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Psychology, Use in Courts

Mental health professionals and behavioral scientists have become an integral component of the day-to-day functioning of the legal system. In criminal, civil, and family contexts, judges and lawyers routinely call on psychologists and psychiatrists to perform evaluative tasks, to consult with or assist legal actors, and to provide expert opinions before fact finders on issues related to psychological research and clinical assessment. Scholars have identified several unresolved concerns in the connection shared by psychology and the courts. For instance, critics point to fundamental differences in the ontological and epistemological frameworks governing the respective disciplines of psychology and law. These lead to questionable appeals to expert knowledge, to concerns about accurate predictions of human behavior, and to ethical issues that arise when those in the helping ...

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