Forensic psychology Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forensic_psychology

Forensic psychology is the application of psychological knowledge and methods to help answer legal questions arising in civil, criminal, contractual, or administrative proceedings. Forensic psychology involves both research on various psychology-law topics, such as jury selection or eyewitness testimony, and professional practice, such as evaluating individuals to determine competency to stand trial or assessing military veterans for service-connected disability compensation.[1][2] Historically, forensic psychology was defined narrowly as the application of clinical psychological knowledge to criminal cases or questions in criminal justice settings.[3] Contemporary definitions of forensic psychology recognize that several subfields of psychology apply "the scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge of psychology to the law."[4][5] While the American Psychological Association (APA) officially recognized forensic psychology as a specialty under the narrower definition in 2001, the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists were revised in 2013 and now reference several psychology subdisciplines, such as social, clinical, experimental, counseling, and neuropsychology.[6]


Front cover of an early edition of Hugo Muensterberg's "On the Witness Stand" book
Front cover of an early edition of Hugo Muensterberg's "On the Witness Stand" book

In the first decade of the 20th century, Hugo Münsterberg, the first director of Harvard's psychological laboratory, authored On the Witness Stand.[7]

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) referenced expert opinion testimony by psychologists. In Jenkins v. United States (1962) Justice David Bazelon of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that psychologists could testify as medical experts about mental illness.[2]

The American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) was created in 1969 and was later converted into Division 41 of the APA in 1980. As the field continued to grow, more organizations dedicated to the study and application of psychology to the law began to develop. In 1976 the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP) was chartered and eventually became a part of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in 1985. Later organizations and conferences aided in solidifying the development of forensic psychology, such as the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and the National Invitational Conference on Education and Training in Forensic Psychology (1995). The American Psychological Association recognized forensic psychology as a professional specialty 2001.

Forensic psychology in popular culture[edit]

Within recent years, forensic psychology has seen a large spike in popularity in the media and among younger generations. For example, many recent docuseries on Netflix feature forensic psychological content, including Making a Murderer and Sins of our Mother. Many undergraduate students are drawn to this subject under the misconception that forensic psychology is primarily used for criminal profiling. TV shows and movies such as Criminal Minds, Manhunter, Mindhunter, and Silence of The Lambs have widely popularized the practice of criminal profiling, particularly within the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).[8] Despite the excitement given to the idea of a career in criminal profiling, students who show an interest in this particular aspect of forensic psychology come to find that the practice of criminal profiling is rarely used outside of the BAU.[9] They also find that there are many forensic psychology practices outside criminal proceedings.

Training and education[edit]

Forensic psychology is a subset of applied psychology. Forensic psychologists may hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, social psychology, organizational psychology, school psychology, or experimental psychology. There are no specific license requirements in the United States to be a forensic psychologist, although U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia require licensure for psychologists who provide professional services such as psychological evaluations. Psychologists who do not provide healthcare services might not need to be licensed in some U.S. jurisdictions.

In other countries, training and practitioner requirements may vary. In the United Kingdom, for example, a person must obtain the Graduate Basis for Registration with the British Psychological Society – normally through an undergraduate degree. This would be followed by Stages 1 (academic) and 2 (supervised practice) of the Diploma in Forensic Psychology (which would normally take 3 years full-time and 4 years part-time). Assessment occurs via examination, research, supervised practice, and the submission of a portfolio showing expertise across a range of criminological and legal applications of psychology. Once qualified as a "chartered" psychologist (with a specialism in forensic psychology), a practitioner must engage in continued professional development and demonstrate how much and of what kind, each year, in order to renew their practicing certificate.

Roles of a forensic psychologist[edit]

Practice/direct service[edit]

Evaluations and assessments[edit]

Evaluations and assessments are completed by forensic psychologists to assess a person's psychological state for legal purposes.[1][10] Reasons for completing these evaluations can involve acquiring information for criminal court (such as insanity or incompetence), for criminal sentencing or parole hearings (often regarding a potential intellectual disability that prevents sentencing or one's risk of recidivism), for family court (including child custody or parental termination cases), or civil court (involving, for example, personal injury or competence to manage one's financial affairs).[9] It is important to note that while a forensic psychologist is responsible for assessing and reporting results of an evaluation, they do not make decisions on "ultimate issues" such as competence to stand trial or service-connected disability for U.S. military veterans.

