Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science

Psychology and law

Psychology and Law research applies psychological principles to better understand and improve police procedures, laws and the legal system. This research focuses on non-clinical issues, such as the investigative procedures used by police and the information presented in the courtroom.

Beyond its applications to the justice system, this research furthers our understanding of various phenomena by developing and contributing to theories examining:

  • people’s perceptions of fairness
  • jurors’ decision-making
  • offenders’ approaches to alternative dispute resolution procedures
  • people’s fear of crime beliefs
  • public support for preventive detention
  • eyewitness’ memories for events and people.

Our research in this area focuses on:

  • Improving eyewitness identification procedures and determining the best way to present various types of evidence in the courtroom
  • Applying the principles of procedural fairness to investigate the motivations driving law enforcement officers to determine the fairness and propriety of interviewing procedures
  • Evaluating jurors’ understanding of the law and developing methods to improve their legal comprehension.

Our staff members in this research area are working with collaborators at research institutions around Australia:

In addition, we have a number of collaborators at leading international research institutions:

Beyond academic collaborations, researchers in this stream have also worked and consulted with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Victorian Department of Justice, the Queensland Police Service, attorneys, and the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration.

Research staff

Chair: Dr Jennifer Beaudry

Indicative publications