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PSYC37H3 (159)
Chapter 11

Chapter 11b.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC37H3
Professor
Anthony Ruocco
Semester
Winter

Description
Topic 11BForensic ApplicationsPsychology and legal system have a long and uneasy alliance characterized by mistrust on both sidesLawyers and judges dont maintain apathy towards the testimonies of psychologists because they consider it a junk sciencePsychologist may be called upon for many thingsoEvaluation of possible malingering oAssessment of mental state for the insanity pleaoDetermination of competency to stand trialoPrediction of violence and assessment of riskoEvaluation of child custody in divorceoAssessment of personal injuryoInterpretation of polygraph dataoSpecialized forensic personality assessment These are the primaryapplications of forensic practice Standards for the Expert WitnessSummary of the principles of expert testimonyoWitness must be qualified expert the education training and experience will decide if the judge will allow the testimony of the witness to be admitted oTestimony must be about the proper subject matter expert must present info beyond the knowledge and experience of the average juror oValue of the evidence must outweigh its prejudicial effect if it confuses the issue athand or prejudice the members of the jury it will be admissibleoTestimony should be in accordance with a generally accepted explanatory theoryAs in the case of Fyre vs United States the expert testimony was refused because the scientific principle used hadnt gained general acceptanceAccording to the guidelines a test inventory or assessment technique must have been available for a fairly long period of time in order to have a history of general acceptanceIn the late mid to late 1990s the standards for expert testimony were refined furtherSeveral new guidelines in which trial judges may use in determining the admissibility of expert testimony includeoIs the proposed theory or technique on which the testimony is to be based testableoHas the proposed theory or technique been tested using valid and reliable procedures and with positive resultsoHas the theory or technique been subjected to peer reviewoWhat is the known or potential error rate of the scientific theory theory or techniqueoWhat standards controlling the techniques operation maximize its validityoHas the theory or technique been generally accepted as valid by relevant scientific communityoDo the experts conclusions reasonably follow from applying the theory or technique to this caseThe Nature of Forensic AssessmentForensic assessment is molded by the prerequisites of the legal system whereas traditional assessment is shaped by the needs of the client and current professional standardsBoth approaches seem the same but the types of information sought strategies for gathering it and the manner of report writing will be noticeably differentTraditional assessment usually is broad scale and provides a comprehensive picture of a clients functioning and treatment needsForensic assessment engages a narrow focus that may not even appear to be clinical in natureAnother difference is the clients role in the process In traditional assessment the client voluntarily agrees to an assessment and may even help determine the its scope and natureIn forensic assessment the client really has little or no choice in the matter unless he or she wants to aggravate the judge who has authorized the assessment In traditional assessment the written report is intended for other professionals who understand the terms whereas in forensic assessment its meant for the judge and lawyers who care mainly about the referral question
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