Assessment Annotated Bibliography Essay Example

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Forensic psychology: Annotated bibliography

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Archer et al (2006). A Survey of Psychological Test Use Patterns Among Forensic Psychologists. Journal of personality assessment, 87(1), 84–94.

This journal by Archer et al (2006) provides vital information pertaining to admissible evidence in criminal oriented cases. Forensic Psychologists serve a monumental role in the determination of the kind of evidence that could be used in cases in courts. The journal follows the research that was conducted by Archer et al (2006) amongst 152 participants in the field of forensic psychology. The research, based on forensic evaluations was conducted on adults through a process of multi-scale inventories, unstructured personality, single-scale tests, neuropsychological tests, cognitive, risk assessment and psychopathy as well as sex offender risk assessment instruments (Archer, 2006, p. 84). According to these authors and from the research data that was collected, multi scale inventories were found to have some sense of consistency and being the one applied mostly in the determination of capacity of a person to stand trial. Wechsler intelligence scales were predominantly used in this study in the performance of personal injury evaluations.

Archer pulls data from other researchers like Lees-Haley et al (1996, p. 46) who have maintained that the Weshsler intelligence scales were the most widely used tools of forensic assessment and their accuracy was guaranteed. The authors also show that some forensic psychologists still employ the usage of unstructured measures which do not have a solidified foundation. Borum & Grisso (1995, p. 466) shows that there has been a considerable interest in the use of these instruments. However, despite making all these milestones in the evolution of tests used in forensic psychology, Archer et al (2006) maintains that the popularity of the traditional clinical assessment instruments in the forensic evaluation still remains strong, based on the data of the respondents who were available for this study. Both could be employed to deliver on quality tests and quality assessments.

Kocsis, R. (2008). Serial Murder and the Psychology of Violent Crimes. Sydney: Humana press.

Kocsis (2008, p. 3) offers great insight into the mind of the serial killer and violent crimes. He states that as the world progresses, the wake of violent crimes also comes into place. More and more violent crimes are being committed each and every dawn of a new day. According to Kocsis (2008), people used to pin these crimes on the supernatural and despite the evolution of mankind, the magnitude of these crimes rose considerably. The investigation, apprehension and detention of the perpetrators of these crimes have not been conducted. The media and the press play a great role in the mortification and creation of larger than life picture of these crimes. The media create movies and shows based on concepts of violent crime. The saddening factor is the public seems to embrace it and it attracts a lot of positive feedback.

Kocsis (2008) decides to explore the mind of a serial killer in a very profound manner in this book. Through conducting a series of researches, and through an exploration into the mind of a convicted serial killer, the author of this book establishes that these people often lead a life of absolute normalcy. There is nothing abnormal about them and neither do they depict some characteristics or symptoms that would somehow point to the fact that they are privy to committing a crime. Rather, according to the author, these people have their compartmentalization inn where they deal with their inner selves. This kind of compartmentalization allows the person to commit crimes without suffering the necessity and burden of guilt. In order to understand why these people do what they do and without a tinge of remorse or impunity, it is important to try and analyze them through a reflection of their inner mind (Belloni & Hodgson, 2000, p. 14). Some of the actions taken by mass murderers and serial killers are doings that are beyond their realm of control.

However, Kocsis (2008) does not take this condition to allow room for reprieve for these criminal minds. Another author, Wilson, Lincoln & Kocsis (1997, p. 6) concur with Koscis (2008) when he states that at most times, the motivation behind the killings and shooting and violence coming from these people is driven by a sense of idiosyncrasy. Other times, the urge for rebellion against some force or rule of law pushes them to do these hideous acts. Others have been documented to having done their acts out of sheer thrill. The worst case scenarios come from this sector of offenders. In their mind, they construe what they do and without a guilty conscience, they are quite capable of many atrocities.

