Legal Psychology: Current Research
Legal psychology, concerns the application of psychological theory and research to issues related to the legal and criminal justice systems. We will principally read and discuss legal psychology literature from the last few years – scientific work on the cutting edge in the field. This course aims to equip students with deep understanding and knowledge of legal psychology as it exists today and with critical skills to make scientific and ethical assessments of practices and policies in legal systems.
Legal psychology is concerned with applying psychological research and theory to the legal system. It uses the scientific method to address contemporary, real-world societal problems to which psychology is relevant. How do judges and lawyers make decisions? How do investigators interpret evidence? What factors influence the reliability of eyewitnesses? How can people remember things that never happened? Is it possible to accurately detect lies? How should we question witnesses and victims in order to obtain useful information? How should we question suspects of crimes?
Psychological science has much to say about each of these questions and can play an important role in advancing practice and policy in the legal system. This course aims to provide students with knowledge of and critical views on current research on legal psychology – that is, research that tries to answer questions such as these.
This course aimed at students with a solid background in Psychology at a bachelor´s level, who are beginning or are currently studying at master´s level. This course is well-suited for students who are particularly interested in the process of research and the role of psychological research in the legal system, especially students who possibly have the ambition to go on to PhD-level studies.
This course covers current research on key areas in legal psychology, through three subcourses:
- The Legal System – Actors and Decision-Making
- Memory, Deception Detection
- Credibility Assessment
Interviewing and Interrogation.
Each subcourse consists of a series lectures to build foundational knowledge in the concept, as well as seminars to enrich, discuss, and debate topics pertaining to current research in legal psychology.