Spring 2008

SCIE 622
Psychology and the Law

Carney,Sarah Kristin

01/28/2008 - 05/10/2008
Thursday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 421

As we enter the 21st century, topics that fall under the heading of "forensic psychology" have attracted a great deal of popular attention. Issues such as eye witness testimony, false confession, DNA exoneration, profiling, interrogation techniques, jury selection, domestic violence and child sexual abuse have captured print headlines, become story lines in crime dramas, and spawned countless television news magazine stories. Forensic psychology has become both a form of clinical practice and a legitimate area of social scientific research. This course will provide students with a close look at some of the most pressing topics in the field today, including some of the areas noted above as well as evaluating competency, the insanity defense, jury decision-making, the role of the psychologist as expert witness, the psychology of victims, children as defendants, women offenders, cultural representations of crime, punishment/prisons, and current research and policy regarding the use of the death penalty in Connecticut.

Through reading of psychological research, legal case studies, and cultural products such as films/documentaries, students will learn how psychological research can illuminate and enhance our understanding of the judicial process itself, and how psychological research can be used/is being used to open up our understandings about social justice for all.

Participation in the discussion of class readings is a critical part of this seminar. Students are responsible for the assigned readings, for bi-weekly "reaction" papers that comment on the class readings, for taking part in class discussions, and for presenting an oral summary of their semester topic paper. This 10-15 page final paper on the topic/issue/research question of the student's choice is due at the end of the term.

This course may count, by petition, within the Social Sciences concentration.

A syllabus for this course is available at:

Sarah Carney (B.A. Connecticut College, M.A. Wesleyan University, Ph.D. City University of New York, Graduate Center) is visiting assistant professor of psychology. Click here for more information about Sarah Carney.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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