It’s pretty obvious how that the rule of law is one of the main things in which society depends on to keep order. Part of the rule of law is the courtrooms, which work to uphold the law within our institutions. Throughout history, there have been many courtroom blunders, and this has been primarily due to the fact that our methods have not been as great today. Back then, court rooms typically just went by scientific evidence that didn’t have great methodology and great accuracies. After the Scientific Revolution, we really saw the level of court systems improve. And when looking at the court system through United States history, we saw it improve when the courts started to better accept scientific research and methodology.

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Psych in the Courtroom

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Now, we have been looking at a relatively new science, psychology, and have been trying to implement it in the court system in order to provide more evidence that is scientifically driven and lowers the chances of a court to come out with an incorrect ruling because the evidence wasn’t good enough. Like I said before, psychology is an extremely young science and it has really only been around for a century and a half, which is rather short when looking at other disciplines in the sciences. One of the most interesting things about psychology is that it’s an extremely broad discipline with many different fields such as neuroscience, social psychology, criminal psychology, and more. Therefore, psychology has increasingly been finding its role in the courts increase as defenses and prosecutors look for different ways to gain the upper hand in a court of law. This paper will look into psychology’s role in the courtroom by first identifying which fields of psychology are most used and what he future may look like when it comes to psychology in the court.

Now there are many different disciplines of psychology that are used within the courtroom. First, there is forensic psychology, which is basically a type of psychology that looks to mesh together psychological evaluations and criminal cases (Dixon, n.d.). In many true crime shows, we see many police investigators interrogating the suspect. They are using criminal psychology, or forensic psychology, in order to evaluate and screen the suspect. Police interrogations weren’t always like this, as they were often more physical and the interrogations consisted of police beating the suspect up until he or she admitted to the crime. Of course people found that this technique was unlawful, so the court system eventually banned it and detectives embraced more psychological interrogation techniques. Oftentimes, these diagnoses and interrogations are recorded and presented in a court of law.

This is probably the most common way that the court utilizes psychology because these interrogations are vital to the case. While many people believe that detectives simply try to ask the suspects tough questions, forensic psychology is so much more detailed than this. For one, detectives have to undergo severe training where they learn how to ask pressing questions, look for signs of facial recognition in the suspect, and are also taught how the brain works in these instances and how many criminals behave. Another type of psychology that is widely used in the court system is clinical psychology. Oftentimes, the judge wants to hear expert testimony regarding several issues such as criminals and the mentally ill. It’s always good to insert some expert with extensive training and knowledge into a court of law, so this is why clinical psychologists are used. In many defense cases, the defense often claims that the defendant is mentally ill in order to lessen the punishment. Clinical psychologists are often asked to give an expert testimony regarding whether or not he or she believes the case the defense is making (“Clinical psychology,” n.d.).

And family psychologists are often used in court of laws in order to deal with family issues such as custody hearings and divorce cases. Family psychologists can also be inserted into a court of law concerning domestic abuse or abuse of children, and they are often assets to the jury whom may not be an expert with these very complex things. I know someone who actually had to go through a rather brutal divorce hearing; this person was the child of the couple being divorced. He told me how one of the witnesses was a family psychologist who gave the facts regarding divorce, which I assume was used to help the jury rule and reach a decision regarding the decision. Of course, it’s always tough for the children going through divorce cases, so sometimes the court can order them be treated by a psychologist to make sure they are holding up.

Looking into the future, I believe that there is still yet to be an advancement in the field of psychology. I believe that he more technological fields, such as neuroscience, can play a huge role in criminal cases where a lot of forensic evidence is gathered up by the prosecution in order to lay out the facts and evidence against the defense. As society moves into a more technology driven place, I believe that the courts will eventually want to see more evidence produced by technology. It is true that by using technology, this limits the chances of human error which can result in an unfair or wrong ruling. I think that the future is bright for the courts since they will surely benefit from the increased use of psychologically driven technologies.