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What must be going into the mind of a criminal? Ever wondered? Lawyers often end up in the shoes of psychologists. To decipher the key elements of a crime, one needs to go to the root of the psyche of a criminal. Also, what is it to process a different tangent of the same case, lets peek into the work


What must be going into the mind of a criminal? Ever wondered? Lawyers often end up in the shoes of psychologists. To decipher the key elements of a crime, one needs to go to the root of the psyche of a criminal. Also, what is it to process a different tangent of the same case, lets peek into the work of a lawyer.

INTERCONNECTION OF Law and psychology

Keeping in cognizance, the mental aspect of a criminal and decoding his thought is imperative to know how the crime was committed. Thus, the role of criminal psychologists comes into play. They analyze and break down the event into emotional, individual, mental and, societal aspects. Lawyers often communicate with the criminals to form a virtual connection with them and get involved with them to identify the crime scene.  Lawyers and Criminal psychologists put collective effort to study the personality of the criminals, the traits, language, action and, biases. The actual term for it is  Criminal profiling.

Following are the behavioral aspects of a crime scene:

  • Point stressors
  • Post offense behavior
  • Pre offense behavior
  • Traits
  • Relationship history

Legal Psychology in trial proceedings

Like for instance, clinal psychologists can be called upon in courtrooms to give an expert opinion concerned with the defendant’s capacity to make sure of the allegations on them. We see integration of psychology and law in courtrooms.

Understanding, why people commit crimes 

Though, there is no fixed pattern of the criminal nature but, certain features tend to intersect in most cases that have been thoroughly researched-

  • Anti-social behavior
  • The Underdeveloped or damaged prefrontal cortex[1]
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • High levels of hormones like testosterone
  • Social mistreatment
  • Economic/ Environmental factors
  • Subcultural system
  • Surrounding influence

Benefits of the relation between criminal psychology and law

  • Picturing an accurate and intricate image of human perceptions of crime scenes
  • Judging the mental aspect of the criminal and the crime
  • Reduction of false confessions and testimony in courtrooms.
  • Making an informed decision in courtrooms
Forensic Psychology

Seldom heard, Often confused. The term forensic psychology is a budding field with law and forensics held in tandem. The role of undertaking narco analysis and polygraph examination often falls in their kitty. They are called upon a myriad of super complicated cases where both the plaintiff and the defendant seem to show no sign of confidence in the statements and confessions. One such high-profile example is that of the Aarushi Talvar murder case which went for a topsy-turvy ride. The case circumscribes the still-a-mystery of Aarushi who was supposedly killed by her parents concerning her servant. This is merely an outline of the much-convoluted collaboration of misfortunate events.

On the involvement of the forensic department. But, even if the testimony has 99% of the truth, polygraph and narco analysis are not taken into consideration in determining the final verdict because the CBI doesn’t admit it as one of the trustable testimonials for the sleek 1%.

Another one that deserves the limelight is the Rape Cases –

In rape cases, there are often no signs of guilt or remorse surrounding the criminal because it is their third or fourth crime and they seem to find a way with this one too. So confession is often a tough nut to crack. They often possess the confidence that this time too they won’t be [2]caught. Rajat Mitra who has closely worked with people in the Tihar Jail who are sex offenders recalls many incidents that outlined that common characteristic of these offenders[3]

One of the most common points is holding the women accountable for the crime which is all the more patriarchal and toxic. A thorough overhaul of the legal system is necessary to make the perpetrators ashamed of their crimes.

One of the cases that look to the minds of the people and the forensics as well was the Sunanda Pushkar case where she was found dead in a five-star hotel. The was a huge hue and cry of the case and it prolonged for some time. The specialists examine the intricate aspects of human behavior, which are either directly or indirectly related to the legal process — including eyewitness memory, testimony, jury decision making, and criminal behavior.

On three occasions, the High Court was told. The CBI had engaged a forensic psychologist in the 2008 Aarushi Talwar murder case, who had concluded that the parents — now convicted of murder — were “innocent”. The specialist had used polygraph examination, narcoanalysis, and brain signature profiling during the assessment. Forensic psychologists were engaged in the investigations of the 2006 Nithari killings and the 2003 Madhumita Shukla murder as well. It is intriguing for the law researchers as well so they often seek informal help from psychologists who has depth in this domain.

Psychological Jurisprudence

It is a cross-disciplinary approach that runs meticulous diagnostic inquiry towards the cases keeping in mind the legalities too. Several complex issues in the law-psychology field are addressed, including forensic mental health decision-making, parricide, competency to stand trial, adolescent identity development, penal punitiveness, and offender rehabilitation. Further, it is necessary to delve into the realm of social jurisprudence because that’s how we will know of the subtle partnership between law and social sciences.

In exploring how the current resolution to these and related controversies fail to promote the dignity or empowerment of persons with mental illness. This method is internationally followed and acclaimed since the publication of Harvard psychologist Hugo Münsterberg, One The Witness Stand. Another example is that of Ted Bundy he is known to be one of the most notorious, intelligent, and charismatic killers.


A step upward and inward to the legal system is the psychological pinch of salt that gives taste to the dish of crime. The intention of the criminal prior, during, and after the crime[4] scene is one of the most cardinal aspects to adjudge an unfortunate accident into a planned heinous activity raising legal alarms of all sorts.

Author(s) Name: Astha Deep


[1], ‘The case of India’s missing forensic psychologists – Livemint’ (Antony Last) <> accessed on 11 September 2021

[2] The Indian Express, ‘Forensic psychology: What is it, what can it reveal on the death of Sunanda Pushkar?’ <> accessed on 11 September 2021

[3] Services, C., Paper, H., Topics and Others, ‘History of Criminal Psychology (Forensic Psychology)’ (iResearchNet) <> accessed on 11 September 2021

[4] Online Psychology Degrees. 2021, ‘Five Famous Cases Cracked by Forensic Psychologists – Online Psychology Degrees’ <>  accessed on 11 September 2021

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