When you hear about forensic psychology, what comes to mind? Do you envision mysterious sleuths who solve crimes? Do you think of a criminal profiler who gets inside the mind of a killer in order to predict his next move? While there are probably a few forensic psychologists out there who fit these stereotypes, these highly-glamorized ideas are not the norm. So what exactly is forensic psychology and what do forensic psychologists do?
According to the American Board of Forensic Psychology,
"Forensic psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. The word "forensic" comes from the Latin word "forensis," meaning "of the forum," where the law courts of ancient Rome were held. Today forensic refers to the application of scientific principles and practices to the adversary process where specially knowledgeable scientists play a role."
Forensic psychology is a specialized branch that deals with issues that connect psychology and the law. With numerous portrayals in books, movies and television programs, interest in forensic psychology has grown significantly in recent years. Increasing numbers of graduate programs offer dual degrees in psychology and law, with others providing specialization in forensic psychology.
While forensic psychology is considered a rather new specialty area within psychology, the field dates back to the earliest days in psychology's history.
Learn more about forensic psychology, including the subjects it focuses on, its history and career options.
If you enjoy learning about the science of human behavior and the law, then forensic psychology will probably interest you quite a bit. The field has witnessed dramatic growth in recent years, as more and more students become interested in this applied branch of psychology. However, forensic psychology is about much more than the glamorized views portrayed in television shows, movies and books. Learn more about what forensic psychology is and isn't in this brief overview.
Forensic psychology is a relatively new specialty area. In fact, forensic psychology was just officially recognized as a specialty area by the American Psychological Association in 2001. Despite this, the field of forensic psychology has roots that date back to Wilhelm Wundt's first psychology lab in Leipzig, German. Learn more about some of the major events and key figures in the history of forensic psychology.
While forensic psychology may not be all about solving crimes and getting inside the mind's of criminals, there are still plenty of challenges for forensic psychologists. There are a wide range of job options within the field of forensic psychology. For example, some forensic psychologists work directly in the criminal justice system to assess, evaluate and treat individuals who have committed crimes or have been the victims of crimes. Other forensic psychologists investigate cases of alleged child abuse, work with child witnesses, evaluate individuals involved in child custody disputes and assess mental competency. Learn more about some of the exciting career options in forensic psychology.
Should You Become a Forensic Psychologist? - Take this brief quiz to learn if a career in forensic psychology is right for you.