020
Dan Yarmey

Chapter 1 Textbook (pg. 1-25) -The way media portrays forensic psychology is usually inaccurate (the way they carry out their tasks are different from the Hollywood image) -Forensic Psychology: A field of psychology that deals with all aspects of human behavior as it relates to the law or legal system What is Forensic Psychology? -There is no generally accepted definition of the field (narrow vs. broad) -One of the most commonly cited examples of a broad definition of forensic psychology is the one proposed by Bartol and Bartol: they define the discipline as “ (a) the research endeavor that examines aspects of human behavior directly related to the legal process… and (b) the professional practice of psychology within, or in consultation with, a legal system that embraces both civil and criminal law” -This definition focuses on the research and application of psychology -Primary goal is to demonstrate that this application of knowledge must always be based on a solid grounding of psychological research The Roles of a Forensic Psychologist -What typically differs across the definitions is the particular focus the forensic psychologist takes -Take on the role of a clinician or researcher, however they are not mutually exclusive and can take on more than one role The Forensic Psychologist as Clinician -Clinical forensic psychologists: Psychologists who are broadly concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental health issues as they pertain to the law or legal system -Broadly concerned with mental health issues as they pertain to the legal system -Could include both research and practice in a wide variety of settings (ex. Schools, prisons, hospitals) -Research side: a task might involve the validation of an assessment tool that has been developed to predict the risk of an offender being violent -Practical side: a task might involve the assessment of an offender to assist the parole board in making an accurate determination of whether an offender is likely to pose a risk to the community if released -A clinical psychologist in Canada must be a licensed clinical psychologist who has specialized in the forensic area -Educational requirements vary from province to province but some form of graduate level training is always required (Some required masters, some require Ph. D) -Takes some form of an intense period of supervised practice, before and/or after the completion of the required degree, in an applied forensic setting under the watchful eye of an experienced clinical supervisor -Last step is a comprehensive exam which often involves an oral component -Difference between forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry -They are more similar than they are different and are difficult to separate them clearly -They are both involved in nearly all components of the criminal justice system and engage in similar sorts of research -Differences: psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medication -The training they undergo is very different and leads to distinctions between the fields -Psychiatrists general reliance on a medical model of mental illness versus a psychologists view of mental illness as a product of an individuals physiology, personality and environment -Forensic psychiatry: A field of medicine that deals with all aspects of human behavior as it relates to the law or legal system The Forensic Psychologist as Researcher -A second role is that of experimenter or researcher -However, this role does not need to be separate from the clinical role -Experimental forensic psychologists: Psychologists who are broadly concerned with the study of human behavior as it relates to the law or legal system -Concerned with mental health issues as they pertain to the legal system and can be found in a variety of criminal justice settings -They are usually concerned with much more than just mental health issues -Can be interested in any research issue that relates to the law or legal system -Ex. Examining the effectiveness of risk-assessment strategies, determine the factors that influence jury decision making -Differ from clinical from what they do but also in terms of their training -Will have undergone Ph.D. level graduate training in one of many different types of experimental graduate programs (no internship is typically required) -Research requires expertise in areas -Training for experimental forensic psychology is more varied than the training for clinical forensic psychology The Forensic Psychologist as Legal Scholar -A third role which is far less common than the previous is that of legal scholar -Forensic psychologists in their role as legal scholars would most likely engage in scholarly analyses of mental health law and psychologically oriented legal movements whereas their applied work would most likely center around policy analysis and legislation consultation Box 1.1: Other Forensic Disciplines -Forensic anthropology: Examine the remains of deceased victims to determine key facts (ex. Gender, age) -Forensic linguistics: Examine spoken and written word (ex. Suicide note whether it is real or fake) -Forensic chemistry: Chemical aspects of crime -Forensic ondontology: Dental aspects of crime -Forensic pathology: Examine the remains of deceased victims to determine time and cause of death -Forensic entomology: Examine insect relation with criminal investigations (ex. Insect presence and insect development) The Relationship Between Psychology and Law -Challenging because forensic psychology can be approached from many different angles -Three primary ways in which psychology and law can relate to each other (psychology and the law, psychology in the law and psychology of the law) -Clinical forensic psychologists are typically involved in psychology and the law and psychology in the law much more often than the third -Psychology of the law is largely the domain of the legal scholar role -Psychology and the law: The use of psychology to examine the operation of the legal system -Psychology in the law: The use of psychology in the legal system as that system operates -Psychology of the law: The use of psychology to examine the law itself Psychology and the Law -Psychology is viewed as a separate discipline (to the 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 eyewitnesses accurate?” “Do certain interrogation techniques cause people to falsely confess?” -Forensic psychologists attempt to answer these sorts of questions so that the answers can be communicated to the legal community -Much of forensic psychology deals