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When it comes to forensic psychologists in the modern media, they are often portrayed as “criminal profilers” in many popular television series, for example. In reality, the forensic psychology field offers a vast variety of jobs that are not limited to tracking down serial killers, using the puzzling clues they leave behind. So, if you expect that forensic psychology topics only relate to the thrilling clichés offered by the silver screen, you’re in for a ride!
Forensic psychology does use behavioral research in the courtroom, but it also plays an essential role in the field of criminal justice. You might have noticed that in the movies forensic psychologists interact only with investigators. Actually, their knowledge and services are often needed by judges, lawyers, police officers, correctional institutions, the military, and the private sector. Forensic psychologists often need to use both their knowledge of the law and psychology in order to help punish or even prevent crimes. Their responsibilities often focus on trying to comprehend what type of people commit crimes, why that certain type of person tends to commit crimes, and how to prevent them from doing so. In case you are wondering “what can I write my psychology research paper on?”, exploring the surprising difference between fictional depictions and what these psychologists do in real life can make a fascinating read.
Searching for forensic psychology topics that might interest you, but don’t know where to start? Knowing a bit of the history of the field might help you to get an idea! Unfortunately, we can’t pinpoint the exact day when the field was founded. However, there are indications that psychologists started to be interested in the legal system in the late 1800s.
In 1896, Albert von Schrenck-Notzing testified in a German court about human memory and how jurors can be biased based on the publicity of a trial. This argument stays extremely relevant today, with lawyers often requesting a change of venue for their cases. The first time psychologists were invited to court on a regular basis was in 1899, when the juvenile court was established in Chicago. The reason for such a step was the argument that juvenile offenders differ from adult ones and require different handling of their cases. During the early 20th century, psychologists began expanding their work with the legal system with the first psychologist to work in the prison hired in 1913.
It wasn’t until 1969 that the American Psychology-Law Society was established, bringing together psychologists and attorneys, as well as other professionals interested in the relationship between law and psychology. Finally, 1978 saw the creation of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology as a gesture of recognizing the contributions of professionals to the field.
In case you want to write about famous cases, there are many forensic psychology topics for paper in that field! Just check Dr. William Stern’s 1901 mock crime that is still relevant to our date when it comes to assessing eyewitness testimony. Or consider the invention of the lie detector by a famous psychologist who also created a comic book character you most probably know.
Sadly, forensic psychology is often a misunderstood branch of forensic mental health. The depictions you know from various television shows might lead you to believe that it’s all about getting inside people’s minds. In truth, a forensic psychologist’s mission is to provide support for people with mental health issues who have already entered the criminal justice system or are at risk of doing so. With modern incarceration rates, one cannot underestimate the importance of forensic psychology today. If you’re looking for impactful topics in forensic psychology, this will make a great prompt!
Given that both forensic and criminal psychologists work closely with the legal system, their titles are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect. While both are subfields of psychology that deal with the justice system, crime, and law, there is a considerable difference between criminal psychology and forensic psychology. To make sure you don’t steer in the wrong direction when looking for forensic psychology topics, we’ve made this comparative list for you.
If you’re still struggling to grasp the difference between criminology and forensic psychology, let’s see what their day-to-day responsibilities are:
Looking for interesting forensic psychology topics? We understand that choosing a topic that fascinates you personally is a great first step in writing a superb research paper. Check our list and see if any of the hot topics in forensic psychology grabs your attention!
Have a psychology assignment due and still no idea what forensic psychology topics you can choose from? In that case, our list might just prove useful! Choose the one that interests you the most and lay the foundation for your top-notch essay.
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