Setting the Scene: What is Forensic Psychology?
This lesson will introduce students to the world of Forensic Psychology by presenting a real-life scenario of a woman recounting her experience of rape. This case vignette will demonstrate the various roles that a Forensic Psychologist can fulfil. While the work of Forensic Psychologists is not limited to the legal system however, a key focus area of this course will be to explore how the field of Forensic Psychology deals with all aspects of human behavior as it relates to the law.
Giving Birth to Criminals?
This lesson dives deeper into the world of the 'criminal' by questioning our own misperceptions and automatic beliefs of what constitutes a 'criminal', what we think a 'criminal' must look and act like. These misperceptions, beliefs and attitudes of 'criminals' and 'offenders' are largely socialized and then subsequently internalized into our being by our parents and teachers when growing up. While not every person will commit a crime in their lifetime, it is important to consider what stops the majority of people from breaking the law in the first place and perhaps identifying the missing link for criminal.
Investigating Mental Illness and Crime: 1
While having a mental illness does not instantly label an individual as a criminal, research does indicate that a higher proportion of individuals with a personality disorder for instance are at a higher likelihood of getting into trouble with the law than people whose personalities are not thought to be extreme or disordered. This lesson explores the relationship between personality characteristics typical of many criminals.
Investigating Mental Illness and Crime: 2
Lesson 4 furthers our discussion on mental illness and crime by distinguishing personality disorders from psychosis and further questioning the validity of an individual's 'sanity' when engaging in an act of crime. Can these individual's be pardoned for their wrongdoing due to being mentally ill and therefore unfit to face a trial process?
Risk Factors for Offending
Building on from our discussion from lesson 2, this chapter aims to investigate the contribution of forensic neuroscience to the understanding of the etiology (origin) of criminal behaviors. We will examine how the brain develops and the parts of the brain that are said to constitute the social brain. By understanding the structure and function of these areas in the brain, we will then explore what effects these risk factors have on critical areas of the social brain and how specifically problems in these areas may in part lead to offending.
Psychological Theories of Crime
There are many general theories relevant to the study of crime. While it is important to appreciate that crime can be understood from a variety of perspectives, psychological theories of crime deal more with the specific aspects of crime. This lesson focuses on outlining the central tenets of psychological theories of crime, such as Eysnck's (1996) biosocial theory of crime as well as Bandura's (1968, 1973) social learning theory as it applies to the development of crime.
Legal Systems Vary Worldwide
Different jurisdictions have different legal processes and protections to ensure that justice is done. This lesson considers the implications for Forensic expertise in civil and criminal proceedings whilst also providing critique towards the role of Forensic Psychologist Experts in court.
Ethical Concerns and Multicultural Issues in Forensic Psychology
As we have seen thus far, the character portrayals of Forensic Psychologists ignoring the ethical and legal constraints in order to solve a crime is grossly inaccurate. In this lesson, we examine the ethical rules and principles that guide the profession and discuss the clearly defined scope of practice and boundaries of professional practice.