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Psychology and Law

Psychology and Law
Research and Practice

Second Edition

December 2018 | 496 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“I like the use of research and citations throughout the text. It is more comprehensive than my current text and does a much better job of presenting the scientific evidence.”
—Kathy McGuire, Western Illinois University  

Written by authors with extensive experience in the field and in the classroom, Psychology and Law: Research and Practice, Second Edition, offers the definitive perspective on the practical application of psychological research to the law. Curt R. Bartol and Anne M. Bartol emphasize the various roles psychologists and other mental health professionals play in criminal and civil legal matters. Topics such as family law, mental health evaluations, police interrogation, jury selection and decision making, involuntary civil commitment, and various civil capacities are included. The authors also emphasize the major contributions psychological research has made to the law and encourage critical analysis through examples of court cases, high-profile current events, and research. This comprehensive book examines complex material in detail and explains it in an easy-to-read way. 

New to the Second Edition:

  • The new edition has been significantly reorganized to more closely align with the progression through the court system.  
  • A new chapter on children, adolescents, and criminal law (Chapter 8) provides students with information on adjudicative competence, comprehension of constitutional rights, and eyewitness identification and courtroom testimony.  
  • New feature boxes include case studies, research projects, and contemporary topics with discussion questions for classroom debate.
  • Additional court cases and statutes have been integrated into chapters to emphasize the important role psychology plays in the legal process. The content is applied to real cases such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and the Dassey confession (comprehending Miranda).
  • Over 300 recent research findings on topics related to psychology and law highlight cutting-edge research studies that help students understand what research does and prompt them to discuss the methodology and results.
  • New pedagogical tables clearly illustrate complex information around ethical issues, APA amicus briefs, strengths and weaknesses of simulation studies, insanity standards within the states, effects experienced by survivors of traumatic incidents, and more.
  • Increased coverage of contemporary issues encourage critical thinking and active learning by promoting discussions around current issues such as telepsychology, neuropsychology, adversarial allegiance, and actuarial instruments used in bail and sentence decision-making.  
About the Authors
CHAPTER 1. Introduction
Goals and Definitions

Psychology and Law: Three Approaches

Ways of Knowing and the Methods of Science

Ethical Guidelines

Psychology and Law: A Challenging Alliance

Defining and Classifying Law

Psychology and Law: Some Differences

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 2. Psychology and the Courts: An Overview
Organization of the Courts

Specialized Courts: Drug and Mental Health Courts

The Judicial Process

The Psychologist as an Expert Witness

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 3. The Criminal Investigative Process
Overview of Profiling

Paths to Admission of Evidence

Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation

Detection of Deception

The Interrogation Process

The Psychology of False Confessions

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 4. Eyewitness Evidence
A Brief Word on Research Methodology

Human Perception and Memory

Estimator and System Variables

Eyewitness Estimator Variables

Eyewitness System Variables

Preserving the Integrity of the System

Pretrial Identification Methods

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 5. The Trial Jury
Overview of the Trial Jury

Jury Research

Jury Selection

Jury Size and Decision Rule

Jury Nullification

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 6. Jury and Judicial Decision Making
The Jury Decision-Making Process

Influences on Jury Decision Making

Deciding on Death Sentence: A Special Issue

Damage Awards in Civil Cases: Another Special Issue

Judicial Decision Making

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 7. Competencies and Criminal Responsibility
Competency to Stand Trial (CST)

Competency Assessment Instruments

Competency Restoration


Clinical Assessment of Criminal Responsibility

Special Conditions and Unique Defenses

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 8. Children, Adolescents, and the Criminal Law
Brief History and Overview of the Juvenile Court

Adolescent Development as It Pertains to the Law

Adolescent Competence and Culpability

Juvenile Competency

Juvenile Interrogation and False Confessions

Plea Bargaining

Children as Witnesses

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 9. Psychology and Family Law
The Modern Family Court

Changes in Family Court in Recent Years

Divorce and Child Custody

The Psychological Effects of Divorce and Custodial Arrangements

The Roles of Mental Health Professionals in Child Custody Cases

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Contemporary Special Issues in Custody Decision Making

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 10. Involuntary Civil Commitment
A Brief History

Modern Commitment Statutes

Civil Commitment Proceedings

Duty to Warn or Protect

Research on Dangerousness

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment

Voluntary Commitments

Informed Consent and the Right to Refuse Treatment

Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 11. Psychology in Civil Litigation
Civil Capacities

End-of-Life Issues

Psychology in the Employment Sphere

Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Suits

Psychology in the Educational Sphere

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

CHAPTER 12. Psychological Assessment and the Law
Forensic Assessment in Civil Cases

Psychological Assessment in Criminal Cases

Forensic Classifications of Assessment and Testing

Clinical Measures and Assessment Techniques

Forensically Relevant Instruments (FRIs)

Forensic Assessment Instruments (FAIs)

Forensic Evaluations in Delinquency Cases

Summary and Conclusions

Key Concepts

Cases Cited
Author Index
Subject Index

“The text provides a comprehensive overview of clinical and non-clinical aspects of psychology and the legal system. It is easy to read and clearly illustrates how we can apply psychological principles to the criminal justice system.”

Lisa Topp-Manriquez
University of Arkansas Fort Smith

“I like the use of research and citations throughout the text. It is more comprehensive than my current text and does a much better job of presenting the scientific evidence.”

Kathy McGuire
Western Illinois University

“This is a very useful textbook which uses succinct phrases and terminologies to explain the concepts, theories, and cases in a thorough manner. Both my students and I like it very much. With so many case studies in each chapter, students have the opportunities to demonstrate/present their understanding of the relevant concepts and theories, along with the cases.”

Yin-Yin Tan
Michigan Technological University

“… this is a fact filled, comprehensive textbook with illustrations in the form of charts, tables and figures that support the text. The case and research studies further support the narrative in the textbook. Critical thinking questions imbedded in these studies help students to utilize critical thinking skills and demonstrate their knowledge of course information. This is a must use textbook for any instructor teaching about the interface of psychology & the law.”

William A. Holt
MSS–St. Joseph’s University and National Organization of Forensic Social Work

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ISBN: 9781544338873