‘Anyone who commits such a cruel crime, must be criminally irresponsible’: Context effects in forensic psychological assessment

Eric Rassin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In recent years, it has become clear that expert opinion can be biased. It has been argued that forensic psychologists may also be susceptible to bias. In the present study, the vulnerability of forensic psychological evaluation of the suspect’s mental health to the context effect (i.e. the influencing of the expert opinion by irrelevant information) was tested. Master students in forensic psychology were asked to interpret test scores of a suspect in a fictitious double murder case. Some participants received a version of the case in which the description of the murders was neutral. Others received a more explicit version. Whereas the explicitness should not affect the forensic psychological evaluation, it was found that participants in the latter condition seemed more concerned about the suspect’s mental health than those in the former. It is concluded that training programmes in forensic psychological assessment should devote attention to bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-515
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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