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Forensic Psychology – Important Practices and Research

1. What is Forensic Psychology?

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we consider what the field of forensic psychology encompasses and how it can be defined, focusing in particular on: (i) the etymological root of the term ‘forensic’ in the Latin word ‘forensis’ (of or pertaining to the forum); (ii) how this relates to the original role of forensic psychologists as expert witnesses who provided psychological advice on defendants to the courts; (iii) how the field of forensic psychology has evolved over time to encompass many other areas in which psychologists can contribute to the legal process, including offender profiling and investigative interviewing.


In this course, Professor David Canter (University of Liverpool) provides an introduction to the field of forensic psychology and some of the most important practices and areas of research associated with it. In the first lecture, we start with a definition of forensic psychology as a discipline that applies psychological insights to legal processes and the criminal justice system. In the second lecture, we consider the different ways in which psychologists have theorised the causes of crime. In the third lecture, we think about how crime can be defined and measured. Next, we think about offender profiling. In the fifth lecture, we explore how this practice gradually developed into the broader area of investigative psychology. In the sixth lecture, we take a closer look at the field of investigative psychology and how it can contribute to police investigations. In the seventh lecture, we focus on geographical offender profiling. In the eighth lecture, we explore investigative interviewing. In the ninth and final lecture, we explore a specific method for modelling serial murder, known as the ‘radex model’ of serial killers.

To find out more about forensic psychology and David Canter’s work visit


Although internationally known for introducing scientific psychology into ‘offender profiling’ and developing the field of Investigative Psychology beyond those origins, Prof. David Canter has a wide range of interests including his continuing work in Environmental Psychology.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Canter, D. (2019, September 27). Forensic Psychology – Important Practices and Research - What is Forensic Psychology? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Canter, D. "Forensic Psychology – Important Practices and Research – What is Forensic Psychology?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

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