Forensic psychological evaluations do not constitute treatment or the provision of healthcare services.


Treatment providers may be asked to administer psychological interventions to those who require or request services in both criminal and civil cases. In regard to criminal cases, forensic psychologists can work with individuals who have already been sentenced to reduce recidivism, which refers to one's likelihood of repeating his or her offense. Other interventions that may be implemented in these settings are substance use disorder treatment, sex offender treatment, treatment for a mental illness, or anger management courses.[9] As for civil proceedings, treatment providers may have to treat families going through divorce or custody cases. They may also provide treatment to individuals who have suffered psychological injuries as a result of some kind of trauma.[11] Treatment providers and evaluators work in the same types of settings: forensic and state psychiatric hospitals, mental health centers, and private practices.


Providing consultations allows forensic psychologists to apply psychological expertise and research to help law enforcement, attorneys, and other legal professionals or proceedings better understand human behavior (e.g. criminal, witness, victim, jury), civil processes, effects of trauma or other life events, and so on. If working as a consultant, a forensic psychologist is able to be involved in legal proceedings through responsibilities such as reviewing court records (such as a defendant's psychosocial history or assess mitigating or aggravating factors in a case), serving as a jury consultant (organizing focus groups, shadow juries, mock juries, or helping with the voir dire proceedings), and assessment without testimony (in which results of a defendant's evaluation are not disclosed to the prosecution team, allowing the defense team to develop a defense strategy), among others. Essentially, consultations can take a number of forms, including the common ones below:

Law enforcement consultations may take the form of assisting with criminal profiling, developing hiring procedures and methods, determining the psychological fitness of returning officers, or simply lending expertise on certain criminal behaviors.[8][12] There are several methods and approaches related to criminal profiling, but there is a lot of skepticism and criticism about the efficiency and accuracy of criminal profiling in general.[12] [13] A couple common approaches are the scientific approach, which includes the FBI's Crime Scene Analysis and Canter's Investigative Psychology, and the intuitive approach, which includes Tukey's Behavioral Evidence Analysis.[9][14][15][16]

Trial consultants are psychologists who work with legal professionals, such as attorneys, to aid in case preparation. This includes jury selection, development of case strategy, and witness preparation.[17][18] Forensic psychologists working as trial consultants rely on research in order to best advise the individuals they are working with. Because trial consultants are often hired by one specific side in a trial, these psychologists are faced with many ethical issues. It is the responsibility of the psychologist to remain neutral when consulting – in other words, the consultant must not choose a side to support and consequentially omit or create information that would be beneficial to one side or another. Prior to accepting a case to work on, it is important that the forensic psychologist weigh the responsibilities of consulting on that case with the ethical guidelines put in place for the field of forensic psychology.[6]

Expert testimony about matters relating to psychology is also an area in which forensic psychologists play an active role.[19][9] Unlike fact witnesses, who are limited to testifying about what they know or have observed, expert witnesses have the ability to express further knowledge of a situation or topic because, as their name suggests, they are presumed to be "experts" in a certain topic and possess specialized knowledge about it.[20] Procedural and legal rules guide expert testimony, which include that the evidence must be relevant to the case, the method the expert used must be valid and reliable, and that the evidence will help the trier of fact.[19] An expert can be deposed by opposing counsel to discover what they plan to say in court, and attorneys have the opportunity to raise a challenge to the admissibility of the expert's testimony if there are questions about its relevance, or its validity and reliability (in the United States - the rules vary by country and jurisdiction).[19] Regardless of who calls in the expert, it is the judge who determines whether or not the expert witness will be accepted through a voir dire process of qualification.[12]


