Psychology of Law: 3 Critical Empirical Legal Problems


This tutorial explicates three critical examples of how psychology informs legal professionals of the problems that human behaviour brings to law and its practice.

Benefit of this resource and how to make the best use of it

Starting with an introduction to what psychology is, and what it is not, the tutorial moves to discuss and critically analyse key studies in psychological research demonstrating: the fallibility of forensic profiling, the malleability of human memory relevant to false memory syndrome, and finally the vulnerability of juries to prejudicial evidence. These key studies demonstrate how forensic profiling may sometimes mislead police investigations, how false memories can be planted in the mind of witnesses, and how prejudicing evidence, such as prior convictions, can bias trials in which very little other corroboration is evident. These thought provoking findings are presented in the context of core landmark findings within the psychology of law literatures, and will provide the student and lecturer with much to appraise and work with to advance complementary literatures within law, such as a critique of the rules of evidence and procedure. Finally, a select reading list is provided to aid the student and lecturer for future reference.

Related OER

This workbook takes the student on a conceptual journey aiding their understanding of what is meant by the quantitative-qualitative research process in contemporary legal empirical research. Although, of interest to social science students, the particular worked examples relate to how to do research on law, legal policy and review.

This lecture addresses core issues in choosing a research topic for undergraduate and first time researchers to consider. Often final year undergraduate students find this task a difficult one. Step by step the the lecture connects the student to core concepts, pressure points and key readings to foster their idea and focus their decision.

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