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The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology
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  • Cited by 3
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Wilson, Pam 2013. Forensic Psychology in Practice. p. 1.

    Galasiński, Dariusz and Ziółkowska, Justyna 2013. Managing Information. Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 19, Issue. 8, p. 589.

    2014. The Foundations of Communication in Criminal Justice Systems. p. 57.


Book description

Forensic psychology has developed and extended from an original, narrow focus on presenting evidence to the courts to a wider application across the whole span of civil and criminal justice, which includes dealing with suspects, offenders, victims, witnesses, defendants, litigants and justice professionals. This Handbook provides an encyclopedic-style source regarding the major concerns in forensic psychology. It is an invaluable reference text for practitioners within community, special hospital, secure unit, prison, probation and law enforcement forensic settings, as well as being appropriate for trainees and students in these areas. It will also serve as a companion text for lawyers and psychiatric and law enforcement professionals who wish to be apprised of forensic psychology coverage. Each entry provides a succinct outline of the topic, describes current thinking, identifies relevant consensual or contested aspects and alternative positions. Readers are presented with key issues and directed towards specialized sources for further reference.


‘An excellent resource for those new to forensic psychology, for those already established in the profession, and for those in related professions, such as the law and psychiatry, in need of comprehensive guidance and resources to improve the quality of their involvement in a wide range of criminal justice settings. All the core areas of forensic practice are covered in interesting and well written chapters prepared by leading researchers and practitioners. Essential reading for all those in the field.’

Dr Caroline Logan - Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and University of Manchester

‘One of the most comprehensive and valuable collections of material for academic and practicing forensic psychologists I have seen. An enormously useful resource.’

Professor Paul Wilson - Chair of Criminology and Forensic Psychologist, Bond University, Australia

'The 134 authors are a ‘Who’s Who’ in forensic psychology … One of the strengths of this handbook is the uniqueness of some of the topics, such as chapters on child soldiers, victims of terrorism, and parole decision making. The book also contains relevant, up-to-date issues, such as a chapter on Internet sexual offending … The editors, Brown and Campbell, are praised for their ambition, vision, and ability to compile such a volume … this 2010 handbook is an essential reference for any forensic science professional.'

Source: Journal of Forensic Sciences

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Page 1 of 5

  • 1.9 - Investigative psychology
    pp 81-85
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    This chapter explores the span of forensic psychology and examines the roles of forensic psychology practitioners. Forensic psychology has emerged as an identifiable subdiscipline within psychology, and this has been conflated with discussions about the writ of the psychologists who are active within this field. The chapter attempts to delineate and separate these two. Otto and Heilbrun argue that forensic psychology is at a crossroads and needs to clearly distinguish practice, educate legal consumers and devote more attention to treatment issues. Given that all types of psychologists may be working in a forensic setting, it is questionable whether it makes sense to think of there being a common curriculum that could produce a generic 'forensic' psychologist. Forensic psychology practitioners are often depicted in the media through fictionalized representations as offender profilers, which is but one, albeit a highly specialized, area of activity.
  • 1.11 - Pragmatic psychology
    pp 95-101
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    In the search for a conceptual framework that underlies variations in criminal activity, a model derived from Parsons' exploration of sociopsychological systems is proving productive. This has its roots in cybernetics and the related attempts to model social and psychological processes as systems of interactions. The author and his colleagues have demonstrated the utility of such an approach when applied to criminal behaviour. They have developed the action system model further by linking it to dominant theories in the explanation and differentiation of crime. The action system model goes further than just being the identification of four modes of action, which include: the integrative mode, adaptive mode, conservative mode and the expressive mode. The challenge, as with any system based on content analysis, is to develop definitions of the components that are clear and as objective as possible.
  • 1.12 - Sexual offenders
    pp 102-110
  • View abstract


