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Thought-Provoking Forensic Psychology Topics for Your Essay

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.

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A Brief History of Forensic Psychology

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.

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Why Forensic Psychology is Important for Modern Society

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!

Here are a few ways forensic psychologists can use their skills and improve the criminal justice system:
  1. Assessing the mental state of criminals. Often people commit crimes under pressure or when they are not in the right state of mind. Such offenders have the right to reduced charges after a forensic assessment proves their unstable state.
  2. Providing additional evidence. A forensic psychologist’s statement can often influence the jury’s decision because it provides additional insight into the offender’s behavior, motivations, and intentions.
  3. Deciding the type of treatment in prison. Some criminals with mental health problems are prone to self-harm or can cause harm to others. Forensic psychologists give advice on the appropriate location and sentencing to assure the offender’s and other prisoners’ safety.

Forensic Psychology vs Criminal Psychology: Spot the Difference

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.

Forensic Psychology

  • Evaluates the aftermath of a crime
  • Researches the strategies to prevent crimes and the perpetrators’ rehabilitation

Criminal Psychology

  • Aims to understand a perpetrator’s mindset before a crime is committed
  • Focuses on “why?” of committed crimes

Forensic Psychologists

  • Mainly work within the justice system to provide expert testimony in court
  • Work on offenders’ rehabilitation, contribute their advice in law-related settings, and determine if suspects can stand trial
  • Don’t deal directly with crime solving

Criminal Psychologists

  • Mainly works with police and law enforcement agencies
  • Help police with perpetrators’ profiles, so they can narrow their search
  • Assess perpetrator behavior at crime scenes and in court

If you’re still struggling to grasp the difference between criminology and forensic psychology, let’s see what their day-to-day responsibilities are:

Forensic Psychologist

  • Evaluates perpetrators’ state of mind and if they are fit to stand trial
  • Makes sentencing recommendations based on the risk of repeat offense
  • Determines witness credibility
  • Offers advice to the officers of the law and lawyers on mental illness and criminal psychology
  • Works with at-risk communities to prevent crime
  • Provides impartial evaluations for domestic disputes
  • Provides therapy to victims

Criminal Psychologist

  • Assesses and establishes perpetrators’ reason for offence
  • Determines the psychological motive behind the offense
  • Evaluates witnesses, victims, and crime scenes
  • Interviews perpetrators to find the reasons behind their actions
  • Profiles perpetrators
  • Analyses offender’s state of mind before and after committing a crime
  • Provides insight for juries to better understand the mindset of a criminal

Fascinating Forensic Psychology Research Topics

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!

  1. Top Factors That Contribute to Eyewitness Testimony Bias
  2. Ethical Implications of Using Children as Eyewitnesses
  3. Therapeutic Vs Forensic Assessment
  4. Clichés Vs Reality of Forensic Psychology
  5. Criminal and Forensic Psychology: Main Distinctions
  6. Mentally Ill Should Not Be Subjected to Death Penalty
  7. Future Consequences of Having a Juvenile Offence
  8. Overcoming Police Bias Influenced by Forensic Psychology
  9. Ethics of Psychological Assessment
  10. Use of Forensic Psychology in Correctional Setting
  11. Important Historical Figures in Forensic Psychology
  12. Ethical Biases of Forensic Psychology in Juvenile Justice
  13. Social Media Play an Increasingly Major Role in Forensic Psychology
  14. Forensic Psychology Stereotypes Difference Among Countries
  15. Psychotherapy Effectiveness for Incarcerated Individuals
  1. Influence of Jury Selection on The Justice Process
  2. Rehabilitation and Repeat Offence Rate in Convicted Perpetrators
  3. Stereotype and Bias in African American Hand Police Relationship
  4. How Media Portrayal of Violence Facilitates Crime
  5. Ethnic Difference Implication in Forensic Assessment
  6. Cause of School Shootings in the US
  7. Possible Solutions to Effective Internet Policing
  8. Video Game Effects on The Crime Rate
  9. Likelihood of Special Education Students’ Incarceration
  10. Unstable Upbringing Puts Children at Risk of Committing Crime
  11. Value of a Mentally Ill Eyewitness Testimony
  12. Maximum Sentence Implications for The Repeated Offence Risk
  13. Eyewitness Self-Assuredness Role in Their Testimony
  14. Forensic Psychology’s Ability to Predict Future Criminality
  15. Connection of a Mental Health Illness and Criminal Proclivity

Engaging Forensic Psychology Essay Topics to Choose From

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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  1. Why Does Society Overlook Male Victims of Domestic Abuse?
  2. How Does Forensic Psychology Help Us Understand Criminal Mind
  3. What Role Does Upbringing Play in Forming Serial Killers?
  4. Rules ff Conduct Forensic Psychologists Need to Follow in Court
  5. Pros and Cons of Choosing Forensic Psychology as a Career
  6. Why Are Forensic Psychologists More Likely to Gain the Trust of Offenders?
  7. The Role of Forensic Assessment in Jury Trials
  8. The Significance of Forensic Psychologist’s Role in Child Custody Disputes
  9. What Is the Link Between Schizophrenia and A Criminal Tendency?
  10. Reliability of Forensic Tools When Assessing Witnesses
  11. Gender-Specific Criteria in Female Offenders’ Assessment
  12. Challenges with Assessing Witnesses with Autism
  13. Does Forensic Psychology Effectively Promote Individual Human Rights?
  14. Forensic Psychology Model for Diagnosing PTSD
  15. False Media Depiction of Offenders with Mental Health and Its Influence on Crime Rate
  16. Ethnical Biases in Forensic Psychology Field
  17. Strategies to Detect Deception During Interrogation
  18. What is the Role the Forensic Psychologists Play in Police Investigations?
  19. Models for Assessing a Mentally Challenged Eyewitness
  20. Main Causes of Eyewitness Testimony Distortion

Stuck with Psychology Essay Writing? Asking for Help Has Never been Easier!

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