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Forensic Psychologists can play a number of key roles in a criminal investigation Immediately following a crime a forensic psychologist may be asked to act as a criminal profiler It has over the years become the love child of numerous television programs movies and crime novels Criminal profiling involves the psychologist using his understanding of human behavior motivation and pathology so that heshe can create a psychological profile of the offender The profiles can be surprisingly accurate From observations of the crime scene one can infer the behavioral characteristics of the individual who created it To a profiler everyone is a slave to his or her psychological makeup In turn profilers use their knowledge of which the typical offender is that bears these characteristics and then predicts not only how the investigators can expect the offender to behave in the future but also what their physical appearance will likely be While profiling may seem very exciting few psychologists are ever involved in this field Psychological knowledge has been applied to many more areas of investigative police work from the police interrogation to the police line-up Both of these areas have prospered greatly from psychological research Outside of the front-end operations of police work there is numerous opportunities for the application of forensic psychology In the court system Forensic Psychologists are frequently used for both criminal and civil cases In the criminal realm the forensic psychologist is often asked to assess competency Competency assessments can serve a number of purposes First a defendant can be assessed for the ability to stand trial andor make legal decisions on their own behalf These types of decision have been frequent in the news These evaluations are carried out when the defendant appears to suffer from a mental defect such as an acute psychiatric disorder ie schizophrenia or a mental disability ie mental retardation Secondly Psychologists may also be asked to make an evaluation regarding
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