    The largest cohort study on the development delinquency and criminality in the UK found that convicted delinquents are more likely to have experienced poor parenting, characterized by harsh or erratic parental discipline, neglectful parental attitudes, parental conflicts and lax supervision in their childhood. The statutory age limits adopted by juvenile courts, which deal with children and adolescents who have committed legal offences vary between countries. It is difficult to ascertain the true extent of child and youth offending due to the limitations of each information source. It is claimed that the prevention of delinquency, criminal behaviour and reoffending can be achieved by interventions that alleviate risk factors and strengthen protective factors. At the individual level, support for academic work and cognitive-behavioural intervention is provided for children identified as being at risk. Early intervention is preferable to tackling a young person's problems once they have begun.
  • 1.13 - Social psychological theories applied to forensic psychology topics
    pp 111-117
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    This chapter focuses on contemporary theoretical and research developments in the search for developmental patterns and age-linked correlates and causes of antisocial behaviours. The fundamental challenge in the search for the correlates and causation of antisocial behaviours arises from the complexity of human behaviour. Cross-sectional studies collecting data on separate cohorts differing in age provide some important clues about factors associated with antisocial behaviours at different stages of the development. The preferred design involves prospective longitudinal designs. In this the same individuals are followed over a period of time, changes in their behaviours are tracked, and factors associated with those changes are explored. The chapter discusses the advantages associated with this design. A growing body of cross-sectional and longitudinal research is now available on age-related risk factors associated with antisocial behaviours. This information helps assessing risk for antisocial behaviour at various developmental stages and developing prevention and intervention programmes.
  • 1.14 - Theories of change
    pp 118-125
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    Evolutionary psychology adopts a Darwinian approach to understanding the causes of behaviour. Darwinian psychology deals with the ultimate causes of heritable adaptations. In recent years, evolutionary psychology has either become obsolete or greatly expanded its scope and explanatory power, depending on one's point of view. One of evolutionary psychology's most important goals is to create theories of behaviour and the mind that are consilient with the more basic life sciences, namely evolutionary biology and the new science of development. There have been some important applications of evolutionary psychology to forensic psychology. Darwinian theory is uniquely applicable to conflicts of interest among individuals because it is the only theory that can provide an explanation of why individuals have perceptions of self-interest at all and why there are lawful variations in these perceptions. Evolutionary psychology has also made important contributions in the area of sexual coercion.
  • 1.15 - Therapeutic jurisprudence
    pp 126-132
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    The memories of eyewitnesses play a central role in many police investigations and any subsequent legal decision making. Unfortunately, eyewitness memories are not infallible. This chapter presents an overview of areas where programmatic research has explored factors contributing to witness unreliability and suggested ways of improving the quality of eyewitness evidence. The chapter's organization loosely parallels the sequence experienced by witnesses from the time of crime commission, through their involvement in a police investigation, to that in any subsequent trial. During the time between the event and the witness being interviewed by police, a number of factors can shape the memory reports of the witness. As well as providing details about the event and offender, witnesses may also be asked to view a formal identification parade. Scientific research on eyewitness memory issues has grown steadily in the last twenty to thirty years.
  • 1.16 - Violent offending
    pp 133-140
  • View abstract


    Facet theory derives from the work of Louis Guttman, whose early research was concerned with developing scales but was troubled by defining their content. It was his conviction that behavioural research dealing with complex issues should proceed logically by conceptualizing and defining in substantive terms what is being studied before proceeding with data collection. Facets and their constituent elements are ways of classifying variables and are formally laid out in a mapping sentence. The mapping sentence indicates the role that the facet is hypothesized to play, which in turn is based on the rationale. A structure frequently reported in the research literature is a radex, which comprises facets playing a modulating role combined with a polar role. An important goal of facet theory is to identify and establish recurring patterns and regularities. Through replication and confirmation, such recurring findings may lead to the ultimate goal of establishing laws of behaviour.
  • 2.1 - Child victims of sexual abuse
    pp 143-152
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    Head injury is the leading cause of disability and death in young adults. The main causes are accidents and assaults, and in a significant proportion of cases alcohol or drugs are involved. Head injury can have significant effects on cognition, personality and behaviour. Damage to brain areas that have been associated with antisocial behaviour is common after head injury. Post-traumatic amnesia refers to a period of time from recovery of consciousness until return of orientation and continuous memory for day-to-day events. It is relevant to consider the heterogeneity within the head injury population both in terms of severity of injury and outcome. Sexual offending and violence are significant problems after head injury, particularly in males, although they are limited by their retrospective non-blind design. Where there is a distant history of a head injury, the occurrence and severity should be verified in medical records.
  • 2.2 - Credibility
    pp 153-158
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    Investigative decision making sits largely within the academic disciplines of cognitive and social psychology though it is also allied to criminology and sociology. It is an eclectic field of study based on scientific, empirical research. Investigative decision making draws on a lengthy body of research of general decision theory stretching back centuries. Some features of human decision making hold across any context, so traditional decision-making theory (TDT) findings are applicable to investigative decision making. As with other theories and models associated with generic decision making, game theory has a contribution to make to investigative decision making. Unlike TDT, naturalistic decision-making approaches take more account of the context in which decision makers operate. In TDT studies, participants in a lab study may be asked to decide which choices are more (or less) attractive. Investigative decision making has evolved from and is still influenced by early decision theory.

Page 1 of 5


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