Legal Psychology in a Nutshell
Full course description
This course will provide psychology (but also law) students with a brief introduction to topics typical of the Legal Psychology field. But what is legal psychology anyway? The psychology of the law is a part of applied psychology that deals with investigating human functioning related to the whole legal system. More precisely, legal psychology focuses on functions such as perception, memory and decision-making. This is important because human law is specifically designed to be of influence on human behaviour. Therefore, the task of a legal psychologist is twofold: (1) to study how law influences human behaviour and (2) to study human behaviour under the influence of law.
For example, students will learn about genetic influence on aggression, sleep disorders that are related to violence and assessment of responsibility; Deceptive behavior of children in court; criminal profiling; biases influencing legal decision making; Radicalization and terrorism (theories, cognitive distortions, prevention of radicalization).
During each tutorial, research articles and case material descriptions related to the aforementioned themes will be studied and discussed.
At the end of this course students
- are able to understand and explain the terminology of legal psychology;
- have a general understanding of legal psychological topics;
- can contrast and criticize current issues and controversies in legal psychological research;
- are able to understand, explain and criticize methods and the experimental work done in this discipline;
- develop and improve their ability to examine the relation between the discussed topics, and articulate how ideas connect to, or contrast with one another.