Forensic psychology researchers make scientific discoveries relevant to psychology and the law and they also sometimes provide expert witness testimony.[9][2] These professionals usually have an advanced degree in psychology (most likely a PhD). These professionals may be employed in various settings, which include colleges and universities, research institutes, government or private agencies, and mental health agencies.[21] Researchers test hypotheses empirically regarding issues related to psychology and the law, such as jury research and research on mental health law and policy evaluation.[21] Their research may be published in forensic psychology journals such as Law and Human Behavior or Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, as well as more broadly in basic psychology journals. Some famous psychologists in the field include Scott Lilienfeld who was widely known for his scholarship on psychopathology and psychopathy, Saul Kassin who is widely known for studying false confessions, Jennifer Skeem who is widely known for studying justice-involved people with mental illness, Michael Saks who is known for his contributions to jury research and improvements to forensic science, Barbara Spellman who is known for her cognitive psychology-law work as well as for her open science leadership, and Elizabeth Loftus and Gary Wells who are both known for their research on eyewitness memory.

Education and advocacy[edit]

Academic forensic psychologists engage in teaching, researching, training, and supervision of students, among other education-related activities. These professionals also have an advanced degree in psychology (most likely a PhD) and are most often employed at colleges and universities. In addition to holding professorships, forensic psychologists may engage in education through presenting research, hosting talks relating to a particular subject, or engaging with and educating the community about a relevant forensic psychology topic.[9] Advocacy is another form of education, in which forensic psychologists use psychological research to influence laws and policies. These may be related to certain movements, such as Black Lives Matter or the Me Too movement, or may even be related to certain civil rights that are being overlooked.[4]

Forensic psychological evaluations[edit]

Common types of evaluations[edit]

Forensic assessment of competence[edit]

Competence, in a legal setting, refers to the defendant's ability to appreciate and understand the charges against them and what is happening in the legal proceedings, as well as their ability to help the lawyer understand and defend their case.[12] While competence is assessed by a psychologist, its concern regarding a defendant is typically voiced by the lawyer.[22] Though it is the psychologist's responsibility to assess for competence, it is ultimately up to the judge to decide whether the defendant is competent or not. If the defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, the psychologist must then give a recommendation on whether or not the defendant can be restored to competence through treatment or if the charges should be dropped completely due to incompetence. A couple potential causes of incompetence include certain types of brain damage or the occurrence of a psychotic episode preventing the individual from registering the reality around them.[23][24]

Several cases were instrumental in developing a standard for competence, as well as for determining the rights of an individual deemed incompetent to stand trial. Youtsey v. United States (1899) was one of the cases that set the standard for competence, with the judge ruling that trying or sentencing an individual deemed incompetent violates their human rights. Despite this ruling, no official guidelines for determining and sentencing matters of competence were developed.[9] In Dusky v. United States (1960), the case upheld the Youtsey v. United States ruling and set specific criteria for competence. These include having a rational and factual understanding of court proceedings and being able to consult with an attorney in a rational manner.[1] The case of Weiter v. Settle (1961) resulted in the decision that a psychologist's opinion in a competency hearing is considered "opinion testimony." Additionally, guidelines were put in place to accurately evaluate competency. The eight guidelines established include requirements that the defendant appreciates one's own presence in relation to time, place, and things; understands that they are in a Court of Justice, charged with a criminal offense; recognizes that there is a Judge who presides over the Court; understands that there is a Prosecutor who will try to convict them of criminal charges; understands that they have a lawyer who will defend them against that charge; knows that they are expected to tell their attorney what they were doing at the time of the alleged offense; understands that a jury will determine whether they are guilty or innocent of the charges; and has sufficient memory to discuss issues related to the alleged offense and the court proceedings.[25] As time has progressed, more cases have added to these guidelines and expectations when evaluating competency.[citation needed]

Forensic assessment of insanity[edit]

