Category Archives: Forensic Psychology


Some accused or guilty persons who are being tried for murder or other type of heinous crime often use the insanity defense which is also known as the NGRI plea means “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” so they can get least amount of punishment or can easily escape with it. Defendants claim that they were not legally responsible for their criminal acts because they were not in the right state of mind at the time of crime.

In legal terms, they apply the ancient doctrine that their acts, while the accused (actus rea) lacked moral faultlessness, were not intentional that the defendants did not possess their full mental faculties at the time of the crime and “did not know what they were doing” (mens rea) under the assumption of lying that “insanity” somehow prevents or absent torture of guilty intent.

The M’Naghten Rule (1843)

According to this rule, often referred to as the “knowing right from wrong” rule, people are considered prudent until it is proved that at the time of act, they are thus Were laboring under the guise (of a sickness) that they did not know the nature and quality of the work they were doing or, if they knew that they were carrying out the work, they would not have known What he was doing was wrong.

The Durham Rule (1954)

In 1954, Judge David Bazelon, in a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals, broadened the insanity defense further. Bazelon did not believe that the previous precedents allowed for a sufficient application of established scientific knowledge of mental illness and proposed a test that would be based on this knowledge. Under this rule, which is often referred to as the product test, the accused is not criminally responsible if his or her unlawful act was the product of mental disease or mental defect.

The Irresistible Impulse Rule (1887)

A second precedent in the insanity defense is the doctrine of the “irresistible impulse”. This view holds that accused persons might not be responsible for their acts, even if they knew that what they were doing was wrong (according to the M’Naghten Rule), if they had lost the power to choose between right and wrong. That is, they could not avoid doing the act in question because they were compelled beyond their will to commit the act ( Fersch, 1980).

The American Law Institute (ALI) Standard(1962)

Often referred to as the “substantial capacity test” for insanity, this test combines the cognitive aspect of M’Naghten with the volitional focus of irresistible impulse in holding that the perpetrator is not legally responsible if at the time of the act he or she, owing to mental disease or defect, lacked “substantial capacity” either to appreciate its criminal character or to conform his or her behavior to the law’s requirements.

The Federal Insanity Defense Reform Act (IDRA) (1984)

Adopted by Congress in 1984 as the standard for the insanity defense to be applied in all federal jurisdictions, this act abolished the volitional element of the ALI standard and modified the cognitive one to read “unable to appreciate, “ thus bringing the definition quite close to M’Naghten.

IDRA also specified that the mental disorder involved must be a severe one and shifted the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense. That is, the defense must clearly and convincingly establish the defendant’s insanity, in contrast to the prior requirement that the prosecution clearly and convincingly demonstrate the defendant to have been sane when the prohibited act was committed.

Forensic Psychology

Multiple Choice Question

Question- All of the following are impulse disorder, except:

a.) Pyromania

b.) Trichotillomania

c.) Kleptomania

d.) Capgro’s Syndrome

Answer- d.) Capgro’s Syndrome

Explanation- An impulse control disorder is a condition in which a person has trouble controlling emotions or behaviors and constant urge to do things.

Pyromania is an impulse control disorder in which individuals repeatedly fail to resist impulses to deliberately start fires, in order to relieve tension or for instant gratification.

Trichotillomania (TTM), is an impulse control disorder in which person can not resist the urge of hair pulling disorder. it is a mental disorder characterized by a long-term urge that results in the pulling out of one’s hair.

Kleptomania is an impulse control disorder in which a person can not resist the urge to steal items. The things that are stolen are not needed for personal use or their monetary value. 

Capgras syndrome is also known as “imposter syndrome” or “Capgras delusion.” People who experience this syndrome will have an irrational belief that someone they know or recognize has been replaced by an imposter.


By @forensicfield


“Any Kind Of Antisocial Behavior, Which Is Punishable By Law Or Norms, Stated By Community,” Can Be Stated As Criminal Behavior.

Criminal behavior study is to understand the behavior of criminal and find some answer of the questions such as:

  • Why do criminals commit an offence?
  • Who are they?
  • How do they think?
  • What do they do?

A risk factor in criminality is anything in a persons psychology, what will somewhat increase possibility, that he/she will get involved in a criminal activity. These may include:

  • Behavior disorder,
  • Lack of education,
  • Media influence,
  • Poor personal temperament,
  • Low IQ,
  • Antisocial beliefs,
  • Influence of society
  • Poor parenting, etc…

How To Measure Criminal Behavior?

Criminal behavior usually is measured by:

  • Arrests and charges,
  • Self-reported offences.
  • Actual crime rates.

