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Introduction to Forensic Psychology

  • Module code: PS6011
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of level 5 Psychology or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module will give a broad overview of the intersection between psychology and the criminal justice system. Forensic psychology is concerned with the psychological aspects of the legal process including police investigation and court procedures. Students will learn to apply psychological theory to criminal investigation, understand the psychological problems and developmental processes associated with criminal behaviour and victimisation. There will be an introduction to the assessment and treatment of those who have committed offences. The module will also give an insight into the training and career pathways for forensic psychologists.

Aims

  • To introduce the key approaches, and concepts within the field of forensic psychology
  • To enable the students to understand the developmental processes and psychological/criminological theories associated with criminal behaviour
  • To enable the students to develop critical evaluation skills in areas of research within forensic psychology such as eyewitness and expert testimony, investigative interviewing, assessment and treatment programmes in prisons and with mentally disordered offenders
  • To develop an understanding of the roles of the forensic psychologist in various settings and the pathways to registration as a Chartered Forensic Psychologist

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts and debates in forensic psychology
  • Understand the developmental process of criminal behaviour from a psychological and criminological perspective
  • Demonstrate understanding of the key theories and areas of research in investigative psychology
  • Critically evaluate research within the major fields of forensic psychology

Curriculum content

  • What is forensic psychology?
  • Who becomes antisocial?
  • Bio-psychosocial determinants
  • Mental disorder and violent offending
  • Psychological assessment
  • Unfolding evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Eye witness/ear witness
  • False & recovered memory/memory of trauma
  • Risk assessments
  • Treatment
  • Early intervention
  • Forensic practice/ethics/supervision/standards
  • Fear of crime interviewing suspects
  • Interviewing suspects
  • Deception
  • Critical evaluation of research

Teaching and learning strategy

The module will consist of 22 three hour lectures which will consist of an introduction to the topic followed by an interactive session to consolidate and discuss the information delivered.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture 66
Guided independent study 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategies adopted in the course reflects the aims of the module and the requirements for undergraduate level 6 study and make a significant contribution to the learning process. The assessment strategy is designed to develop critical appraisal skills and knowledge in Forensic Psychology and provide evidence of the students' understanding, and progress throughout the module. The opportunity for students to demonstrate a sustained piece of work is provided in the completion of a reflective journal which is a key element of British Psychological Society (BPS) standards and competencies. This will enable the student to reflect on their learning experience via self-assessment throughout the module.

The module will be assessed by one critical review and one exam, students will also keep a reflective journal.

The critical review of 2000 words and the exam will each be worth 50% of the module and students will also be asked to keep a reflective journal throughout which is part of the formative assessment.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts and debates in forensic psychology Formatively throughout lecture activities, workshops and via the reflective journal. Summatively via the assessment essay and exams
Understand the developmental process of criminal behaviour from a psychological and criminological perspective Formatively throughout lecture activities, workshops and via the reflective journal. Summatively via the assessment and exam
Demonstrate understanding of the key theories and areas of research in investigative psychology Formatively throughout lecture activities, workshops and via the reflective journal. Summatively via the assessment and exam
Critically evaluate research within the major fields of forensic psychology Formatively throughout lecture activities, workshops and via the reflective journal. Summatively via the assessment essay and exam

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Critical Review 50
EXWR Examination 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Towl, G.J., & Crighton, D.A. (2010). Forensic Psychology. Chichester: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Bibliography recommended reading

Adler, J. A., & Gray, J.M. (2011). Forensic Psychology: Concepts, debates and practice (2nd ed). New York: Routledge.

Bartlett, A., & McGauley, G. (2010). Forensic Mental Health: Concepts, systems and practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Bull, R., Valentine, T. & Williamson, T. (Eds.) (2009) Handbook of psychology of investigative interviewing: current developments and future directions. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Canter., D & Youngs, D. (2009). Investigative Psychology: Offender profiling and the analysis of criminal action. London: John Wiley & Sons

Gudjonsson, G. H. (2003). The psychology of interrogations and confessions: a handbook. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Kapardis (2010). Psychology and law: a critical introduction (3rd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Memon, A., Vrij, A., & Bull, R. (2003). Psychology and law: truthfulness, accuracy and credibility (2nd edition). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Sherman L.W. and Strang, H. (2007). Restorative justice: The evidence. Smith Institute.

STUDENTS WILL BE DIRECTED TO PRIMARY SOURCES PRIOR TO LECTURES.

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