Legal psychology can be defined as the part which “involves pragmatic, psychological research of the law, legal institutions, and people who come into contact with the law.” The psychologists involved in this legal psychology in general acquire the necessary societal and cognitive values and apply them to the issues in the legal system like:
- Eyewitness memory,
- Jury decision-making,
- Investigations, and
Recently the tenure “legal psychology” has been appeared into usage, first and foremost as a means to make a distinction on the “experimental focus of legal psychology from the clinically-oriented forensic psychology.”
In concert, the legal psychology and forensic psychology outline the field more commonly accepted as “psychology and law”. In addition, its directive is to put in the picture the psychological and legal communities and the public at large about current research, educational, and service in the field of psychology and law.
The combination of the psychological values with legal applications or contexts may perhaps be well thought-out as a legal psychology in general (even if research relating to clinical psychology, e.g., insanity defense, mental illness, offender profiling, competency, etc., is normally categorized as forensic psychology, and not legal psychology).
At some instant the legal psychology researchers were mainly paying attention on issues correlated to eyewitness demonstration and the decision-making by the jury; as a result of which the editor of the Law and Human Behavior, the leading legal psychology journal, implored researchers to spread out the extent of their study and move on to new areas.
Some of the legal psychology journals are:
- Law and Human Behavior,
- Public Policy and Law,
- Crime, and Law, and
- Journal of Psychiatry etc
Numerous legal psychologists have their profession as professors in the university psychology departments, criminal justice departments or the law schools. Similar to the other professors, the legal psychologists in general accomplish and publish empirical research, educate in various classes, and guide the graduate and undergraduate students. The legal parties in order to testify the expert witnesses call the psychologists who are explicitly trained in legal issues, as well as persons with no official training.