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forensic psychology definitions

Britannica Concise

Application of psychology to legal issues, often for the purpose of offering expert testimony in a courtroom. In civil and criminal cases, forensic psychologists may evaluate individuals to determine such questions as competency to stand trial, relationship of a mental disorder to an accident or crime, and potential for future dangerous behavior. In addition to conducting interviews and administering psychological tests, they usually gather a forensic history that includes such information as hospital records, police reports, and statements of witnesses. They are also expected to have a grasp of relevant legal questions. In a child-custody case, a psychologist may be asked to evaluate home environments, parents, and the character of the child in order to recommend a custody decision in the child's best interests.



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