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The American Psychological Association: Forensic Field

Forensic psychology is a very wide field that includes different areas such as school psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, to name but a few. The professional psychological activity can be carried out within any forensic area that is acknowledged by the American Psychological Association (APA). Forensic psychologists are commonly invited to provide expert consultation and share their observations that might be useful to the judicial system.

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Forensic psychologists offer their services to both clinical and legal populations. The former group is comprised of those individuals who have some mental disorders that might be important to legal decision making. The latter group involves various administrative populations, such as courts and attorneys.

Therefore, the scope of tasks that forensic psychology fulfills is rather broad. One of the examples of the cases that involved the assistance of a forensic psychologist is the recent outbreak of murders and suicides in Los-Angeles. According to Ricardo Torres (2016), one of these crimes was committed by a psychologically unfit man (para. 35). His family tried to draw the attention of the public to the problem, but the reaction was inactive. Therefore, the assistance of a forensic psychologist was required to identify the motives of the suicide as well as the crimes that the man had committed before it.

Hugo Munsterberg performed a significant contribution to the development of different areas of psychology, including the forensic field. It might be assumed that his intention to bring psychology into the courtroom was determined largely by the findings retrieved from his detailed research on eyewitness testimony. Generally speaking, his findings showed that a person tends to misinterpret the evidence during witnessing by his or her hidden motives and interests. Hence, Hugo Munsterberg considered it particularly important that a forensic psychologist participates in juridical decision making.

Speaking about the actions that Hugo Munsterberg took to strengthen the positions of forensic psychology in the court, it is, first and foremost, essential to point out his famous book, On the Witness Stand. This book elucidates the impact of psychological implications on the trials’ outcomes and emphasizes the role of a forensic specialist in the process (Weinberg, 2012). Secondly, however paradoxical it might seem, Munsterberg carried out numerous experiments on his students that enabled him to provide the society with practical insights instead of merely theoretical assumptions.

One of the most interesting roles of a forensic psychologist is the assistance in the jury selection process. There is no doubt that juries have a critical impact on the trial’s outcome; therefore, a forensic specialist that points out the appropriate candidates directly influences the outcomes as well. Moreover, forensic specialists can make the predictions regarding the trial’s outcomes basing on the observations of the juries’ psychological characteristics.

Another interesting and important function of a forensic psychologist is the role of a witness expert. Hence, the specialist is welcomed to apply all the psychological knowledge to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant knowledge. It is also important that a forensic psychologist is capable of determining the motives that led to the data’s corruption. From this perspective, while providing expert opinion regarding the witnessing process, a forensic specialist likewise influences the outcomes of the trial as his or her insights are potentially used for composing the verdict.

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Reference List

Torres, R. (2016). With homicides way up in Las Vegas, community forces get at the roots. Las Vegas Sun. Web.

Weinberg, S. (2012). Seeing is believing. The American Prospect. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "The American Psychological Association: Forensic Field." October 26, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/the-american-psychological-association-forensic-field/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'The American Psychological Association: Forensic Field'. 26 October.

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