Psychology and Law: An Empirical Perspective

Psychology and Law: An Empirical Perspective

Psychology and Law: An Empirical Perspective

Psychology and Law: An Empirical Perspective

Synopsis

From the initial investigation of a crime to the sentencing of an offender, a wide range of practices within the criminal justice system draw on psychological knowledge. In this book, prominent cognitive and social psychology researchers analyze the processes involved in such tasks as interviewing witnesses, detecting deception, and eliciting eyewitness reports and identification from adults and children. Also analyzed are factors that influence decision making by jurors and judges, including the persuasive strategies used by lawyers. Throughout, findings from experimental research are translated into clear recommendations for improving the quality of evidence and the fairness of investigative and legal proceedings. The book also addresses salient methodological questions and identifies key directions for future investigation.

Excerpt

This volume explores the contributions of psychological theory and empirical research to advancing our understanding of a diverse array of practices and processes within the criminal justice system. Underpinning this exploration is the basic premise that such understanding is crucial for the development of effective practices within the legal system. Much of the research described is firmly based in the traditions of experimental psychology. This approach reflects the view that carefully controlled experimental work is crucial for the advancement of psychological knowledge and understanding—and, in turn, for meaningful practical progress.

Our hope is that this book will serve a number of purposes for the reader. At a general level, it is intended to (1) illustrate how theoretical advances in the broad fields of experimental psychology can provide valuable directions for applied research, (2) highlight many of the methodological difficulties with which applied researchers are confronted, and (3) show how carefully controlled experimental research can be used to make meaningful contributions to the solution of everyday or real-world problems. At a more specific level, this volume is designed to provide readers with an up-to-date knowledge base on developments in diverse areas of experimental psychology (e.g., cognitive, developmental, and social psychology) that is relevant to practices within the various sectors of the criminal justice system. Furthermore, some of the major contemporary research developments in psychology and law are highlighted, and readers are acquainted with the specific practical possibilities that are sug-

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