Insanity, as opposed to competence, refers to an individual's mental state at the time of the crime rather than at the time of the trial.[9][12] According to legal principles of insanity, it is only acceptable to judge, find someone criminally responsible, and punish a defendant if that individual was sane at the time of the crime. In order to be considered sane, the defendant must have exhibited both mens rea and actus reus. Mens rea, translated to "guilty mind", indicates that the individual exhibited free will and some intent to do harm at the time of the crime. Actus reus refers to the voluntary committing of an unlawful act. The insanity defense acknowledges that, while an unlawful act did occur, the individual displayed a lack of mens rea.[1] The burden of proof in determining if a defendant is insane lies with the defense team. A notable case relating to this type of assessment is that of Ford v. Wainwright, in which it was decided that forensic psychologists must be appointed to assess the competency of an inmate to be executed in death penalty cases.[26][27]

There are various definitions of insanity acknowledged within the legal system.[9] The M'Naghten/McNaugton rule (1843) defines insanity as the individual not understanding the nature and quality of his or her acts or that these acts were wrong due to a mental disease or defect. This is also referred to as the cognitive capacity test. Meanwhile, the Durham Test (established in Durham v. United States, 1954) states that one can be declared insane if the actions were caused by a mental disorder. The vague nature of this description causes this definition to only be used in one state (New Hampshire). The final definition acknowledged within the courts is the Brawner Rule (U.S. v. Brawner, 1972), also referred to as the American Law Institute Standard. This definition posits that, due to a mental disease or defect, an individual is considered insane if unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of an act and are unable to conform their behavior to the dictates of the law.[1]

Evaluating insanity involves using crime scene analysis to determine the mental state at the time of the crime, establishing a diagnosis, interviewing the defendant and any other relevant witnesses, and verifying impressions of the defendant.[4] Challenges associated with this type of assessment involve defendant malingering, determining the defendant's past mental state, the chance that different experts may come to different conclusions depending on the assessment method used, and the fact that it is very common for society to label any psychological disorder as insane (though few actually fall into this category; insanity primarily involves psychotic disorders).[4][28]

Risk assessment[edit]

Risk assessment evaluates how dangerous an individual is or could be and the risk of them re-offending after being released, also referred to as recidivism. Typically, recidivism refers to violent or sex offending behavior. Risk assessments affect the possibility of an inmate receiving parole or being released from prison and involve two general methods. The clinical prediction method involves using clinical judgement and experience to predict risk, while the actuarial prediction method utilizes a research-based formula to predict risk. Two specific methods of risk assessment involve the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) and the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORGA), both created by Quinsey, Harris, Rice, & Cormier in 1998.[29]

Other types of evaluations[edit]

While insanity and competency assessments are among the most common criminal assessments administered within the legal system, there are several other types implemented. Some of these include death penalty case assessments, assessments of child sexual abuse, assessments for child custody or divorce cases, and civil court assessments.[23][30]

Distinction between forensic and therapeutic evaluation[edit]

A forensic psychologist's interactions with and ethical responsibilities to the client differ widely from those of a psychologist dealing with a client in a clinical setting.[1]

  • Scope. Rather than the broad set of issues a psychologist addresses in a clinical setting, a forensic psychologist addresses a narrowly defined set of events or interactions of a nonclinical nature.[31]
  • Importance of client's perspective. A clinician places primary importance on understanding the client's unique point of view, while a forensic psychologist is interested in accuracy, and the client's viewpoint is secondary.
  • Voluntariness. Usually, in a clinical setting, a psychologist is dealing with a voluntary client. A forensic psychologist evaluates clients by order of a judge or at the behest of an attorney.
  • Autonomy. Voluntary clients have more latitude and autonomy regarding the assessment's objectives. Any assessment usually takes their concerns into account. The objectives of a forensic examination are confined by the applicable statutes or common law elements that pertain to the legal issue in question.
  • Threats to validity. While the client and therapist are working toward a common goal, although unconscious distortion may occur, in the forensic context there is a substantially greater likelihood of intentional and conscious distortion.
  • Relationship and dynamics. While therapeutic interactions work toward developing a trusting, empathic therapeutic alliance, a forensic psychologist may not ethically nurture the client or act in a "helping" role, as the forensic evaluator has divided loyalties and there are substantial limits on confidentiality they can guarantee the client. A forensic evaluator must always be aware of manipulation in the adversary context of a legal setting. These concerns mandate an emotional distance that is unlike a therapeutic interaction.[6]
  • Pace and setting. Unlike therapeutic interactions which may be guided by many factors, the forensic setting with its court schedules, limited resources, and other external factors places great time constraints on the evaluation without opportunities for reevaluation. The forensic examiner focuses on the importance of accuracy and the finality of legal dispositions.

