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Chapter 1

PSYC39H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Forensic Psychology, James Mckeen Cattell, Psychoanalytic Theory

Course Code
David Nussbaum

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Chapter 1 – An Introduction to Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychology is the field of psychology that deals with all aspects of human
behaviour as it relates to the law or legal system
The major professional associate American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP)
and the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) define forensic psychology as
professional practice by psychologists within the areas of ‘clinical psychology,
counselling psychology, neuropsychology, and school psychology when they are
engaged regularly as experts and represent themselves as such, in an activity
primarily intended to provide professional psychological expertise to the judicial
system. Others who dont fit this criterion in narrow definition would not be
considered a forensic psychologist; this narrow definition focuses upon the
application of psychology
A more broad and accepted definition was proposed by Bartol and Bartol (2006)
a)Research endeavour that examines aspects of human behaviour directly
related to the legal process...
b)Professional practice of psychology within or in consultation with a legal
system that embraces both civil and criminal law
Individuals who consider themselves forensic psychologists are always interested in
issues that arise at the intersection betweenpsychology and law”
Forensic psychologists can be a combination of ‘clinicians,
researchers(experimenters), and legal scholors
Clinical forensic psychologists are broadly concerned with mental health issues as
they pertain to the legal system and law
1.can include both research and practice in a wide variety of settings, such as
schools, prisons, hospitals and so forth
2.some issues clinical forensic psychologists are interested in may include:
divorce and child custody mediation
determinations of criminal responsibility

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providing expert testimony
personnel selection
conduction critical incident stress debriefings
designing and conducting treatment programs
3.all clinicians must be licensed, psychiatrists are the only ones who can
prescribe medicine, thus study medicine
Experimental forensic psychologist are concerned with mental health issues as they
pertain to legal system, and they can be found in a variety of criminal justice settings
some issues experimental forensic psychologist are interested in may include the
examining effectiveness of risk assessment
determining factors influencing jury descisions
developing and testing better ways to conduct eyewitness
evaluating offender and victim treatment practices
studying impact of questioning style on memory
examining effect of stress management intervention on police
training for experimental forensic psychologists are more varied than one for clinical
forensic psychologist
Forensic psychologist as a legal scholar is a role less common than forensic
psychologist as researchers or clinicians
forensic psychologist in their role as scholarswould most likely engage in scholarly
analyses of mental health law and psychologically oriented legal movements
the scholars applied workwould most likely center around policy analysis and
legislative consultation
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