This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 14 table of contents.

Psychology and Law

Psychology and the Law is a frontier area in two ways. It is an area of intense recent activity, and it is an interdisciplinary area, an area of overlap between psychology and other professions. Here are some specific ways that psychologists become involved in the legal system.

How are psychologists involved in the legal system?

—In law enforcement (evaluating evidence, constructing profiles of criminals not yet caught, rehabilitating prisoners)

—As consultants to lawyers (helping them select jury members or preparing a witness to testify)

—Providing expert testimony (evaluating eyewitness testimony, giving information about patterns of abuse and victimization, or testifying on topics such as sleep disorders, child abuse, and dating violence)

—Advocating rights of clients (arguing for the rights of the developmentally disabled or handicapped, rape victims, parents seeking custody)

Regulating the profession of psychology (defining boundaries of accepting behavior in therapy, protecting rights of therapy clients, regulating research with human subjects, setting up guidelines for animal laboratories)

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