LAW7922 - Law and Psychology

LAW7922 - Law and Psychology

Course Number: 








An important goal of the legal system is to guide, constrain, and react to human behavior. In doing so the law makes numerous assumptions about people's thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and conduct; assumptions that may or may not be true. Psychology, as the empirical study of human thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and conduct, is in an important position to evaluate such assumptions. Over the past several decades, increasing numbers of social scientists have devoted substantial attention to the systematic study of law and legal institutions. At the same time, social scientists themselves are testifying as experts in increasing numbers, and encouraging lawyers and judges at both the trial and appellate levels to rely on research evidence in adjudicating court cases. This course will provide a survey of the research of psychology as it relates to the legal process. Among the topics covered will be jury decision-making, the insanity defense, negotiation, race, trial consulting, obscenity and pornography, and capital punishment. Each topic will be considered from both a theoretical and an applied perspective.