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Psychology and Law

Psychology and Law
Research and Practice

Second Edition

December 2018 | 496 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“I like the use of research and citations throughout the text. It is more comprehensive than my current text and does a much better job of presenting the scientific evidence.”
—Kathy McGuire, Western Illinois University  

Written by authors with extensive experience in the field and in the classroom, Psychology and Law: Research and Practice, Second Edition, offers the definitive perspective on the practical application of psychological research to the law. Curt R. Bartol and Anne M. Bartol emphasize the various roles psychologists and other mental health professionals play in criminal and civil legal matters. Topics such as family law, mental health evaluations, police interrogation, jury selection and decision making, involuntary civil commitment, and various civil capacities are included. The authors also emphasize the major contributions psychological research has made to the law and encourage critical analysis through examples of court cases, high-profile current events, and research. This comprehensive book examines complex material in detail and explains it in an easy-to-read way. 

New to the Second Edition:

  • The new edition has been significantly reorganized to more closely align with the progression through the court system.  
  • A new chapter on children, adolescents, and criminal law (Chapter 8) provides students with information on adjudicative competence, comprehension of constitutional rights, and eyewitness identification and courtroom testimony.  
  • New feature boxes include case studies, research projects, and contemporary topics with discussion questions for classroom debate.
  • Additional court cases and statutes have been integrated into chapters to emphasize the important role psychology plays in the legal process. The content is applied to real cases such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and the Dassey confession (comprehending Miranda).
  • Over 300 recent research findings on topics related to psychology and law highlight cutting-edge research studies that help students understand what research does and prompt them to discuss the methodology and results.
  • New pedagogical tables clearly illustrate complex information around ethical issues, APA amicus briefs, strengths and weaknesses of simulation studies, insanity standards within the states, effects experienced by survivors of traumatic incidents, and more.
  • Increased coverage of contemporary issues encourage critical thinking and active learning by promoting discussions around current issues such as telepsychology, neuropsychology, adversarial allegiance, and actuarial instruments used in bail and sentence decision-making.  
About the Authors
CHAPTER 1. Introduction
Goals and Definitions  
Psychology and Law: Three Approaches  
Ways of Knowing and the Methods of Science  
Ethical Guidelines  
Psychology and Law: A Challenging Alliance  
Defining and Classifying Law  
Psychology and Law: Some Differences  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 2. Psychology and the Courts: An Overview
Organization of the Courts  
Specialized Courts: Drug and Mental Health Courts  
The Judicial Process  
The Psychologist as an Expert Witness  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 3. The Criminal Investigative Process
Overview of Profiling  
Paths to Admission of Evidence  
Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation  
Detection of Deception  
The Interrogation Process  
The Psychology of False Confessions  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 4. Eyewitness Evidence
A Brief Word on Research Methodology  
Human Perception and Memory  
Estimator and System Variables  
Eyewitness Estimator Variables  
Eyewitness System Variables  
Preserving the Integrity of the System  
Pretrial Identification Methods  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 5. The Trial Jury
Overview of the Trial Jury  
Jury Research  
Jury Selection  
Jury Size and Decision Rule  
Jury Nullification  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 6. Jury and Judicial Decision Making
The Jury Decision-Making Process  
Influences on Jury Decision Making  
Deciding on Death Sentence: A Special Issue  
Damage Awards in Civil Cases: Another Special Issue  
Judicial Decision Making  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 7. Competencies and Criminal Responsibility
Competency to Stand Trial (CST)  
Competency Assessment Instruments  
Competency Restoration  
Clinical Assessment of Criminal Responsibility  
Special Conditions and Unique Defenses  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 8. Children, Adolescents, and the Criminal Law
Brief History and Overview of the Juvenile Court  
Adolescent Development as It Pertains to the Law  
Adolescent Competence and Culpability  
Juvenile Competency  
Juvenile Interrogation and False Confessions  
Plea Bargaining  
Children as Witnesses  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 9. Psychology and Family Law
The Modern Family Court  
Changes in Family Court in Recent Years  
Divorce and Child Custody  
The Psychological Effects of Divorce and Custodial Arrangements  
The Roles of Mental Health Professionals in Child Custody Cases  
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)  
Contemporary Special Issues in Custody Decision Making  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 10. Involuntary Civil Commitment
A Brief History  
Modern Commitment Statutes  
Civil Commitment Proceedings  
Duty to Warn or Protect  
Research on Dangerousness  
Involuntary Outpatient Commitment  
Voluntary Commitments  
Informed Consent and the Right to Refuse Treatment  
Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 11. Psychology in Civil Litigation
Civil Capacities  
End-of-Life Issues  
Psychology in the Employment Sphere  
Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Suits  
Psychology in the Educational Sphere  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
CHAPTER 12. Psychological Assessment and the Law
Forensic Assessment in Civil Cases  
Psychological Assessment in Criminal Cases  
Forensic Classifications of Assessment and Testing  
Clinical Measures and Assessment Techniques  
Forensically Relevant Instruments (FRIs)  
Forensic Assessment Instruments (FAIs)  
Forensic Evaluations in Delinquency Cases  
Summary and Conclusions  
Key Concepts  
Cases Cited
Author Index
Subject Index

“The text provides a comprehensive overview of clinical and non-clinical aspects of psychology and the legal system. It is easy to read and clearly illustrates how we can apply psychological principles to the criminal justice system.”

Lisa Topp-Manriquez
University of Arkansas Fort Smith

“I like the use of research and citations throughout the text. It is more comprehensive than my current text and does a much better job of presenting the scientific evidence.”

Kathy McGuire
Western Illinois University

“This is a very useful textbook which uses succinct phrases and terminologies to explain the concepts, theories, and cases in a thorough manner. Both my students and I like it very much. With so many case studies in each chapter, students have the opportunities to demonstrate/present their understanding of the relevant concepts and theories, along with the cases.”

Yin-Yin Tan
Michigan Technological University

“… this is a fact filled, comprehensive textbook with illustrations in the form of charts, tables and figures that support the text. The case and research studies further support the narrative in the textbook. Critical thinking questions imbedded in these studies help students to utilize critical thinking skills and demonstrate their knowledge of course information. This is a must use textbook for any instructor teaching about the interface of psychology & the law.”

William A. Holt
MSS–St. Joseph’s University and National Organization of Forensic Social Work

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ISBN: 9781544338873