15. A Century of Psychology and Law

Successes, Challenges, and Future Opportunities

  1. Paul R. Martin1,
  2. Fanny M. Cheung BA PhD2,
  3. Michael C. Knowles MCom (Qld), PhD (Edin)3,
  4. Michael Kyrios4,
  5. J. Bruce Overmier5 and
  6. José M. Prieto6
  1. James R. P. Ogloff JD, PhD, FAPS

Published Online: 20 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444395150.ch15

IAAP Handbook of Applied Psychology

IAAP Handbook of Applied Psychology

How to Cite

Ogloff, J. R. P. (2011) A Century of Psychology and Law, in IAAP Handbook of Applied Psychology (eds P. R. Martin, F. M. Cheung, M. C. Knowles, M. Kyrios, J. B. Overmier and J. M. Prieto), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444395150.ch15

Editor Information

  1. 1

    Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

  2. 2

    Chinese University of Hong Kong

  3. 3

    Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

  4. 4

    Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

  5. 5

    University of Minnesota, USA

  6. 6

    Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

Author Information

  1. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 1 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405193313

Online ISBN: 9781444395150



  • century of psychology and law - successes, challenges and future opportunities;
  • Munsterberg's seminal work, On the Witness Stand: Essays on Psychology and Crime (1908) - contemporary field of psychology and law, passing the first century mark;
  • conventional wisdom, field of psychology and law - marked by Munsterberg's book, On the Witness Stand;
  • legal psychology, umbrella term for field - areas of focus within field, referred to more specifically;
  • rise(s) of the field of legal psychology;
  • legal realism view, in late 1920s and early 1930s - deep and lasting impact on law, legal realism ceasing to be a force by the 1950s;
  • violence risk assessment - discordance between law's expectations, and psychologists and psychiatrists predicting risk, accurately;
  • so-called “second generation” of risk assessment - identification of appropriate variables for prediction of violence, culminating in development of “actuarial” risk assessment tools;
  • SPJ approach, increasing predictive validity of violence risk judgments - Douglas, Ogloff, and Hart (2003), comparing predictive validity of HCR-20 violence risk instrument;
  • law and policy, rationality of empirical outcomes - not always resulting in rational policy development


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • From a Humble Beginning1

  • Defining the Field

  • The Rise(s) of the Field of Legal Psychology

  • Two Examples of Some Success

  • Some Challenges and Opportunities

  • Conclusion

  • Acknowledgment

  • References