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Course Listing

Law and Psychology (3 cr)
LAW 719
An important goal of the legal system is to guide, constrain, and react to human behavior. In doing so, the law makes numerous assumptions about people's thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and conduct-assumptions that may or may not be true. Psychology, as the empirical study of human thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and conduct, is in an important position to evaluate such assumptions. Over the past several decades, increasing numbers of social scientists have devoted substantial attention to the systematic study of law and legal institutions. At the same time, social scientists are testifying as experts in increasing numbers, and encouraging courts and policy-makers to use research evidence in adjudicating court cases and in setting public policy. This course will provide a survey of research in psychology as it relates to the legal and political process; in-class activities and demonstrations will form a significant part of the class. Among the topics covered may be jury decision-making, the insanity defense, paternalism, media violence, negotiation, race, trial consulting, obscenity and pornography, and capital punishment. Each topic will be considered from both a theoretical and an applied perspective.

Taught By:
Jeremy A. Blumenthal