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Syndromes: Psychological

  1. Carl N. Edwards

Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470061589.fsa316

Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science

Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science

How to Cite

Edwards, C. N. 2009. Syndromes: Psychological. Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science. .

Author Information

  1. Four Oaks Institute, Dover, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2009


After a decade of debate and publicity, the legal status of the most advanced behavioral science contributions to the criminal justice process remain wedded to fundamental concepts that would be easily recognized by the twelfth century jurist Henry de Bracton were he with us today. In order for syndrome evidence to be admissible, the physical, emotional, or mental condition addressed by the evidence must be presented in a manner that meets the scientific requirements for legal evidence. Expert testimony concerning a trait of an accused may only be used as evidence that the accused possesses such a trait. It must be left to the jury to determine whether and how such a trait may influence its view of the facts of the case. Although the term syndrome may appear to give behavioral evidence an aura of scientific respectability, such labels themselves do nothing to enhance the stature of the substantive underlying observations. In fact, if anything, good science and credible observation are more readily accepted without them.


  • battered spouse syndrome;
  • black rage syndrome;
  • child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome;
  • postraumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • psychological syndromes;
  • recovered memory syndrome;
  • rape trauma syndrome;
  • Stockholm syndrome;
  • vietnam survivor syndrome