Psychological autopsy[edit]

When the nature or cause of death remain unknown from the immediate and apparent features of death, especially due to the lack of direct evidence to determine whether the unnatural death is accidental, suicide, or murder, a psychological or psychiatric autopsy can be employed as an effective tool for death investigations.

The 'psychological autopsy' is a procedure for investigating a person's death by reconstructing what the person thought, felt, and did preceding their death.[32] This reconstruction is based upon information gathered from personal documents, police reports, medical and coroner's records, and face to face interviews with family members, friends, and others who had contact with the person before the death.

While a medico-legal autopsy examines the body of the deceased, a psychological autopsy considers the mental state of the deceased. When there is conflict or absence of leads which indicate the circumstances pointing towards more than one possibility of mode of death (more specifically, the manner of death is suspicious and giving divergent indications), this tool of investigation can be employed with team work of forensic psychiatrists, forensic pathologists, toxicologists, and psychologists to compile information about the behaviors and motive to distinguish among accident, homicide, and suicide as possible modes of death.

The theory underlying the concept of psychological autopsy is that most suicide victims communicate their intentions in some way. While the technique was developed as a clinical tool for predicting suicide risk, its forensic application has been the retrospective determination of the cause or circumstances surrounding a death. This branch of investigation was originally developed by Edwin Shneidman and his colleagues in the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center during the 1950s.


The psychological autopsy methodology involves two main elements: extensive interviews of family members and other close intimates, and collecting all possible medical, psychiatric, and other relevant documents of the deceased.

Psychological autopsies review the specifics of the death and the decedent for suicide risk factors. Shneidman for example, has identified 14 areas for inquiry in psychological autopsy studies. These areas include:

  1. Identifying information (e.g., age, marital status, religious practices, occupation)
  2. Details of the death
  3. Brief outline of the victim's history (e.g., previous suicide attempts)
  4. Death history of the victim's family (e.g., family history of suicide, affective illness)
  5. Description of the personality and lifestyle of the victim
  6. The victim's typical pattern of reaction to stress, emotional upsets, and periods of disequilibrium
  7. Recent stressors, tensions, or anticipations of troubles
  8. The role of alcohol and drugs in the overall lifestyle of the victim and their death
  9. The nature of the victim's interpersonal relationship
  10. Changes in the victim's habits and routines before death (e.g., hobbies, appetite, sexual patterns, and other life routines)
  11. Information relating to the life side of the victim (e.g., upswings, successes, plans)
  12. Assessment of intention
  13. Rating of lethality
  14. Reaction of informants to the victim's death, and
  15. Any comments or special features of the case.

The information collected from the interviews could provide relevant information in an attempt to reconstruct the deceased's background, personal relationships, personality traits, and lifestyle. Psychological autopsies have proved helpful in identifying and explicating proximate causation, determining the role of a variety of factors in bringing about a suicide death.

The usual sources of psychological information are:

  1. Suicide note – Interpretation of the suicide note is important to confirm suicide, abetment of suicide, or homicide, or to identify causation. The correct interpretation of a suicide note requires a handwriting expert to confirm that the note is written by the subject as its contents may reveal the following:
    1. Intention – It is reflected from the suicide note that the individual has killed themself. This intention is strengthened by a history of previous attempts.
    2. Physical illness – The changes in handwriting; for example, tremors (due to alcoholism, drug poisoning, fear, or anxiety) or changes in the size of letters (gradually becoming smaller due to intake of antipsychotic drug) may indicate presence of physical illness.
    3. Psychiatric illness – The contents of the suicide note may indicate the presence of a psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia.
    4. Situational factors – Whether the individual is threatened or the suicide note is dictated.
    Example: good content by an illiterate individual, repeated cutting or suicide pact (suicide note signed by more than one individual or simple contents in different notes), or suicide intent of another person or abetment of suicide.
  2. School/college records – Information such as a change in academic performance or recent absences and tardiness.
  3. Medical records – Family history, visits to physician, illness, medication taken, and referrals to specialists.
  4. Police records – May give information about previous attempts of suicide and involvement in anti-social activities.

