Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Psychology

Criminal and forensic psychologists are licensed clinical psychologists that have trained and specialized in the psychological analysis of crime, criminals and the law. They work closely with the legal representatives to help understand a variety of factors involved in cases, from trying to determine why certain criminal behaviour occur to studying crimes and crime scenes to ascertain the profiles of criminals.

If you’re interested in learning more about what criminal psychology and forensic psychology is all about, then you’re in luck. This article will provide you a complete introduction to forensic and criminal psychology.

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What is Criminal Psychology?

A criminal psychologist focuses on understanding the motivation, background, and emotions of the person who committed the crime. They evaluate crimes and criminals exclusively.

Criminal psychologists dwell in the factors that led the person to actually commit the crime, identifying patterns in criminal behavior. These patterns can help them profile criminals accordingly and predict habits, behaviours and characteristics that can help law enforcement predict crime and apprehend a criminal.

If you want to pursue this career, you’ll spend most of the time listening to people and analysing data. You’ll interview criminals, their relatives, friends, and neighbours. Criminal psychologists extensively study crime scenes for details that can help them profile the criminals involved, including the location, appearance and exact setting of the crime scene, etc.

Criminal psychologists are hired mostly for case study and research purposes. It is closely related to criminal anthropology.

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What is Forensic Psychology?

On the other hand, a forensic psychologist works with all kinds of court cases, including civil offenses. Their job is to evaluate the aftermath of criminal and civil incidences and the litigants in a variety of ways.

This role works closely with law enforcement and the courts on cases that have recently occurred. A forensic psychologist evaluates a litigants’ mental capacities and rational abilities. It is their job to determine whether civil or criminal litigants can reason, comprehend and communicate to determine if they’re fit to participate in trials.

Forensic psychologists conduct pre and post trial-as psychological evaluations of defendants in criminal cases. They also research and are asked to advise on improvements to the crime prevention system as well as the criminal justice system. Forensic psychologists also help victims and their families with their services.

Forensic psychologists often testify in court since the defendants’ psychological capabilities and are crucial factors in criminal cases.

Difference Between Criminology and Criminal Psychology

Before wrapping this up, let’s first clear up a common misconception. Most people use the terms criminology and criminal psychology interchangeably. However, there is a marked difference between the two.

In collaboration with law enforcement, criminologists examine a wide range of crimes. They conduct extensive research on the biological, environmental and social factors that influenced deviant behavior. Some of the common questions you’ll hear from a criminologist include “is poverty the reason behind a rising crime?” and “should there be tightened security to deter criminals?”

In contrary, criminal psychologists study the thoughts, emotions. and behaviour of criminals. They study specific crimes, trying to understand why the person involved committed it. Some of the questions that a criminal psychologist might ask the offender include “how’s your childhood?” “How did your parents raise you?” “What are some of the most traumatic scenes in your past? “What influenced you to commit the crime?” “What were you thinking when you committed the crime?”

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We hope this blog has helped you understand criminal and forensic psychologists better. The psychology industry is growing in Australia and if you’re interested in applying for this role, an online psychology course can help you jumpstart your career.

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