PSYC 349
Psychology and Law Spring 2023
Division III Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

This course focuses on applications of psychology to the administration of justice. Drawing from the areas of social, personality, cognitive, and developmental psychology, we will look critically at the processes of criminal justice. We will compare the law’s informal theories of human behavior with what psychologists know on the basis of empirical studies. We will cover a number of contemporary topics including police-civilian interactions, custodial interrogations, false confessions and guilty pleas, forensic evidence, deception detection, eyewitness identifications, alibi generation and corroboration, repressed and recovered memories, and jury selection and decision-making. We will also discuss methodological issues associated with conducting research in psychology and law. In the laboratory component of the course, students will design and conduct their own empirical research projects based on course readings and topics. These semester-long projects will be conducted collaboratively in pairs or teams.
The Class: Format: seminar/laboratory; empirical lab course
Limit: 16
Expected: 16
Class#: 3578
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance and active class participation, several brief (1-2 page) reading response papers, (2-3) class presentations, written/oral project proposal (4-5 pages), participation empirical project (experiment design, data collection, data visualization, data analysis, interpretation), final APA-style research paper (15-20 pages), oral presentation of the research project
Prerequisites: PSYC 201 and either PSYC 242 or PSYC 221
Enrollment Preferences: Psychology majors
Distributions: Division III Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: We will explore the differing dynamics of power between legal actors and consider the psychological and structural factors that contribute to vulnerability, coercion, and inequality in the justice system. Through discussions of race, age, body, gender, disability, and stigmatized identities, this course will encourage students to challenge assumptions of objectivity and fairness in our legal system.
Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives
PSYC Area 4 - Social Psychology
PSYC Empirical Lab Course

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