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Legal psychology involves
Together, legal psychology and forensic psychology form the field more generally recognized as "psychology and law". Following earlier efforts by psychologists to address legal issues, psychology and law became a field of study in the 1960s as part of an effort to enhance justice, though that originating concern has lessened over time. The multidisciplinary
Generally speaking, any research that combines psychological principles with legal applications or contexts could be considered legal psychology (although research involving
There are several legal psychology
In March 1893 J. McKeen Cattell posted questions to fifty-six of his students at Columbia University, the questions he asked his students were comparable to those asked in a court of justice. What he found was that it was reasonable to conclude eyewitness accounts of events were unreliable. His students were all sure they were mostly correct, even when they weren’t, and some were hesitant when they were in fact correct. He could not figure out specifically why each student had inaccurate testimonies. Cattell suggested that “an unscrupulous attorney” could discredit a witness who is being truthful by asking “cunningly selected questions”. Although a jury, or the judge, should know how normal errors are in eyewitness testimonies given different conditions. However, even Cattell was shocked by the level of incorrectness displayed by his students. Cattell’s research has been depicted as the foundation of forensic psychology in the United States. His research is still widely considered a prevailing research interest in legal psychology. It has been thought that in America psychologists have been used as expert witnesses in court testimonies since the early 1920’s. Consultation within civil courts was most common, during this time criminal courts rarely consulted with psychologists. Psychologists were not considered medical experts, those who were like, physicians and psychiatrists, in the past were the ones consulted for criminal testimonies. This could be because in criminal cases, the defendant's mental state almost never mattered "As a general rule, only medical men — that is, persons licensed by law to practice the profession of medicine — can testify as experts on the question of insanity; and the propriety of this general limitation is too patent to permit discussion".