Legal psychology from social psychology historical introduction of forensic psychology

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Humans are social beings that form part of a culture wherein social 
psychology plays a paramount role by dealing with social factors, 
which influence the behavior of each person. Social psychology is 
a basic science that studies the human being as a social entity. This 
branch is related to society, mass movements, and social issues as it 
approaches the development and the attitude changes, group dynamics, 
competitions, cooperation, difficulties, and social influence. All of 
this is reflected in the relationships between individuals, and also in 
the relationship individual-society. Social psychology is particularly 
interested in describing the characteristics of people, such as their 
values, behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, habits, expectations, cognitions, 
among others.
Moscovici (1994) and Martín-Baró (1987) agree on the 
fact that what concerns social psychology is the study of the ideological 
and communication elements of social beings both as individuals and 
as part of a group. These phenomena are characterized because they 
comprise behavioral and attitudinal systems wherein the individual 
is integrated. As an example, we can mention families, industries
hospitals, prisons, among many others, within which exist social 
interaction and the exchange of signals, symbols, emotions, feelings, 
and cognitions, assigned by contents historically referred and valued. 
Thereby, these components become part of the psychosocial factors 
that affect the development of the construction and the behavior of 
people (In Porras, 2009).
One of the application areas of social psychology that presents 
a higher specialization is the one applied to law. Muñoz, Bayés y 
consider that psychology and law are social and human 
behavior sciences. Therefore, they converge on the fact that both 
share the same intervention object: human behavior. Historically, 
we can highlight the works of Stern, Binet & Münstererg
related to 
the truthfulness of testimony, where psychology was used to provide 
elements for legal procedures. Subsequently, we can refer to the 
insertion of psychology into the work of judges, who established the 
importance of the juridical psychologism due to the extensive number 
of terms and psychological behaviors that were described on the laws. 
And finally, the development of forensic psychology in the 1970s, 
which resulted in an increase in the number of publications related to 
the creation of personality profiles of criminals, juridical evaluations 
of mental weaknesses, the crime and testimony psychology, and the 
insertion of psychology professionals into the penitentiary sectors. 
The application of psychology into the juridical area gave rise to 
Legal Psychology, defined as the study, explanation, promotion, 
evaluation, prevention, counseling and treatment of the psychological, 
behavioral and relational aspects which impact on the legal behavior 
of people through the use of scientific methodology for the assistance, 
improvement, and justice application.
mentions that Legal Psychology is a philosophical 
conceptual framework that establishes the psychological and social 
procedures of the law, allowing its understanding and application 
into the real criminal behavior field. However, the applied branch of 
legal psychology is the forensic one, which functions are to provide 
support for law enforcement by assisting the judge, and helping to 
clarify the judicial facts and acts. Urra & Vásquez
define Forensic 
Psychology as the science that studies the psychology application into 
the justice-related problems and that cooperates with its management 
for a better law enforcement. Forensic psychology goals are to find 
out the reasons which induce a person to commit a crime, what are 
the meanings of the criminal’s behavior, the lack of concern in being 
punished, and the inability to give up those behaviors. Therefore, its 
main function lies in drafting forensic reports, which according to 
Muñoz, Bayés y Munné
are objective and unbiased opinions issued 
by the legal experts, specialized in their science and skills, who 
through their scientific, artistic, or practical knowledge, attest the 
existence of a fact and its nature. The forensic report issued by the 
legal expert concerning its main expertise field is a piece of evidence 
within judicial procedures (legal, civil, family, or labor law) that needs 
to be examined by a judge who will enter a judgment. Thus, we can 
say psychology professionals are critical in assessing human social 
behaviors, their motivations, and consequences according to the 
litigation process.
Forensic Res Criminol Int J.

©2023 Robles. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which 
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.
Legal psychology from social psychology. historical 
introduction of forensic psychology
Volume 11 Issue 1 - 2023
Alba Luz Robles Mendoza 
Faculty of Higher Studies Iztacala, National Autonomous 
University of Mexico, Mexico

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