Forensic Psychology

Module code: C8560
Level 6
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Coursework, Essay

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?

Module learning outcomes

  • Determine coherent/detailed knowledge of contemporary psychological theories and research related to forensic analysis and investigation
  • Understand and critically evaluate findings from forensic research that address contemporary issues surrounding the criminal justice system