Forensic Psychology: An Introduction

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Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind (The Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus, 2009). The subfield of psychology that I am interested in investigating further is forensic psychology. The reason I am interested in this subfield is because it applies to all areas of the law and the management of crime and criminals, through professional practices, based on the scientific and clinical study of human behavior patterns and experience (Canter, 2010).

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Since psychology is the scientific study of the human mind, forensic psychology ties into the larger field by narrowing the study to behavior patterns that, for one, allow law enforcement and other investigative agencies to narrow down a list of criminal suspects. Psychology became a recognized field of study in Germany in the mid nineteenth century amid much controversy (Fuchs & Milar, 2003, p.1). Watson (2005) suggested that psychology move away from being defined as a science of the mind and consciousness and redefine itself as a science of behavior.

The American Psychology-Law Society was founded in 1969 and when a group of members expressed the desire to create a means for certifying clinical forensic psychologists, they garnered financial support from the organization for development of a separate organization, the American Board of Forensic Psychology (Brigham & Grisso, 2005, p.398). Forensic psychology is used to help law enforcement agencies determine if a crime has been committed; if so, what crime; create the criminal profile; get an affidavit for arrest warrant; and to finally arrest the subject (Boylan, 2011). I believe that the model put forth by Boylan can be modified by political scientists to help Congress pass legislation that would make the Electoral College more effective.

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