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What is the role of forensic psychologist?
A forensic psychologist does a number of things:
Basic and applied research: mainly on the legal matters and/ or related issues. In this, a forensic
psychologist studies: the legal practice and the legal matters, attitudes and behavior of criminals,
police officers, eyewitness testimony, jury behavior, memory, perception, recall etc.
Training/ education to the people in the legal system such as police officers, judges, lawyers
(rarely) correctional staff etc
Clinical applications (these are the activities that are most well-known).
Judging and evaluating various behaviors: insanity, various competencies, civil commitment,
custody, claims of psychological injury, and psychological fitness for law enforcement work.
Providing counseling and treatment: to offenders, inmates, police officers and their families,
and the victims.
Providing consultation to law enforcement agencies: for crisis intervention, hostage
negotiation, critical incident debriefing, autopsy, psychological profiling
Providing expertise to courts such as expert testimony, amices curiae briefs, alternative dispute
Helping the lawyers: Giving suggestions about how to evaluate the clients, preparation of
witnesses, jury selection.
Origin and History of Forensic Psychology
• Forensic comes from the Latin word “forum”.
• Forums were the public places or gatherings in the Roman city- states where the debates took
places on the judicial processes.
• Its history dates back to at least the turn of the 20th century.
• Hugo Munsterberg is regarded as the first forensic psychologist.