The psychological autopsy is accomplished through reconstruction of the deceased's character and personality from information gained from a variety of sources. This reconstructed character and personality is then used to make a retrospective prediction of the likelihood of the deceased having committed a particular act. If the data collected and the analysis of the same conclude that there is no indication of suicide, the possibility of the deceased committing suicide can be ruled out.

Advantages and disadvantages[edit]

By collecting information from the people who are maintaining direct or indirect interactions, the personality of the deceased is most accurately described and assessed, which becomes the most significant input to evaluate the thought process and traits of the deceased prior to death. The evaluation involves the understanding of the intention and motive, if it is a suicide. If the autopsy negates the suicide, it will be useful for the investigators to proceed with the investigation of death by excluding the theory of suicide in the incident. The psychological autopsy provides a firm indication to which directions the death investigation should proceed.

Though the psychological autopsy can be an effective tool for suspicious death investigations, it is not free from disadvantages and limitations. The availability and selection of experts who have research oriented experience is always an important hurdle to get over. Professional ethics and physician-patient privileges are always a difficult barrier to getting valuable and important inputs. The end process of the psychological autopsy is the retrospective prediction of whether or not the subject has committed suicide. This process is being carried out by experts who had no occasion to meet or interview the deceased in their lifetime. The experts gather the information from third parties and documents, which could be considered as hearsay information which diminishes the evidentiary value. There is no standardised operational method to derive conclusions out of the information collected during the course of the psychological autopsy. It has to be drawn up by the professional and is largely based on their experience to correlate the inputs.

The psychological autopsy is one of the most effective tools in death investigations. It could act as a firm stepping stone for investigating a suspicious unnatural death where direct evidence is not available. Systematically carried out psychological autopsies could provide more scientific and accurate leads in death investigations.

In India, the employment of this branch of forensic psychiatry is less used. On 12/02/2016, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam, Kerala, has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to employ a forensic psychological autopsy in the death investigation of Qazi C.M.Abdulla Maulavi of Chembarika. Thereafter in Sunanda Pushkar Death case, the Special Team for investigation has performed a psychiatric autopsy and concluded that it was a suicide. Another incident of employing this tool was in the Burari Death case in Delhi, in which 11 members of a family were found dead by hanging on 01/07/2018. The question in these cases to be answered was whether it is a suicide or homicide. The availability of experts in this area including experienced suicidologists is a concern of the time, as numerous reports are there regarding the increasing incidents of suicide. So there shall be sufficient concern for the state of establish research centres and institutions concentrated in this branch of forensic psychiatry.

Another aspect of concern is the extension of rigor to the hearsay rule in accepting the information and conclusions of psychological autopsies. The opinion evidence given by the experts who conducted the systematic psychological autopsy shall be given due weight taking the purview under Section 45 of the Evidence Act, 1872.[33]

Ethics in forensic psychology[edit]

The ethical recommendations and expectations outlined for forensic psychology specifically are listed in the APA's Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology.[6] These guidelines involve reminders that forensic psychologists should value integrity, impartiality, and fairness, as well as avoid conflicts of interest when possible. These conflicts of interest may arise in situations in which the psychologist is working as a consultant to one side or another in a court case, when the psychologist is required to testify or evaluate something that collides with their own beliefs or values, or when a psychologist is faced with the decision of choosing between playing the role of an individual's evaluator or treatment provider in a case.[9] This final conflict of interest also relates to the ethical guidelines relating to having multiple relationships with clients.[6] As a standard of ethics, forensic psychologists are expected to offer a certain amount of reduced fee or pro bono services for individuals who may not be able to afford hiring a psychologist for a court case otherwise. Other ethical guidelines involve receiving informed consent from clients before communicating information regarding their treatment or evaluations, respecting and acknowledging privacy, confidentiality, and privilege among clients, remaining impartial and objective when involved in a trial, and weighing the moral and ethical costs of complying with any court orders that may conflict with professional standards.[4][23][5]

