Forensic Psychology


DNA and the brain

Contemporary books about the relationships between crime and mental illness have been written by psychologists, psychiatrists, attorneys and journalists.  Books have been written for a variety of audiences including a general audience as well as students, scholars and practitioners in psychology, psychiatry, law and criminal justice.  Crime is an important topic in our society and interrelates with social problems like homelessness, prison overcrowding and victims’ rights.   Crime is a popular topic with the public, as evidenced by the prevalence of TV shows and movies about crime and by the sales of some of these books.

Books that are written for a general audience tend to focus on sensational crimes, celebrity criminals or single themes like the use of neuroscience in the courtroom.  Examples include Canter (2010), Davis (2017), Ewing & McCann (2006), Samenow (2014) and Vinocur (2020).

Textbooks written for graduate or undergraduate courses in psychology and criminal justice cover a wide range of topics at an introductory level.  Examples include Bartol & Bartol (2019), Green & Heilbrun (2019), Howott (2018), Huss (2013) and Shipley & Arrigo (2012).

Books written for scholars and practitioners in the field presume that the reader already has an advanced level of sophistication in the law and forensic psychology.  These books to fall into two categories:

(1)  Large tomes with a wide scope.  Examples include Melton, Petrila, Poythress & Slobogin (2017); Cutler & Zapf (2014); and Weiner & Otto (2013a, 2013b).  The latter three books are edited and contain contributions by well-known authors, most of whom have university affiliations.

(2)  Smaller books of narrower scope that are directed toward single topics like the assessment of risk, deception and specific types of crimes like filicide.  Examples include Heilbrun (2009); McKee (2006); Meloy & Hoffmann (2021); Otto & Douglas (2010); Quinsey, Harris, Rice, & Cormier (2015); and Rogers & Bender (2018).

I have selected ten of these books for closer review.
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