Forensic Psychology 101

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By caiseyg1994
Words 598
Pages 3
Forensic Psychologists can play a number of key roles in a criminal investigation. Immediately following a crime a forensic psychologist may be asked to act as a criminal profiler. It has over the years become the love child of numerous television programs, movies, and crime novels. Criminal profiling involves the psychologist using his understanding of human behavior, motivation, and pathology so that he/she can create a psychological profile of the offender. The profiles can be surprisingly accurate. From observations of the crime scene one can infer the behavioral characteristics of the individual who created it. To a profiler everyone is a slave to his or her psychological makeup. In turn, profilers use their knowledge of which the typical offender is that bears these characteristics and then predicts not only how the investigators can expect the offender to behave in the future, but also what their physical appearance will likely be. While profiling may seem very exciting, few psychologists are ever involved in this field. Psychological knowledge has been applied to many more areas of investigative police work, from the police interrogation to the police line-up. Both of these areas have prospered greatly from psychological research.
Outside of the "front-end" operations of police work there is numerous opportunities for the application of forensic psychology. In the court system, Forensic Psychologists are frequently used for both criminal and civil cases. In the criminal realm, the forensic psychologist is often asked to assess competency. Competency assessments can serve a number of purposes. First, a defendant can be assessed for the ability to stand trial and/or make legal decisions on their own behalf. These types of decision have been frequent in the news. These evaluations are carried out when the defendant appears to suffer from a mental defect, such…...

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