Deception detection findings are currently inadmissible in court. Imagine that the courts are
currently revising this decision and they come to you, as a Forensic Psychologist, for advice. Your
aim is to critically evaluate psychological research on one form of lie detection (e.g., polygraph,
nonverbal cues, content analysis) and provide your opinion about whether it should be admissible in
court. Your response should include a critical review of the available research and your
recommendations must be clearly justified in light of the empirical evidence.
The reports will be assessed against the following criteria:
1) Identify relevant psychological research. State the psychological research that is relevant
to the topic.
2) Clear description of relevant psychological research. Identify and describe psychological
research which is relevant to the issue. Demonstrate an understanding of the psychological
research, methodologies, and the conclusions that should be drawn.
3) Critical evaluation of the psychological research. Identify the strengths and weaknesses
of the cited research (e.g., Is the methodology appropriate? Is there an adequate sample size?
Is it ecologically valid? Are the claims the authors make justified in light of the evidence
5) Statement of implications (research, policy and/or practice). Demonstrate an ability to
interpret and synthesise the psychological research in order to identify possible implications
based on the research cited. These may be policy implications (e.g., need to change law),
research implications (e.g., need for more or different research on a particular topic or using
a particular method), or practice implications (e.g., need for provision of a particular type of
6) Formatting and presentation. Essay should be written clearly and concisely with
appropriate grammar and spelling. Referencing should be in accordance with APA
publication guidelines (e.g., footnote references and bibliographies are not appropriate).
Some Tips for Students
Remember this is a psychology course – you must make the psychological aspects of your
chosen topic clear. That is, this isn’t a law paper, so you should focus on the psychological
research and not legal issues (e.g., citing laws, case outcomes etc.).
Clearly define what your topic is and which aspects of this topic you will explore in your
Don’t try to cover too much – it is best to concentrate on only a few issues in detail rather
than trying to cover several different issues.
Try not to rely too much on direct quotes. It is better if you make the arguments in your own
words to show that you have a good understanding of the issue. At a maximum, you should
have one quote for every 1000 words.
You should formulate your own opinions on the topics and not rely solely on conclusions
and arguments made by others. But, you should still always use research findings to justify
You MUST undertake a search of relevant psychological literature and you must cite and
describe some of this research (i.e., use the library and approved research databases such as
PsycINFO, and NOT Wikipedia or other miscellaneous websites)……………………..
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