Forensic Psychology Research Papers Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Criminal Justice, Violence, Law, Crime, Bullying, Victimology, Psychology, Threat

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/30

Forensic Psychologist Investigator

Law enforcement resources are limited, but the volume and complexity of criminal threats remain high. This emphasizes the importance of intelligence driven policing and threat management, and I believe forensic psychologists have a central role in the new dispensation. The job of a forensic psychologist is to apply psychological threat assessments to aid in the identification, evaluation and management of elements that pose active or passive threats to others. According to Reno, Fisher, Robinson, Berennan, & Travis (1998), threat assessment is the process of collecting and gathering and evaluating information on individuals that may have the motive, interest, capability and intention to mount attacks or otherwisely engage in criminal activities. It also includes assessing the level of the threat, the vulnerability of the potential victims and determining the commensurate interventions to mitigate the threat. This is attained by drawing on my skills in criminology, psychology, investigative skills, corroboration and even intuition.
Effectively, forensic psychologists seek to apply new tricks in an old profession, including the ethical repurposing of controversial approaches to create value for the society. Inevitably, one of the most controversial and potentially helpful law enforcement strategies is criminal profiling. Despite the abuse and inherent controversy associated with criminal and even racial profiling, their correct application can help in managing threats to society. The key is to ensure that the law enforcement agencies understand the motivations and criminal mindset in order to make it easier to anticipate and unravel crimes. As a forensic psychologist, I will also be involved in the provision of evidence-based information to help in the development of working practices and policies, advice parole boards and mental health tribunals, give expert testimonies in courts and train law enforcement officers.

Affective and predatory Violence

Affective violence involves heightened levels of sympathetic or autonomic arousal (characterized by emotions of fear and/or anger) in response to perceived imminent threats. It is reactive impulsive, hostile, expressive/emotional, with its primary objective being self-preservation/protection. Displays of such violence stem from motor functions as against affective behaviour or experience. On the other hand, predatory or instrumental violence is bereft of emotion, and it is not vented in response to any threat. Instead, it is deliberately/cognitively planned or goal-oriented. Experimental research has demonstrated that offenders that commit impulsive/affective homicide exhibit different patterns of anomalous activation of different regions of the brain compared to predatory homicide offenders who show generally reduced executive functioning of the brain (Meloy, 2006; McEllistrem, 2004). Predatory violence is associated with psychopathic personality traits as against anti-social and lifestyle factors. According to Meloy (2006), psychopathic criminals mostly engage in both instrumental and affective violence than non-psychopathic offenders, mostly due to the fact that they exhibit low levels autonomic reactivity or arousal that allows them to disidentify and emotional detach themselves from their victims (McEllistrem, 2004; Meloy, 2006).
As a future forensic psychologist, I believe I would have distinctly different attitudes and feelings towards individuals who exhibit affective and predatory modes of violence. With regard to the affectively violent clients, I think I will struggle to understand them because I feel they need help and can overcome their violent ways if they learn to deal with their emotions better. I will think them as victims of their own circumstances. However, with regard to people who exhibit instrumental violence, I think I will always be quietly disgusted by the sheer evil that such people are capable of and the need to ensure that they are kept away from possible victims.


Harcourt, B. E. (2004). Rethinking Racial Profiling: A Critique of the Economics, Civil Liberties, and Constitutional literature, and of Criminal Profiling More Generally. University of Chicago Law Review Volume 71, Number 4, 1275-1322.
McEllistrem, J. E. (2004). Affective and Predatory Violence: A bimodal Classification System of Human Aggression and Violence. Journal of Aggression and Violent Behaviour 10, 1-30.
Meloy, R. (2006). Empirical Basis and Forensic Application of Affective and Predatory Violence. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 40, 539-547.
Prospects. (2015, Jan 17). Forensic psychologist. Retrieved Feb 28, 2015, from
Reno, J., Fisher, R., Robinson, L., Berennan, N., & Travis, J. (1998). Protective Intelligence and Threat Assessment Investigation: A Guide for Local and State Enforcement Officials. Washintom, DC: US Department of Justice.

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