Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Forensic Psychology

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_12
Forensic psychology is psychology applied to the law, derived from the Latin “forensis” – pertaining to a forum, or court of law. This specialty is currently in transition between two very different definitions.
  1. 1.

    The traditional, broad definition of forensic psychology: “the science and practice of psychology applied to legal issues,” including all aspects of law – criminal law (offenders, victims, witnesses, police, attorneys, courts, corrections), civil law (competence, disability, personal injury), family law (child custody, guardianship), and other branches.

  2. 2.

    The more modern and narrow definition of forensic psychology is simply that part of clinical psychology focused on the mentality and behavior of individuals in the legal system. More formally, the 1991 Specialty Guidelines define this as: “all forms of professional psychological conduct when acting, with definable knowledge, as a psychological expert on explicitly psycholegal issues, in direct assistance to courts,...

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  1. Committee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists. (1991). Specialty guidelines for forensic psychologists. Law and Human Behavior, 15, 655–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  6. Rieber, R. W. (Ed.). (1987). Advances in forensic psychology and psychiatry (Vol. 2). Norwood: Albex.Google Scholar
  7. Wright, F., Bahn, C., & Rieber, R. W. (Eds.). (1980). Forensic psychology and psychiatry (Special issue). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 347, 1–364.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentFordham UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Forensic Psychologist (Private Practice)New YorkUSA