Activities for Teaching Psychology and Law:
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
Psychology instructors know that experiential activities help spark students' interest and deepen their critical thinking skills and understanding of course content.
This exciting compilation offers a wide variety of such activities for courses in psychology and law. The activities incorporate individual and group work, videos, reading materials, classroom discussions, homework assignments, and lots of interactive exercises.
With clear, detailed instructions and guidance, this book provides everything needed to enliven topics such as jury selection, criminal profiling, and eyewitness memory. A companion website provides free handouts and videos to support these activities.
Suggested modifications enable instructors to adapt activities to different class sizes, time constraints, and delivery formats.
The book will be a useful resource for both novice and seasoned instructors to enhance students' mastery of complex psycholegal topics.
- Fact or Fiction: Psychology and Law in the Media
- Legality Versus Morality Debate
- A Brief Trial
- Who Do You Want? The Voir Dire Process
- Psychological Profile of a Murder Suspect
- Voices for Victims
- To Protect and Serve: Training Law Enforcement
- Do You See What I See? Eyewitness Identification
- To Waive or Not to Waive? Miranda Rights and Due Process
- Evaluating Juvenile Competency to Stand Trial
- A Journey Through Civil Commitment
- Do You Swear to Tell the Truth? Expert Testimony
- Can We Predict? Appraising and Reducing Risk
- Freeze! What's a Juvenile Justice Facility to Do?
- Problem Solved? Creating a Problem-Solving Court
- May It Please the Court: Amicus Curiae Brief
- What Would SCOTUS Do?
- Appendix A: Written Assignment Grading Rubric
- Appendix B: Participation Grading Rubric
- Appendix C: Presentation Grading Rubric
- Appendix D: Group and Self-Evaluation Form
- Appendix E: Sample Activity Feedback Survey
About the Authors
Amanda D. Zelechoski, JD, PhD, ABPP, is an associate professor of psychology at Valparaiso University, where she primarily teaches courses in psychology and law, child and adolescent psychopathology, professional development in psychology, psychotherapy and counseling, and Inside-Out prison exchange courses.
She is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist and attorney, as well as a risk management consultant for The Trust. In addition to best practices in teaching and training in psychology and law, her research focuses on the intersection of psychology, law, and trauma, particularly related to forensic and mental health assessment, delinquency, and child custody and welfare.
Dr. Zelechoski received her BA from the University of Notre Dame, her MS and PhD from Drexel University, and her JD from Villanova University School of Law. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute (Brookline, MA) and is board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology.
She received the 2016 American Psychology–Law Society Early Career Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award and the 2014 Valparaiso University Arts & Sciences Emerging Teacher Award.
Melinda Wolbransky, JD, PhD, is a licensed attorney and clinical and forensic psychologist in Los Angeles, California, where she is the evaluation manager for Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center's Conditional Release Program, providing psychological evaluations, expert witness testimony, and court liaison services for Los Angeles and San Diego counties.
She has taught various psychology and law, general psychology, and criminal justice classes at several universities, including John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Drexel University, and the University of New Haven.
She specializes in online teaching formats, having spent the past 4 years modifying course content and related experiential activities to an online setting. In addition to conducting research on effective ways to teach psychology and law, she also looks at how jury decision-making (particularly those in capital cases) is affected by evidence related to the defendant's mental illness.
Dr. Wolbransky received her BS, MS, and PhD from Drexel University and her JD from Villanova University School of Law.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling, running, and making the most of the California sunshine.
Christina L. Riggs Romaine, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology at Wheaton College, where she teaches courses in psychology and law, child psychopathology, and research methodology.
She is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate with the National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners, providing training to juvenile justice stakeholders on implementation of evidence-based risk assessment and practices. In addition to best practices in teaching and training in law and psychology, her research focuses on the juvenile justice system and youth's understanding and appreciation of rights, as well as factors influencing their risk-taking decisions.
Dr. Riggs Romaine received her BA from Gordon College and her MS and PhD from Drexel University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Before joining academia, she was a full-time clinician in the Essex County Juvenile Court Clinic, where she provided forensic mental health evaluations for the court and served as an expert witness.
This superb book illustrates important questions in psychology and law, and provides exercises to integrate with other teaching activities. It will interest anyone involved in undergraduate, graduate, internship, fellowship, or continuing education training in psychology-law areas. Highly recommended!
—Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
There are so many great ideas in this book that even the most experienced teachers will be impressed. This thoughtful, well-organized guide should be on every faculty member's desk.
—Barry Rosenfeld, PhD, Department of Psychology, Fordham University, Bronx, NY
This innovative book provides meaningful learning activities that introduce students to the interdisciplinary complexities of behavior in the criminal justice system. The comprehensive experiential exercises offer a unique learning opportunity for involving students in the roles and practice of professionals in the legal system.
—Garrett L. Berman, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI