Forensic Psychology is not a new topic like many forensic methods and techniques. Forensic Psychology is the application of psychology in the aid of legal investigation. Forensic psychology looks into the vast psychological perspectives and applies them to legal investigations including issues such as public policies, new laws, competency, and also the mental state of a defendant.
The forensic psychology would be expected to treat mentally ill offenders, consulting with attorneys, analysing a criminal's mind and intent, and practicing within civil arena.
Though Forensic Psychology can be a fulfilling well paid career, there are pros and cons that must be taken into account before considering a career in the field. The job can be incredibly fulfilling to know that you are making a difference in a person's life, even when working with offenders in prison.
There are also all kinds of opportunities available in this particular field of forensics, which could lead to all kinds of new and exciting careers. However there are cons when choosing to work in forensic psychology. Just getting into the position can be a struggle, as after the years spent studying psychology and forensics, it could be difficult to actually find a job.
Once you are working in this field there are dangers such as injury risks, as it can be a risk working with criminals with violent tendencies. There are also troubling factors such as pay, which does not always compensate for the hours of work put in, and this can also be very stressful.
People often become interested in Forensic Psychology because of television programmes or media portrayals, which can often be inaccurate or very misleading. Those seeking a career in this field are sometimes disappointed to find that it is not what they expected.
Also Forensic Psychology is often mistaken for forensic science. Even though they are somewhat related, the subjects are quite different. As mistakes are often made, especially by students eager to study Forensic Psychology after watching some related television show, it is highly recommended that fuller research is done beforehand.
Mental health and psychology professionals have contributed a great deal to the legal understanding of issues such as the reliability of eyewitness testimony, responsibility for criminal behavior, and the process of decision making in juries. These professionals include those with a medical degree, such as psychiatrists, neurologists, and neuropsychologists, as well as individuals without a medical degree, such as psychologists.
Mental health professionals are frequently consulted in civil and criminal cases to help determine an individual's state of mind with regard to a crime, the validity of testimony before a court, or an individual's competence to stand trial or make a legal decision. Their input may also be vital to legal procedures for deciding whether to commit a person to an institution because of mental illness, or to allow a person to leave an institution for those who are mentally ill.
Forensic neuropsychology is a specialized area of forensic medicine that applies the functioning of the nervous system and brain to legal issues involving mind and behavior. Equipped with an improved understanding of how the brain works and influences behavior, neuropsychologists have increasingly been asked to provide testimony to courts attempting to determine whether a criminal act is a result of a nervous system dysfunction.
They also testify as to the reliability of witness testimony given by victims of crime, the competency of individuals to stand trial, the likelihood that a condition of mental retardation or brain injury predisposed an individual to commit a crime, the possibility that an individual has verifiable memory loss, and various aspects of dementias and other brain disorders caused by AIDS, head injuries, and drugs, alcohol, and other chemicals.
In civil cases, the work of neuropsychologists has been used to determine whether a defendant's wrongdoing caused a plaintiff's injury. In family courts, neuropsychologists assess brain damage in children who have been physically abused.