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NCJ Number: 81734 Find in a Library
Title: Psychologist as Expert Witness - 1 (From Lawyers and Psychologists - The Forward, P 7-19, 1981, Joanna Shapland, ed. - See NCJ-81734)
Author(s): L Howard; L Hilgendorf
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: British Psychological Soc
Leicester, LE1 7DR, England
Sale Source: British Psychological Soc
St Andrews House
48 Princess Road East
Leicester, LE1 7DR,
United Kingdom
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Two papers dealing with the psychologist as expert witness focus on the roles of the forensic psychologist in British courts and the importance of the support of the Legal community for applied psychological research relevant to legal issues.
Abstract: The roles assigned to the forensic psychologist are the experimental role, the clinical role, the actuarial role, and the advisory role. While the experimental role was the first to be adopted by the psychologist as expert witness and still is the forensic psychologist's primary professional thrust, the clinical role is the one in which the forensic psychologist most often appears as expert witness. In their experimental role, forensic psychologists apply established experimental data to the events of a case to produce an authoritative interpretation of what transpired. Their clinical role focuses primarily upon a scientific determination of the mental state of the offender. Hypnosis is also applied by the forensic psychologist as a means of deriving relevant recollections from victims, witnesses, and defendants. The actuary role involves the psychologist providing information on the probabilities of certain events occurring or occurring in conjunction with one another. As adviser, the psychologist informs the court on some scientific matter which requires explanation and elaboration. To be effective in a legal context, psychologists must be able to base their contributions on the findings of applied research which specifically bears on the legal questions at issue. This requires continuing research on legal issues about which there is little current input from the behavioral sciences. Funding for such research is likely to be forthcoming only if the legal community expresses strong support for it. Twelve references are provided.
Index Term(s): England; Expert witnesses; Forensic psychology
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