Psychology and Law: An Empirical Perspective

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9781593855901: Psychology and Law: An Empirical Perspective
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From the initial investigation of a crime to the sentencing of an offender, many everyday practices within the criminal justice system involve complex psychological processes. This volume analyzes the processes involved in such tasks as interviewing witnesses, detecting deception, and eliciting eyewitness reports and identification from adults and children. Factors that influence decision making by jurors and judges are examined as well. Throughout, findings from experimental research are translated into clear recommendations for improving the quality of evidence and the fairness of investigative and legal proceedings. The book also addresses salient methodological questions and identifies key directions for future investigation.

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About the Author:

Neil Brewer, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Flinders University in South Australia, where he teaches an upper-level undergraduate course on experimental psychology and law. The research programs in his laboratory span both cognitive and social psychology, focusing on issues such as confidence-accuracy and decision time-accuracy relationships in eyewitness identification, identification decision processes, eyewitness recall, eyewitness confidence effects on juror judgments, and improving comprehension of judicial instructions. Dr. Brewer's recent publications include articles in Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Law and Human Behavior, and Applied Cognitive Psychology. He is a current member of the editorial boards of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied and Legal and Criminological Psychology.

Kipling D. Williams, PhD, is Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. He is an experimental social psychologist and teaches undergraduate courses on psychology and law. Dr. Williams has conducted research on various topics focusing on psychology and law, including the biasing effects of judges' instructions, eyewitness accuracy and testimony, stealing thunder as a courtroom tactic, homonymic priming, and the effects of crime heinousness on lowering thresholds of beyond a reasonable doubt. He has also conducted research on social loafing and, more recently, on ostracism. His recent publications include articles in Science,  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and Law and Human Behavior. He is also author of Ostracism: The Power of Silence and coeditor of several social psychology books, including The Social Outcast: Ostracism, Social Exclusion, Rejection, and Bullying.

Review:

"A particularly welcome addition to the field. This volume offers the most comprehensive coverage to date of the empirical approach to the study of psychology and law. Brewer and Williams have assembled an international roster of some of the very best researchers, and the resulting book not only provides a complete review of the literature, but also yields perspectives and applications that are important and insightful. While I hesitate to highlight any particular chapter, the Wells chapter on how to influence social policy and Kerr and Bray's vigorous defense of laboratory-based research both deserve special mention. Psychology and Law is a valuable resource for researchers and will most assuredly serve as the state-of-the-art text for both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses."--Irwin A. Horowitz, PhD, Department of Psychology, Oregon State University

"Psychology and Law is at once a lively and spritely read and a very up-to-date review of the major areas of forensic psychology. Despite my usual skepticism about edited volumes, this one is really terrific! It comprises consistently high-quality, rock-solid chapters by accomplished researchers in each area. This volume could be used very effectively in psychology and law courses at both the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels."--Stephen J. Ceci, PhD, Department of Human Development, Cornell University

"This book brings recent developments in psychological science to bear on the criminal justice system. Featuring an impressive array of chapters written by leading experts, it spans such core topics as police interviewing, deception detection, trial tactics, pretrial publicity, jury decision making, sentencing, eyewitness identifications, child witness testimony, and other aspects of law. At a time when it is necessary to separate the science from the junk, this book will serve as an invaluable resource for psychology students, criminal justice students, researchers, and legal professionals."--Saul Kassin, PhD, Department of Psychology, Williams College


"A valuable contribution....An exceptional volume to have and to use as a reference." (PsycCRITIQUES 2007-08-09)

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