Psychological Science and the Law

Edited by Neil Brewer and Amy Bradfield Douglass

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April 4, 2019
ISBN 9781462538300
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459 Pages
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Psychological research can provide constructive explanations of key problems in the criminal justice system—and can help generate solutions. This state-of-the-art text dissects the psychological processes associated with fundamental legal questions: Is a suspect lying? Will an incarcerated individual be dangerous in the future? Is an eyewitness accurate? How can false memories be implanted? How do juries, experts, forensic examiners, and judges make decisions, and how can racial and other forms of bias be minimized? Chapters offer up-to-date reviews of relevant theory, experimental methods, and empirical findings. Specific recommendations are made for improving the quality of evidence and preserving the integrity of investigative and legal proceedings.

“We live at a time when psychological research in matters of social justice has never been so sorely needed. This text satisfies today's high demand for forensic psychology in the courts and in the college classroom. With up-to-date chapters written by active scholars, the book spans a range of sizzling topics—criminal profiling, lie detection, police interrogations and confessions, eyewitness memory, bias in the forensic sciences, judicial and jury decision making, plea bargaining, psychopathy, and what it means to be competent to stand trial.”

—Saul Kassin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York


“If you have ever been curious about the deep connection between psychology and law, this is the book for you. Two eminent researchers have assembled a stellar group of scientists and scholars to fill readers in on the latest on eyewitness memory, judicial decision making, expert testimony, and a host of other topics. I felt immense pride when reading of the myriad ways psychology has contributed to solving some of the most vexing problems in our system of justice. You can see that for yourself, whether you’re learning about it for the first time or have been following the literature for years.”

—Elizabeth F. Loftus, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Social Ecology, and Professor of Law, and Cognitive Science, University of California, Irvine


“Brewer and Douglass have really hit the mark with this excellent, up-to-date work. A wide array of topics are covered, from traditional social and cognitive research related to eyewitness memory to more clinically based areas such as forensic interviewing and the assessment of competence. The book tackles emerging areas of research and practice that are not included in other texts, such as issues related to plea bargaining, cognitive bias in forensic decision making, and the pseudoscience of criminal profiling. Highly readable, this is an outstanding text for upper-level courses in psychology and law; it will also be useful for professionals in the criminal justice system.”

—Mitchell Eisen, PhD, Professor and Director, Forensic Psychology Graduate Program, California State University, Los Angeles


“Prominent scholars provide thorough summaries of the literature in each of the major domains of scholarship in psychology and law. Accessible, critical, and engaging, this text will be of great value to students, practitioners, and researchers—it fills a gap in the field.”

—Michael E. Lamb, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Editor, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law


“This beautifully crafted text provides a comprehensive, up-to-date discussion of contemporary debates and issues at the interface of psychology and criminal law. Readers learn how social, cognitive, clinical and forensic psychology inform a broad range of processes within criminal justice systems. Each chapter is written by one or more experts at the cutting edge of their respective fields who understand the benefits and challenges of translating science into practice. This is a worthy successor to Brewer and Williams's 2005 Psychology and Law, which has informed my teaching and research for over a decade. It will doubtless be regarded as the authoritative work on psychological science and the law for students, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.”

—Kimberley A. Wade, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Table of Contents

Introduction: Psychology and the Criminal Justice System, Amy Bradfield Douglass & Neil Brewer sample

