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Forensic Psychology. Psychology & Criminals. What we see on TV. Dr. Huang (Law and Order SVU). I. What is Forensic Psychology?. It is the application of psychological findings to legal processes .

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forensic psychology

Forensic Psychology

Psychology & Criminals

what we see on tv
What we see on TV
  • Dr. Huang (Law and Order SVU)
i what is forensic psychology
I. What is Forensic Psychology?
  • It is the application of psychological findings to legal processes.
  • This means forensic psychologists may be involved in the assessment, evaluation, & treatment of criminal offenders as well as other areas of the legal system (determining mental fitness for trial, etc.)
what do forensic psychologists do
What do Forensic Psychologists do?
  • Assessment (conduct tests to assess mental state, IQ, competency, etc.).
  • Treatment (providing services to offenders in prisons, treatment/detention centers, & following release from prison).
  • Testify in areas such as family law (custody, visitation), civil law (personal injury, worker’s compensation, wills & contracts), and criminal law (competencies, sentencing).
a forensic psychology development
A. Forensic Psychology-development
  • Two branches of development in this field:
  • 1. Psychological research findings have increasingly been used to inform various legal processes.
  • 2.     The practice of clinical forensic psychology has become an integral part of the overall field of forensic science.
why are there so many problems with eyewitness identifications
Why are there so many problems with eyewitness identifications?
  • 1. Humans are fairly unreliable in how we process information. We are heavily influenced by our emotions at the time of the crime (e.g., rape, assault), may focus our attention on salient features of the crime (e.g., weapon), unsuitable environmental conditions (e.g., darkness; rain) & stress may impair recollection.
  • 2.Procedures employed by law enforcement to obtain eyewitness accounts may be flawed. Kassin et al., (2001), cite the numerous “criminal justice procedures” that can seriously affect an eyewitnesses accuracy. Some such procedures used by police include: problems in the wording of questions, line-up instructions, mug shots, induced bias, child witness suggestibility, attitudes & expectations, etc.
Think of controversial court cases of the past 10-15 years and how the concepts we have talked about in this class may have played a role in those cases.
  • - OJ Simpson Trial
  • - Casey Anthony
  • - Trayvon Martin Case
clinical interviews
Clinical Interviews
  • Clinicians observe the defendant’s emotional state at time of interview.
  • (Criminal Minds)
aims of profiling
Aims of Profiling

1. Social and psychological assessments of offendersdemographic profile, age, race, employment & marital status narrowing the field of suspects, including likely geo-field & repetition cycle.

2. Psychological evaluations of belongings found on suspects -examples: trophies & souvenirs

3. Suggestions & strategies for interviewing suspects

role of profiling trial phase
Role of Profiling: Trial Phase
  • Assists in evaluation of evidence
  • Assists in developing interview strategies
  • Helps gain insight on offender motivation
  • Helps suggest a crime scene linkage by modus operandi and signature behavior
psychopathy vs reactive offender
Psychopathy Vs Reactive Offender


Self-concept: Invulnerable


Pre-emptive rights

Sees Others: Stupid



Strategies: Manipulative





Fragile rights



The enemy

Inadequate problem solving

“Defensive” violence

typology of serial killers
Typology of Serial Killers
  • Visionary - kill because of visions - generally psychotic
  • Mission orientated - rid society of certain types of people e.g. prostitutes, runaway kids, racial group etc
  • Hedonistic - "thrill seekers" & lust killers
  • Power/Control orientated - pleasure is in lime light-power - often killing when the victim abandons hope of survival and acquiesces
fbi psychological profile of lust killers
FBI Psychological Profile of Lust Killers

Organized Killer

  • intelligent
  • masculine image
  • charismatic
  • socially capable
  • sexually capable
  • occupationally mobile
  • lives with partner
  • geographically mobile
  • harsh childhood discipline
  • controlled emotions
  • interested in media
  • model inmate

Disorganized Killer

  • below average IQ
  • socially immature
  • seldom dates
  • high school failure
  • unemployed father
  • lives alone
  • has secret hiding places
  • nocturnal
  • lives/works near crime
  • unskilled worker
  • behavior change
  • low interest in media
  • high anxiety during crime
forensic psychology at eku
Forensic Psychology at EKU