Apart from venturing into the psychology of the serial killers, the journal also explores the sector on judgments, trials and mistrials as well as conviction and punishment of these offenders. Through a section of investigative considerations of the mass killer, Koscis (2008) tries to shed some light into the legal systems and the way they are wired to bring to justice the perpetrators of these major crimes. The general homicide and the sexual-lust have been looked into in details purporting to the fact that even women are not spared in this dimension. Very descriptive and informative stories and case studies have been offered throughout the journal to assist the reader have a harmonization of these cases. The cases as narrated by the author offer the reader a great insight into the behavioral patterns of these perpetrators through looking at their backgrounds and trying to establish a factor in their upbringing that could have resulted into them turning violent. The differences between the male as well as the female mass murderers have been clearly outlined. Despite the fact that women are not so much documented as mass murderers, their capacity to do these crimes as almost as equal to those of men (Turkey, 1999, p. 15).And since women have the sensitivity and appeal that makes it easy for people to trust them, they are in essence more dangerous than their male counterparts. The male killers have to ensure that they put in more mechanisms to evade detection during their actions. Most prefer killing strangers who have no connection to them. Through this formula, they are capable of averting the attention from themselves with the hope of escaping apprehension. Koscis (2008) concludes by asserting that these people live within our midst, they look harmless but they have the potential of doing multiple homicides and that it is our job to detect any sudden change of behavior amongst our neighbors to minimize the possibility of people turning violent.

Kalmbach, P & Lyons, P. (2006). Ethical issues in conducting forensic evaluations. Psychology in Criminal Justice, 2(3), 261-287.

As this journal asserts, forensic examination and tests are quite distinct and apart from the normal medical examinations. This journal follows therefore to try and give the differentiation between the two by dwelling mostly on the forensic aspect of examination. According to Kalmbach & Lyons (2006, p. 261), forensic examinations as presented in forensic psychology have a certain procedure and protocol that does not necessarily have to be done in a chronological order. In essence, bearing in mind that the persons being brought forth for the conduct of the forensic examination are not so much as willing, and neither are there clear directive penned down on how to go about asserting the examination in a forensic capacity, it then becomes important to ensure that the examinations are conducted while taking into considerations the dignity of the patient (Bartol & Bergen, 1992, p. 237).

However, Kalmbach & Lyons (2006, p. 261-62), supported by Canter et al (1994, p. 146) and Appelbaum (1987, p. 16) asserts that at most times, the forensic investigators apply their own discretion while conducting these tests. To these investigators, the end justifies the means and they try to use all the tricks in the book, as well as others without sometimes taking into considerations the rights of their patients. Mostly, the pressure to conduct an investigation using forensic science is based upon the basis of getting information from a patient by using whatever means necessary. This is where, according to Kalmbach & Lyons (2006), the difference between medical psychology and forensic psychology examinations come into the picture. The author defends this difference by asserting that sometimes forensic investigators have to conduct specialized tests to offer a guided analysis of their patients. Taking into consideration that these patients have to stand for trial for committing a certain crime, the forensic investigators have to be very impartial in their tests so as to determine a number of factors such as the condition of the patient at the time of committing the crime as well as the capacity of the patient to stand a trial.

The journal gives very definitive as well as clearly guidelines on how the whole process should go, the ethical issues involved and how forensic psychologists and investigators circumvent these issues in a bid to try and gain information from their patients. The author concludes with an implication that although some of these actions may be considered illegal, they are sometimes instrumental in allowing room for delivering these criminals to justice.


Appelbaum, P. S. (1987). In the wake of Ake: The ethics of expert testimony in an Advocate’s

world. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 15, 15-25.

Archer et al (2006). A Survey of Psychological Test Use Patterns Among Forensic

Psychologists. Journal of personality assessment, 87(1), 84–94.

Bartol, R, & Bergen, T, (1992). Police psychology and its future. Criminal Justice Behaviour

journal, 19, 236–239

Borum, R., & Grisso, T. (1995). Psychological test use in criminal forensic evaluations.

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 26, 465–473.

Belloni, F., & Hodgson, J. (2000). Criminal Injustice: An Evaluation of the Criminal Justice

Process in Britain. New York: St. Martin

Canter et al (1994). Forensic activities- In Ethics for psychologists: A commentary on the APA

Ethics Code, 145-156. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Kalmbach, P & Lyons, P. (2006). Ethical issues in conducting forensic evaluations. Psychology

in Criminal Justice, 2(3), 261-287.

Kocsis, R. (2008). Serial Murder and the Psychology of Violent Crimes. Sydney: Humana press.

Turvey, B. (1999). Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis. San

Diego: Academic Press.

Wilson, P., Lincoln, R., & Kocsis, R. (1997). Validity, utility, and ethics of

profiling for serial violent and sexual offenses. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law,

4, 1–11.