with this particular relationship Psychology in the Law -Psychology in the law involves the use of psychological knowledge in the legal system -Psychology in the law can take many different forms -It might consist of a psychologist in court providing expert testimony concerning some issue of relevance to a particular case -For ex. A psychologist might testify that, based on his or her understanding of the psychological research, the eyewitness on the stand may have incorrectly identified the defendant -Psychology in the law might consist of a police officer using his or her knowledge of psychology in an investigation -For ex. Basing questions in an interrogation on his knowledge of psychological principles that are known to be useful for extracting confessions Psychology of the Law -Psychology of the law involves the use of psychology to study the law itself -For ex. “What role should the police play in domestic disputes?” “Does the law reduce the amount of crime in our society?” -Not considered a core topic in forensic psychology, there does appear to be a growing interest in the area of psychology of the law -The challenge in this case is that, to address the sorts of questions posed above, a set of skills form multiple disciplines is often important and sometimes crucial The History of Forensic Psychology -Forensic psychology has a relatively short history compared with other areas of psychology -Late nineteenth century -Earlier days this type of psychology was actually not referred to as forensic psychology and most of the psychologists conducting research in the area did not formally identify themselves as forensic psychologists Early Research: Eyewitness Testimony and Suggestibility -Late 19 century, research in the area of forensic psychology was taking place in both North America and Europe -First experiments: James McKeen Cattell at Columbia University in New York -Cattell conducted some of the first North American experiments looking at what would later be called the psychology of eye witness testimony -Asked what people witnessed in their everyday lives and found that their answers were often inaccurate -Alfred Binet conducted numerous studies in which he showed that the testimony provided by children was highly susceptible to suggestive questioning techniques -Binet discovered asking children to report everything they saw resulted in the most accurate answers and that highly misleading questions resulted in the least accurate answers -William Stern began conducting studies -The „reality experiment‟ that is now commonly used by eyewitness researchers to study eyewitness recall and recognition can in fact be attributed to Stern -Participants are exposed to staged events and are then asked to recall information about the event -Stern found that eyewitness testimony can often be incorrect and he was perhaps the first researcher to demonstrate that a person‟s level of emotional arousal can have an impact on the accuracy of that person‟s testimony Figure 1.1: Some Important European and North American Developments in the History of Forensic Psychology Early Court Cases in Europe -Psychologists in Europe also started to appear as expert witnesses in court -Much of the testimony that they were providing dealt with issues surrounding the accuracy of eyewitness testimony -Schrenck-Notzing testified that media press coverage influenced testimony of a witness -Retroactive memory falsification: Referred to a process whereby witnesses confuse actual memories of events with the events described by the media -Supported his expert testimony with laboratory research and this research is very much in line with what we now about the effects of pretrial publicity from more recent studies -Varendonck demonstrated that many children were easily led by suggestive questioning -He concluded in court that the testimony provided by the children in this case was likely to be inaccurate and that as a group, children are very prone to suggestion Advocates of Forensic Psychology in North America -Psychology in North America was making great strides in other areas of the criminal justice system -One of the most important landmarks was the publication in 1908 of Hugo Munsterberg‟s On the Witness Stand -Munsterberg is considered to be the father of forensic psychology -In his book he argued that psychology had much to offer the legal system -Discussed how psychology could assist with issues involving eyewitness testimony, crime detection, false confessions, suggestibility, hypnotism, and even crime prevention -Expressed ideas which led to heavy criticism from the legal profession -Munsterberg‟s biggest critic was John Henry Wigmore -Wigmore most known for his Treatise on Evidence which is a critical examination of the laws of evidence -He is also commonly known for his critique of Munsterberg‟s book -Criticized him for lack of relevant research publications to back up his claims and lack of applied research in the field of forensic psychology as a whole -North American psychologists were largely ignored by the legal profession for a long period of time -Munsterberg was still instrumental in pushing North American psychologists into the legal arena Forensic Psychology in Other Areas of the Criminal Justice System -Research was being practically applied in a wide range of criminal justice settings -Forensic psychologists were instrumental in establishing: -The first clinic for juvenile delinquents in 1909 - Psychologists began using psychological testing for law enforcement selection purposes in 1917 -1919 saw the first forensic assessment laboratory (to conduct pretrial assessments) set up in a U.S. police agency -Psychologists began to be more heavily involved in the judicial system as well Box 1.2: Biological, Sociological, and Psychological Theories of Crime: Biological: o Sheldon: Constitutional Theory -Crime is largely a product of an individual’s body build or somatotype, which is believed to be linked to temperament -Endomorphs (obese; jolly), ectomorphs (thin; introverted), mesomorph (muscular; bold) -Mesomorphs were more likely to become involved with crime o Jacobs, Brunton, Mellville, Brittan and McClemont: Chromosomal Theory -Chromosomal irregularity is linked to criminal behavior -Men with two Y chromosomes made them more masculine and therefore more aggressive o Mark and Ervin: Dyscontrol Theory -Lesions in the temporal lobe and limbic system result in electrical disorganization within the brain, which can lead to a dyscontrol s
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