Salary of a forensic psychologist[edit]

There is a wide range of pay for individuals in the forensic psychology field.[34] In the United States, the median annual income is $125,000 - $149,999, and the pay can range from $50,000 (entry-level) a year to more than $350,000 a year.[35] There are also pay differences for men and women, where women forensic psychologists earn $0.83 for every $1.00 men make.[35] The pay for a forensic psychologist can also vary by the state that the forensic psychologist works in.[34]

Notable research in forensic psychology[edit]

  • Garry, Maryanne; Manning, Charles G.; Loftus, Elizabeth F.; Sherman, Steven J. (1996-06). "Imagination inflation: Imagining a childhood event inflates confidence that it occurred". Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 3 (2): 208–214. doi:10.3758/BF03212420. ISSN 1069-9384.
  • Harris, Paige B.; Boccaccini, Marcus T.; Murrie, Daniel C. (2015-08). "Rater differences in psychopathy measure scoring and predictive validity". Law and Human Behavior. 39 (4): 321–331. doi:10.1037/lhb0000115. ISSN 1573-661X.
  • Holcomb, Matthew J.; Jacquin, Kristine M. (2007-07-03). "Juror Perceptions of Child Eyewitness Testimony in a Sexual Abuse Trial". Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. 16(2): 79–95. doi:10.1300/J070v16n02_05. ISSN 1053-8712.
  • Kassin, S. & Wrightsman, L. (1980). Prior confessions and mock juror verdicts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 10, 133 146.
  • Kassin, Saul M.; Drizin, Steven A.; Grisso, Thomas; Gudjonsson, Gisli H.; Leo, Richard A.; Redlich, Allison D. (2010). "Police-induced confessions: Risk factors and recommendations". Law and Human Behavior. 34 (1): 3–38. doi:10.1007/s10979-009-9188-6. ISSN 1573-661X.
  • Loftus, Elizabeth F (1975-10). "Leading questions and the eyewitness report". Cognitive Psychology. 7 (4): 560–572. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(75)90023-7.
  • Neal, T.M.S., Slobogin, C. Saks, M.J., Faigman, D., & Geisinger, K. (2019). Psychological assessments in legal contexts: Are courts keeping “junk science” out of the courtroom? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 20(3), 135-164. https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100619888860
  • Smalarz, Laura; Madon, Stephanie; Yang, Yueran; Guyll, Max; Buck, Sarah (2016). "The perfect match: Do criminal stereotypes bias forensic evidence analysis?". Law and Human Behavior. 40 (4): 420–429. doi:10.1037/lhb0000190. ISSN 1573-661X.
  • Stern, W. (1939). "The psychology of testimony". The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 34 (1): 3–20. doi:10.1037/h0054144. ISSN 0096-851X.
  • Stewart, Destin N.; Jacquin, Kristine M. (2010-11-18). "Juror Perceptions in a Rape Trial: Examining the Complainant's Ingestion of Chemical Substances Prior to Sexual Assault". Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma. 19 (8): 853–874. doi:10.1080/10926771.2011.522951. ISSN 1092-6771.
  • Viljoen, Jodi L.; Jonnson, Melissa R.; Cochrane, Dana M.; Vargen, Lee M.; Vincent, Gina M. (2019-10). "Impact of risk assessment instruments on rates of pretrial detention, postconviction placements, and release: A systematic review and meta-analysis". Law and Human Behavior. 43 (5): 397–420. doi:10.1037/lhb0000344. ISSN 1573-661X.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Melton, G. B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N. G., Slobogin, C., Otto, R. K., Mossman, D., & Condie, L. O. (2017). Psychological evaluations for the courts: A handbook for mental health professionals and lawyers (4th ed.). New York: The Guilford Press. ISBN 9781462535538.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c Neal, Tess M.S. (July 2018). "Forensic psychology and correctional psychology: Distinct but related subfields of psychological science and practice". American Psychologist. 73 (5): 651–662. doi:10.1037/amp0000227. ISSN 1935-990X.
  3. ^ Ward, Jane (September 2013). "What is Forensic Psychology". American Psychological Association.
