Psychological Science in the Courtroom: Consensus and Controversy [NOOK Book]


This rigorous yet reader-friendly book reviews the state of the science on a broad range of psychological issues commonly encountered in the forensic context. The goal is to help professionals and students differentiate between supported and unsupported psychological techniques--and steer clear of those that may be misleading or legally inadmissible. Leading contributors focus on controversial issues surrounding recovered memories, projective techniques, lie detection, child witnesses, offender rehabilitation, ...

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Psychological Science in the Courtroom: Consensus and Controversy

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This rigorous yet reader-friendly book reviews the state of the science on a broad range of psychological issues commonly encountered in the forensic context. The goal is to help professionals and students differentiate between supported and unsupported psychological techniques--and steer clear of those that may be misleading or legally inadmissible. Leading contributors focus on controversial issues surrounding recovered memories, projective techniques, lie detection, child witnesses, offender rehabilitation, psychopathy, violence risk assessment, and more. With a focus on real-world legal situations, the book offers guidelines for presenting scientific evidence accurately and effectively in courtroom testimony and written reports.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Psychiatric Practice

"A fascinating compilation, with 17 chapters that give brief, apparently objective....overviews of such diverse topics as so-called repressed memory," forensic hypnosis, eyewitness reliability, interrogation, projective testing, malingering and deception, criminal profiling, psychological pseudoscience, child custody evaluations, trial competence, violence risk, and offender rehabilitation."--Journal of Psychiatric Practice

"A welcome addition to the literature on legal and forensic psychology....The editors have compiled a book that covers a number of critical areas in forensic/legal psychology and have assembled a host of well-regarded researchers to discuss the relevant science on these issues....The research coverage is top caliber....An excellent resource."--PsycCRITIQUES
From the Publisher

"Unusually cohesive for an edited volume, this book brings the latest scientific research in forensic psychology to bear on some of the major controversies currently confronting the justice system. The authors describe myths and misconceptions about behavior in forensic contexts, detail the research that debunks those myths, and identify gaps in our existing knowledge. Providing a well-written and concise overview of many important research areas in both clinical and experimental forensic psychology, the book would be an excellent text for an upper-level undergraduate seminar or capstone course in forensic psychology, or for a graduate proseminar. It is also a valuable resource for practitioners and scholars who seek to understand what psychological science has to contribute to ongoing debates at the intersection of psychology and law."--Margaret Bull Kovera, PhD, Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York

"Outstanding. Skeem et al. present essential information in areas ranging from eyewitness testimony and memory bias to interviewing, interrogation, criminal profiling, and polygraphy. The contributors are top experts in the field whose chapters are comprehensive and scholarly, but also accessible and engaging to read. Discussions of key controversies, myths, and misconceptions--alongside coverage of established facts and knowledge gaps--bring an intriguing spice to the mix. Forensic psychologists will find this volume indispensable. Its content and accessibility also make it a superb choice as a text for courses in law and psychology."--Christopher J. Patrick, PhD, Hathaway Distinguished Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

"By focusing on controversies, this book goes right to the heart of the disputes over the reasoning and theories used by forensic experts. As a forensic mental health expert, you’d better know the possible lines of attack on your opinions. The book’s breadth ensures it will be helpful in preparing for almost any case, and its sophistication will clarify your thinking, whether you’ve worked on one case or one thousand."--Peter Ash, MD, Director, Psychiatry and Law Service, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University
"A valuable addition to the law and mental health literature. This volume provides a concise and balanced review of contemporary issues in forensic psychology. The editors and the impressive contributing authors have succeeded in creating a repository and critical analysis of the research to inform readers about the state of the science. What sets this book apart--and makes it particularly valuable for students, practicing mental health professionals, and attorneys who deal with psychological evidence in the legal environment--is its engaging and consistent style, the depth and breadth of the subjects, and its analytic rigor. Social workers who testify in child welfare and probate matters, appear as experts in court, conduct custody evaluations, and work in legal settings will gain important knowledge to prepare them for these roles."--Robert G. Madden, LCSW, JD, Department of Social Work, Saint Joseph College, West Hartford, Connecticut, and University of Connecticut School of Law

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606233917
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/8/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 418
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jennifer L. Skeem, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, where she is also a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Mandated Community Treatment, the Center for Psychology and Law, and the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections. Dr. Skeem conducts research on such topics as psychopathic personality disorder, violence risks, and psychiatric treatment outcomes of offenders. She is a recipient of the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology and Law, awarded jointly by the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology.


Kevin S. Douglas, LLB, PhD, is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Law and Forensic Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Canada. He conducts research on forensic assessment and violence, with a specific focus on violence risk assessment. Dr. Douglas is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Career Scholar and a recipient of the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology and Law.


Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Emory University. His research focuses on the causes of personality disorders, particularly psychopathic personality; psychiatric classification and diagnosis; and evidence-based practice in clinical psychology. Dr. Lilienfeld is a fellow of the American Psychological Society and a recipient of the David Shakow Early Career Award from Division 12 (Clinical Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. He is editor of the Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice.

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Table of Contents

I. Psychological Science and Its Application in Courts of Law

1. Standards of Legal Admissibility and Their Implications for Psychological Sciences, David L. Faigman and John Monahan

2. Daubert and Psychological Science in Court: Judging Validity from the Bench, Bar, and Jury Box, Bradley D. McAuliff and Jennifer L. Groscup

II. Memory and Suggestibility

3. The Scientific Status of "Repressed" and "Recovered" Memories of Sexual Abuse, Deborah Davis and Elizabeth F. Loftus

4. Forensic Hypnosis: The State of the Science, Steven Jay Lynn, Elza Boycheva, Amanda Deming, Scott O. Lilienfeld, and Michael N. Hallquist

5. Expert Testimony Regarding Eyewitness Identification, Brian L. Cutler and Gary L. Wells

6. Techniques and Controversies in the Interrogation of Suspects: The Artful Practice versus the Scientific Study, Allison D. Redlich and Christian A. Meissner

7. Reliability of Child Witnesses' Reports, Maggie Bruck and Stephen J. Ceci

III. Specific Tests and Techniques

8. The Psychopathy Checklist in the Courtroom: Consensus and Controversies, John F. Edens, Jennifer L. Skeem, and Patrick J. Kennealy

9. Projective Techniques in the Courtroom, James M. Wood, M. Teresa Nezworski, Scott O. Lilienfeld, and Howard N. Garb

10. Psychophysiological Detection of Deception and Guilty Knowledge, William G. Iacono

IV. Forensic Evaluation of Psycholegal Issues

11. Criminal Profiling: Facts, Fictions, and Courtroom Admissibility, Richard N. Kocsis

12. The Science and Pseudoscience of Assessing Psychological Injuries, William J. Koch, Rami Nader, and Michelle Haring

13. Controversies in Child Custody Evaluation, William T. O'Donohue, Kendra Beitz, and Lauren Tolle

14. Controversies in Evaluating Competency to Stand Trial, Norman G. Poythress and Patricia A. Zapf

V. Courtroom Sentencing: Risk and Rehabilitation

15. Violence Risk Assessment: Core Controversies, Kirk Heilbrun, Kevin S. Douglas, and Kento Yasuhara

16. Appropriate Treatment Works, But How?: Rehabilitating General, Psychopathic, and High-Risk Offenders, Jennifer L. Skeem, Devon L. L. Polaschek, and Sarah Manchak

VI. Concluding Thoughts and Future Directions

17. Finding Common Ground between Scientific Psychology and the Law, John P. Petrila

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