Psychology & Law
Psychological theory and research has been historically relevant to legal policy and decision-making. Recognizing the burgeoning field of psychology and law, the purpose of this graduate-level course is to illuminate the myriad interactions between psychology and the legal system. Specifically, this course will discuss topics in psychology and law by reading seminal articles in each area of psychology that have a direct bearing on the legal system, including: eyewitness memory and identification; police interviewing, police interrogations and confessions; pre-trial publicity; jury selection; trial process; and criminal/civil jury decision-making. While discussing these substantive topics, the course will examine important legal cases, policy, and legislation that have utilized psychological research or ignored relevant empirical psycho-legal research (e.g., guidelines for interviewing witnesses and suspects, the admissibility of expert testimony on eyewitness memory and false confessions, standard jury instructions). Students who complete the course will obtain an enhanced understanding of how to conduct and evaluate psychological research and how this research has been used and applied by police, attorneys, judges, and legislators to advocate for their clients or inform and improve the legal system throughout the life cycle of a civil and criminal case.