PSYC-155 Psychology and the Legal System
Fall for 2016-2017
The law intends to guide and control human behavior and the discipline of psychology intends to understand it. In this course we will examine theories, research, and practical implications for understanding human behavior that is regulated by the American legal system. As a survey course we will investigate a broad range of topics that may include the psychology of crime, eyewitnesses, forensic assessment, trials and juries, and sentencing and corrections. We will examine the structure of the legal system and the various roles that psychologists can play in that system. We will supplement our textbook with Supreme Court briefs and opinions, documentary films, and guest speakers that may include representatives from federal agencies (e.g., U.S. Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation), state and local court systems (e.g., defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement), and advocacy organizations (e.g., victim’s rights, children’s advocacy).