Lie detection, offender profiling, jury selection, insanity in the law, predicting the risk of re-offending, the minds of serial killers, and many other topics that fill news and fiction are all aspects of the rapidly developing area of scientific psychology broadly known as Forensic Psychology.
This fascinating Very Short Introduction discusses all the aspects of psychology that are relevant to the legal and criminal process as a whole. It includes explanations of criminal behavior and criminality, including the role of mental disorder in crime, and it reveals how forensic psychology contributes to helping investigate the crime and catching the perpetrators.
David Canter also explains how psychologists provide guidance to all those involved in civil and criminal court proceedings, including both the police and the accused, and what expert testimony can be provided by a psychologist about the offender at the trial. Finally, Canter describes how forensic psychology is used, particularly in prisons, to help in the management, treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, once they have been convicted.
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If you have an interest in possibly going in to forensic psychology, this book will give you a good sense of the varied roles the forensic psychologist fill in the field of psychology. It was easy to follow. I give this 4 stars, because it's well rounded but no real eye opening changes to my view on the world or anything of that nature.....but, a good introduction, certainly.
This is the third of three recent books I've read on sociopathy ("The Sociopath Next Door" "Without Conscience," "Forensic Psychology" I rate the three as: deep, deeper, deepest
Perhaps not quite as stiff
I give Canter much credit for his valiant attempt to suggest a ray of hope for humankind regarding sociopathy. I've often been struck how sociologists and doctors consider the condition "incurable" and "untreatable" and leave it at that. This essentially means that 96% of us are doomed to be potential victims of the 4% of sociopaths among us unless we're simply lucky enough to avoid them. This is unacceptable. Canter at least suggests that new breakthroughs in studying the connection between empathy and mother love could lead to new therapies for these mal-formed individuals and suggests new medications could also alter behavior. These sound like long shots but of course are better than nothing.
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