The Mind of the Criminal: The Role of Developmental Social Cognition in Criminal Defense Law

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9780521513760: The Mind of the Criminal: The Role of Developmental Social Cognition in Criminal Defense Law

In American criminal law, if a defendant demonstrates that they lack certain psychological capabilities, they may be excused of blame and punishment for wrongdoing. However, criminal defense law often fails to consider the developmental science of individual differences in ability and functioning that may inform jurisprudential issues of rational capacity and responsibility in criminal law. This book discusses the excusing nature of a range of both traditional and nontraditional criminal law defenses and questions the structure of these defenses based on scientific findings from social and developmental psychology. This book explores how research on individual differences in the development of social perception, judgment, and decision making explain why some youths and adults develop psychological tendencies that favor criminal behavior, and considers how developmental science can guide the understanding of criminal excuses and affirmative defense law.

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Book Description:

This book discusses the excusing nature of both traditional and nontraditional criminal law defenses and questions the structure of these defenses based on scientific findings from social and developmental psychology. It explores how research on individual differences in the development of social perception, judgment, and decision making explain why some youths and adults develop psychological tendencies that favor criminal behavior, and considers how developmental science can guide the understanding of criminal excuses and affirmative defense law.

About the Author:

Reid Griffith Fontaine is Assistant Professor at the Florida State University College of Law. Professor Fontaine has published numerous peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific articles on the development of social cognitive processing and antisocial conduct, which have appeared in many of the top behavioral science journals, including: Aggressive Behavior, Child Development, Development and Psychopathology, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. His scholarly writings on intersections of developmental and social cognitive psychology and public policy, jurisprudence, and law have been published in leading refereed interdisciplinary journals, such as New Criminal Law Review, the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. In addition, two symposia on his scholarly writings on affirmative defense law have been published in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform and the American Criminal Law Review. Professor Fontaine received a Fulbright Senior Scholar award for the 2009-10 academic year, which funded his visiting appointment at the University of Rome.

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