  4. ^ a b c d e Weiner, Irving B.; Otto, Randy K., eds. (2013). The handbook of forensic psychology (Fourth ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 978-1-118-73483-4. OCLC 842307646.
  5. ^ a b Pirelli, G., Beattey, R.A. & Zapf, P.A., (eds.) (2017). The Ethical Practice of Forensic Psychology: A Casebook. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–31. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190258542.001.0001. ISBN 9780190258542 – via PsyArXiv for free: psyarxiv.com/wxqsh. {{cite book}}: |first= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: date and year (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e American Psychological Association (2013). "Specialty guidelines for forensic psychology". American Psychologist. 68 (1): 7–19. doi:10.1037/a0029889. ISSN 1935-990X. PMID 23025747.
  7. ^ Münsterberg, Hugo (1908). On the witness stand: essays on psychology and crime. New York: The McClure company.
  8. ^ a b "Psychological sleuths--Criminal profiling: the reality behind the myth". apa.org. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Fulero, Solomon M.; Wrightsman, Lawrence S. (2009). Forensic psychology (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN 978-0-495-50649-2. OCLC 181600770.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Adler, J. R. (Ed.). (2004). Forensic Psychology: Concepts, debates and practice. Cullompton: Willan.
  • Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (1999). History of Forensic Psychology. In A. K. Hess & Irving B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of Forensic Psychology (2nd ed., ). London: John Wiley and Sons.
  • Blackburn, R. (1996). What is forensic psychology? Legal and Criminological Psychology. 1996 Feb; Vol 1(Part 1) 3-16 .
  • Dalby, J. T. (1997) Applications of Psychology in the Law Practice: A guide to relevant issues, practices and theories. Chicago: American Bar Association. ISBN 0-8493-0811-9
  • Davis, J. A. (2001). Stalking crimes and victim protection. CRC Press. 538 pages. ISBN 0-8493-0811-9. (hbk.)
  • Duntley, J. D., & Shackelford, T. K. (2006). Toward an evolutionary forensic psychology. Social Biology, 51, 161–165. Full text
  • Gudjonsson, G. (1991). Forensic psychology - the first century. Journal of forensic psychiatry, 2(2), 129.
  • G.H. Gudjonsson and Lionel Haward: Forensic Psychology. A guide to practice. (1998) ISBN 0-415-13291-6 (pbk.), ISBN 0-415-13290-8 (hbk.)
  • JONES, L. M., CROSS, T. P., WALSH, W. A., & SIMONE, M. (2005). CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE: The Research Behind "Best Practices." Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 6(3), 254–268.
  • Melton, G. B., Petrila, J., Poythress, N. G., Otto, R. K., Mossman, D., & Condie, L. O. (2017). Psychological evaluations for the courts: A handbook for mental health professionals and lawyers (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford. ISBN 9781462532667
  • Neal, T.M.S., Martire, K.A., Johan, J.L., Mathers, E., & Otto, R.K. (2022). The law meets psychological expertise: Eight best practices to improve forensic psychological assessments. Annual Review of Law & Social Science, online first. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-050420-010148 (Open access - read for free)
  • Ogloff, J. R. P., & Finkelman, D. (1999). Psychology and Law: An Overview. In R. Roesch, S. D. Hart, & J. R. P. Ogloff (Eds.), Psychology and Law the State of the Discipline . New York: Springer. ISBN 0-306-45950-7
  • O'Mahony, B. (2013). So, You Want to Be a Forensic Psychologist? Create Space. ISBN 9781482011814
  • Ribner, N.G.(2002). California School of Professional Psychology Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0787959480
  • Roesch, R., & Zapf, P. A. (Eds.). (2012). Forensic assessments in criminal and civil law: A handbook for lawyers. NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199766857
  • Rogers, R. (Ed.) (2008). Clinical assessment of malingering and deception (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford. ISBN 9781462507351

External links[edit]