Tonight, this episode of the Perpetual Notion Machine looks into the field of forensic psychology. No, it’s not the glamorous and ingenious world portrayed by Hollywood programs like Making a Murderer and Criminal Minds. Simplistically, it’s just the intersection of psychology and the justice system, that is, taking the skills of psychology and applying it to legal situations. In fact, forensic psychologists are used in a large number of different situations. Our guest is Patricia Coffey with the Center for Law, Society, and Justice, and a Faculty Associate in the Psychology Department at UW-Madison. In an discussion with PNM’s Dennis Shaffer, Patti mentions a few cases, such as jury selection, witness credibility, the mental condition of a defendant, before and after a crime, and solitary confinement in the prison system. And also Patti distinguishes the mental state of mass shooters from single spur of the moment shootings.
For more information on forensic psychology, check out this webpage from the American Psychological Association.