Farah Farhat

The history of forensic psychology dates back many years and the restrictions it faced helped pave the way for recognition today. The integration of forensic psychology in the judiciary system has grown to be a key dynamic change in the progression of forensic psychology. Today testimonies by forensic psychologists have held weight during courtroom trials. The importance of forensic analysis has depicted the shift in opinion on forensic psychology. The Educational recognition as well as multiple publications have also given light to the growth of forensic psychology.

Implications Timeline

  • In 44BC following the assassination of Julius Caesar the attending physician proclaimed that of the 23 wounds found on the body ‘only one’ was fatal.
  • In the 5th century Germanic and Slavic societies were believed to be the first to put down in statute that medical experts should be employed to determine cause of death.
  • In 1247 the first textbook on forensic medicine was published in China which among others things documented the procedures to be followed when investigating a suspicious death.
  • The 1887 coroners act ensured that an integral part of the coroners’ role was to determine the circumstances and the medical causes of sudden, violent and unnatural deaths.
  • 1879 Wilhelm Wundt founded the first psychological laboratory in in Leipzig Germany.
  • In 1893 James Cattell performed the first research in the field of forensic psychology.
  • In 1896 Albert von Schrenck-Notzing stated that pretrial coverage regarding court cases clouds the minds of witnesses memories
  • In 1901, William Stern collaborated with a criminologist on an interesting experiment that further showed the level of inaccuracy in eyewitness accounts.
  • In 1906 Hugo Munsterberg was asked by a defense attorney to review his convicted client’s investigation and trial records.
  • 1908 Munsterberg published On the Witness Stand: he explained that psychology was vital in the courtroom, how suggestion could create false memories and why eyewitness testimony was often unreliable.
  • 1932 chair of legal medicine at Harvard was established.
  • In the 1962 court case Jenkins v. U.S., the federal appellate court ruled that (a) psychologists with appropriate training and expertise were qualified to offer expert testimony on matters of mental disorder and (b) possession of a medical degree was not necessary for such testimony.
  • In 1974, Buckout conducted an eyewitness experiment. He concluded from his findings that memory is selective and not a copy process.
  • 1974 the Board of Regents of the state of Florida approved the B.S degree program in Forensic Science at FTU.
  • In 2001 “Forensic psychology” has been approved as an applied area of specialization by the American Psychological Association (APA).

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