Psychology of Forensic Analysis and Investigation (C8553P)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

Your studies in this module are concerned with the application of psychological theory and research to criminological and forensic contexts.

In this module, you explore how psychology can be used to understand and enhance aspects of criminological and security investigations, such as eyewitness testimony and the identification of suspects.

In addition, you learn to evaluate connections between crime and mental illness.

The kinds of specific questions you encounter during the module include:

  • what is wrong with current face recall systems such as Photofit, Identikit and E-fit?
  • how reliable are eyewitnesses’ accounts of what they have seen, and their identifications of faces they have encountered?
  • why is that faces of other races are more likely to be misidentified in police lineups?
  • can people be recognised reliably from ID cards, passports and CCTV?
  • do children make reliable witnesses, or is their testimony not to be trusted?
  • how is memory affected by stress, and why do some individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder?
  • how can deception be detected by investigators?
  • what kinds of biases and errors affect investigators of serious crimes?
  • what is the relationship between mental illness and crime?
  • to what extent does the media portrayal of 'psychopathy' have any basis in psychological research?

Teaching

100%: Lecture

Assessment

30%: Coursework (Group submission (written))
70%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 22 hours of contact time and 128 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.