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Investigative Psychology Essay

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Investigative Psychology
As stated by Bartol and Bartol (2008), investigative psychology is the application of psychological research and principles to the investigation of criminal behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2008). Investigative psychology is closely associated with criminal profiling, but there are other areas in which a forensic psychologist can participate in this particular subspecialty. An investigative psychologist maybe asked to perform a psychological autopsy, forensic hypnosis, or produce a geographical mapping. Psychological autopsies are generally performed in suspected suicide cases where the insurance company or family member questions the cause of death. Forensic hypnosis is an interview or interrogation method used by trained and credentialed professionals. Lastly, geographic mapping is a method of research “concerned with analyzing spatial patterns of crimes committed by numerous offenders over a period of time (Bartol & Bartol, 2008).” Geographic profiling is the analysis of a single serial offender’s geographic movement.
Due to the complexities of investigative psychology these methods have been scrutinized. In order for these methods to be admissible in a court of law, they must pass the Daubert standard for empirically based evidence. The use of such standards has sparked an array of studies. For example criminal profiling has been under a magnifying glass for several years. Snook et al. (2007) found that there is inadequate empirical evidence that suggest whether criminal profiling is an effective method (Snook, Eastwood, Gendreau, Goggin, & Cullen, 2007). However, Kocsis, Middledorp, and Karpin (2008) reported that expert profilers are more accurate at prediction of unknown offender characte...


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...m with an understandable statement of their rights, privileges, and the limitations of confidentiality (Committee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, 1991).”
Multiple relationships in a correctional institution can cause ethical dilemmas. An example of this would be if an inmate refuses to comply with a random drug screening and then attempts to commit suicide. After the suicide attempt the correctional psychologist examines the inmate and discovers a history of suicide attempts. He recommends that the inmate participate in group therapy and be granted a pass on future drug screening. Other members of the prison staff believe the inmate attempted suicide to escape the urinalysis. In this case the psychologist is faced with the dilemma of what is in the best interest of the patient and what is the best interest of the correctional institution.



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