After this course, students should be able to:
- Describe and explain the history of forensic psychology and psychiatry and its impact on the forensic psychology field as we currently know it
- Apply clinical, developmental, and biopsychosocial models in the explanation of antisocial behavior in youth and adults
- Explain the role that mental disorders and cognitions play in antisocial behavior (i.e., link between crime and disorder)
- Identify theoretical models and risk factors that are related to different forms and functions of antisocial behavior, including sexual offending, violence, intimate partner violence, and youth delinquency
- Distinguish various research methods and treatments in forensic psychology
This course provides a first introduction to forensic psychology. It is the first part of the bachelor major Forensic Psychology and covers the most central themes in this field. As such, it is an ideal preparation for the other courses in this major or minor (i.e., Risk Assessment and Criminality, Cognition, and Personality). The following questions are central to this introduction: What is the role of psychology in law; how can we explain antisocial behavior; how can we distinguish between different types of offenders; and how can we predict (re)offending?
The course consists of 12 lectures. During all lectures it is expected that students maintain an active role and develop an academic attitude. As an academically trained psychologist it is important to stay up-to-date with the most recent developments. Hence, much attention will be given to new studies and new insights from the forensic psychology field.
- During the first lecture, we will briefly discuss the setup, content, examination, and expectations of the course. In addition, we will discuss the history of forensic psychology with an eye for international differences in the treatment of forensic patients.
- In the following lectures, we will discuss several important themes within forensic psychology. Specifically, attention is given to the explanation of antisocial behavior by zooming in on clinical and developmental models, such as the Risk-Need-Responsivity model, Good Lives Model, and the Dual Taxonomy of Delinquency. Moreover, we discuss the role of antisocial personality (e.g., psychopathy) and related cognitions (e.g., moral disengagement), and risk assessment in different offender populations (violent offenders, family batters, sexual offenders).
- The final lecture concerns a Q&A lecture, during which students can ask questions related to the course content. In addition, several example questions will be discussed.
Work groups and assignments
There are three optional work group lectures in which we will apply the knowledge from the lectures and provide a more active engagement with the course material. There is an assignment tied to each work group lecture. Attending the work group lectures and making the assignment helps in understanding the course material and provides more insight in the practical aspects of forensic psychology (e.g., working as forensic psychologist, characteristics of forensic patients). Work groups are not mandatory and assignments do not count towards the final grade.
There will be a multiple choice exam.
Course materials consist of a collection of scientific articles and book chapters. A list of course materials will be made available at the start of the course.