Causes Of Criminal behavior

  • Family issues – Children with violent parents are more likely to become violent through learned behaviors.
  • Financial problems, or starvation – When A person has to struggle every day just to fulfil his/her basic needs, the probability that they commit crime to complete their desire.
  • Socioeconomic status – Many feels inferior or low because of their lower middle or poor class lifestyle and sometimes to gain high status they choose wrong path.
  • Genetics – Any type of psychological problem or mental disorder such as anxiety problem, aggression, etc.
  • Mental illness– More than half the populations in jails and state and federal prisons have some kind of mental illness according to national institute of mental health.

Theories Of Criminal Behavior

Three Broad Models Of Criminal Behaviors Are The Following:

  • Sociological Models
  • Psychological Models 
  • Biological models

Psychological Approaches

  • Crime control policy based on psychological principles targets individuals and tries to prevent criminal behavior from this point.
  • Any policy aimed at preventing crime by targeting persons such as training, education, promotion of self-awareness, rehabilitation, resocialization or identification risks of criminal behavior are psychological in nature.
  • Some fundamental assumptions of psychological theories of criminality are following:
  • Normality is generally defined by social consensus.
  • The individual is the primary unit of analysis in psychological theories.
  • Criminal behavior may be purposeful for the individual in so far as it addresses certain felt needs.
  • Defective, or abnormal, mental processes may have a variety of causes, i.e., A diseased mind, inappropriate learning or improper conditioning, the emulation of inappropriate role models, and adjustment to inner conflicts. (Mischel, 1968.)

Sociological Approaches

According to social control theory, if  social bounds of a person is weak, he/she will more likely conduct a criminal act, because people care what others thinks of them and try to conform with social expectations because of their attachment to others.

Sociological notions of criminality define as:

  • How the contradictions of all of these interacting groups contribute to criminality.
  • Attempting to connect the issues of the individual’s criminality with the broader social structures and cultural values of society, familial, or peer group.
  • Criminality is viewed from the point of view of the social construction of criminality and its social causes.

Biological Approaches

Biological theories purport, that criminal behavior is caused by some flaw in individual’s biological makeup.

According to Raine Study, This physical flaw could be due to…

  • Heredity,
  • Neurotransmitter dysfunction,
  • Brain abnormalities that were caused by either of the above, improper development, or trauma.

Many theories are sharing biological approaches such as:

  • Trait And Psychodynamic Trait Theories,
  • Lombroso’s Theory,
  • Y Chromosome Theory And Others.

There are several types of crime control, which involve artificial interference in human biology such as

  • Psychosurgery,
  • Chemical Methods Of Control,
  • Brain Stimulation And Others.

How to control it?

There are several types of crime control, which involve artificial interference in human biology such as Psychosurgery, chemical methods of control, brain stimulation and others.

Psychodynamic Therapy

  • This theory was developed by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800’s and has then become a significant theory in the history of criminality (Siegel, 2005).
  • The theory is a three-part structure consisting of the id, the ego and the super ego.
  • The id is considered the underdeveloped of primitive part of our markup. It controls our need for food, sleep and other basic instinct. This part is purely focused on instant gratification.
  • The ego controls the id by setting up boundaries.
  • The superego is the change of judging the situation through morality (Siegel, 2005)


Brain surgery to control behavior has rarely been applied to criminal behavior. Certainly much more common between the 1930’s to the late 1970’s there were over 40,000 frontal lobotomies performed. Lobotomies were used to treat a wide range of problems from depression, to schizophrenia.

Today the lobotomy has fallen out of favour due medications used to control behavior, although some view the use of medications as equivalent to a lobotomy (e.g., see Breggin, 2008).

Psychosurgery appears to be an option that will most likely not be put into use due to the stigma associated with it.

Chemical methods of control

  • The use of pharmacological treatments to try to control crime has been on going in two major areas:
  • Chemical castration for sex offenders and Pharmacological Interventions for drug or alcohol addicts.
  • Sometimes mentally ill people in the criminal justice system been ordered to take medications to treat their mental illness.
  • Other pharmacological interventions to control crime seem plausible and are being investigated, but do not appear to have been widely used.

Others Methods

  • Deep brain stimulation is used for some disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, but has yet been investigated for criminal behavior.
  • Biological theorists have advocated changes in diet to deal with criminality (Burton, 2002) and better relations between parents.
  • There is also the famous genetic XYY combination that was once thought to be a marker for a criminal type, but as it turned out these individuals were found to be less intelligent or more likely to have learning difficulties as opposed to being criminal types.

Principles to remember

We Have Strong Tendencies To Pay Special Attention To Negative Information And At The Same Time, Powerful Tendencies To Expect Things To Turn Out Well. Beware Of Both Because They Can Generate Serious Errors In Social Thoughts.

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