Activities for Teaching Psychology and Law A Guide for Instructors

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Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2018-03-27
Publisher(s): American Psychological Association
List Price: $42.61

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This book presents a wide variety of experiential learning activities to help instructors enliven their courses and teach critical concepts in psychology and law.

Psychology instructors know that experiential activities help spark student interest and deepen their critical thinking skills and understanding of course content. This exciting compilation offers a wide variety of such activities for courses in psychology and law. The activities incorporate individual and group work, videos, reading materials, classroom discussions, homework assignments, and lots of interactive opportunities, including role play.
With clear, detailed instructions and guidance, this book provides everything needed to enliven topics such as jury selection, criminal profiling, and eyewitness memory. A companion website provides free handouts and videos to support these activities. Suggested modifications enable instructors to adapt activities to different class sizes, time constraints, and delivery formats (traditional, online, and hybrid). The book will be a useful resource for both novice and seasoned instructors to enhance students’ mastery of complex psycholegal topics.

Author Biography

Amanda D. Zelechoski, JD, PhD, ABPP, is an associate professor of psychology at Valparaiso University, where she primarily teaches courses in psychology and law, child and adolescent psychopathology, professional development in psychology, psychotherapy and counseling, and Inside-Out prison exchange courses. She is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist and attorney, as well as a risk management consultant for The Trust. In addition to best practices in teaching and training in psychology and law, her research focuses on the intersection of psychology, law, and trauma, particularly related to forensic and mental health assessment, delinquency, and child custody and welfare.

Dr. Zelechoski received her BA from the University of Notre Dame, her MS and PhD from Drexel University, and her JD from Villanova University School of Law. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute (Brookline, MA) and is board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology. She received the 2016 American Psychology–Law Society Early Career Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award and the 2014 Valparaiso University Arts & Sciences Emerging Teacher Award.

Melinda Wolbransky, JD, PhD, is a licensed attorney and clinical and forensic psychologist in Los Angeles, California, where she is the evaluation manager for Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center's Conditional Release Program, providing psychological evaluations, expert witness testimony, and court liaison services for Los Angeles and San Diego counties. She has taught various psychology and law, general psychology, and criminal justice classes at several universities, including John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Drexel University, and the University of New Haven.

She specializes in online teaching formats, having spent the past 4 years modifying course content and related experiential activities to an online setting. In addition to conducting research on effective ways to teach psychology and law, she also looks at how jury decision-making (particularly those in capital cases) is affected by evidence related to the defendant's mental illness. Dr. Wolbransky received her BS, MS, and PhD from Drexel University and her JD from Villanova University School of Law.

Christina L. Riggs Romaine, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology at Wheaton College, where she teaches courses in psychology and law, child psychopathology, and research methodology. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate with the National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners, providing training to juvenile justice stakeholders on implementation of evidence-based risk assessment and practices. In addition to best practices in teaching and training in law and psychology, her research focuses on the juvenile justice system and youth's understanding and appreciation of rights, as well as factors influencing their risk-taking decisions.

Dr. Riggs Romaine received her BA from Gordon College and her MS and PhD from Drexel University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Before joining academia, she was a full-time clinician in the Essex County Juvenile Court Clinic, where she provided forensic mental health evaluations for the court and served as an expert witness.


Table of Contents

  1. Fact or Fiction: Psychology and Law in the Media
  2. Legality Versus Morality Debate
  3. A Brief Trial
  4. Who Do You Want? The Voir Dire Process
  5. Psychological Profile of a Murder Suspect
  6. Voices for Victims
  7. To Protect and Serve: Training Law Enforcement
  8. Do You See What I See? Eyewitness Identification
  9. To Waive or Not to Waive? Miranda Rights and Due Process
  10. Evaluating Juvenile Competency to Stand Trial
  11. A Journey Through Civil Commitment
  12. Do You Swear to Tell the Truth? Expert Testimony
  13. Can We Predict? Appraising and Reducing Risk
  14. Freeze! What's a Juvenile Justice Facility to Do?
  15. Problem Solved? Creating a Problem-Solving Court
  16. May It Please the Court: Amicus Curiae Brief
  17. What Would SCOTUS Do?
Appendix A: Written Assignment Grading Rubric
Appendix B: Participation Grading Rubric
Appendix C: Presentation Grading Rubric
Appendix D: Group and Self-Evaluation Form
Appendix E: Sample Activity Feedback Survey
About the Authors

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