1. Criminal Profiling, Laura Fallon & Brent Snook

2. Cognitive Bias in Legal Decision Making, Steve Charman, Amy Bradfield Douglass, & Alexis Mook

3. Interrogations and Confessions, Stephanie Madon, Curt More, & Ryan Ditchfield

4. Deception Detection, Christopher A. Gunderson & Leanne ten Brinke

5. Eyewitness Memory, Sean M. Lane & Kate A. Houston

6. Interviewing Witnesses and Victims, Lorraine Hope & Fiona Gabbert

7. Child Witnesses, Thomas D. Lyon, Kelly McWilliams, & Shanna Williams

8. False Memory, Maria S. Zaragoza, Ira Hyman, & Quin M. Chrobak

9. Eyewitness Identification, James D. Sauer, Matthew A. Palmer, & Neil Brewer

10. Identifying People from Images, David White & Richard Kemp

11. Plea Bargaining, Miko M. Wilford, Annabelle Shestak, & Gary L. Wells

12. Competence to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility, Lauren E. Kois, Preeti Chauhan, & Janet I. Warren

13. Expert Testimony, Stephanie Marion, Jeffrey Kaplan, & Brian Cutler

14. Jury Decision Making, Liana C. Peter-Hagene, Jessica M. Salerno, & Hannah Phalen

15. Aggression, Violence, and Psychopathy, Devon L. L. Polaschek

16. Judicial Decision Making, Gregory Mitchell

17. Translating Psychological Science into Policy and Practice, Nancy K. Steblay

Index


About the Editors

Neil Brewer, PhD, is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Flinders University, South Australia. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. His research addresses eyewitness identification and recall, juror judgments, and, recently, interactions between individuals with autism spectrum disorder and the justice system. Dr. Brewer has served as the editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied and as an editorial board member for all the major psychology–law journals.

Amy Bradfield Douglass, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Bates College. She teaches statistics and upper-level courses on psychology and law and psychology of religion. Her research focuses on how eyewitnesses make decisions, how eyewitness errors can be prevented, how social interactions with lineup administrators affect retrospective witness judgments, and how people perceive and evaluate eyewitnesses. Dr. Douglass is an editorial board member and former associate editor of Law and Human Behavior.

Contributors

Neil Brewer, PhD, College of Education, Psychology, and Social Work, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Steve Charman, PhD, Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami, Florida

Preeti Chauhan, PhD, Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, New York

Quin M. Chrobak, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Brian Cutler, PhD, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Ryan Ditchfield, BSc, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Amy Bradfield Douglass, PhD, Department of Psychology, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine

Laura Fallon, MAPS, Department of Psychology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Fiona Gabbert, PhD, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London, London, United Kingdom

Christopher A. Gunderson, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

Lorraine Hope, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Kate A. Houston, PhD, Department of Social Sciences, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, Texas

Ira Hyman, PhD, Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington

Jeffrey Kaplan, MSc, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Richard I. Kemp, PhD, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Lauren E. Kois, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Sean M. Lane, PhD, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Thomas D. Lyon, PhD, Gould School of Law, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Stephanie Madon, PhD, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Stephanie Marion, PhD, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Kelly McWilliams, PhD, Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, New York

Gregory Mitchell, PhD, JD, School of Law, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Alexis Mook, BA, Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami, Florida

Curt More, MS, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Matthew A. Palmer, PhD, School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Liana C. Peter-Hagene, PhD, Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

Hannah Phalen, BA, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University, Glendale, Arizona

Devon L. L. Polaschek, PhD, School of Psychology, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Jessica M. Salerno, PhD, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University, Glendale, Arizona

James D. Sauer, PhD, School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Annabelle Shestak, MS, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts

Brent Snook, PhD, Department of Psychology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Nancy K. Steblay, PhD, Department of Psychology, Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Leanne ten Brinke, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

Janet I. Warren, DSW, Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Gary L. Wells, PhD, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

David White, PhD, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Miko M. Wilford, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts

Shanna Williams, PhD, Gould School of Law, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Maria S. Zaragoza, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Audience

Students and professionals in forensic psychology and psychiatry, cognitive and social psychology, adult and child clinical psychology and psychiatry, social work, and child welfare; also of interest to attorneys, judges, law enforcement professionals, and others in the legal and criminal justice systems.

Course Use

Serves as a text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses such as Psychology and Law, Forensic Psychology, and Social Work and the Law.