BEHV 3021 Psychology, Crime and Law

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102399

Coordinator Alina Ewald Opens in new window

Description This subject covers a broad spectrum of issues relevant to legal and forensic psychology. How accurate is a witness's memory? How good are we at identifying a suspect in a line-up? Why do people confess to crimes they never committed? What are good interviewing and interrogation techniques for understanding the truth? How accurate are repressed memories, and how are false memories implanted?

School Psychology

Discipline Behavioural Science

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject


Students must be enrolled in one of the following programs: 1793 Bachelor of Science, Criminology and Psychological Studies, 1834 Bachelor of Psychology, 1711 Bachelor of Social Sciences (Psychology) or 1865 Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). For program 1793 Bachelor of Science, Criminology and Psychological Studies students must have successfully completed 140 credit points and 102223 Investigating Psychology B OR 140 credit points and 101183 Psychology: Behavioural Science and 100013 Experimental Design and Analysis before enrolling in this subject. For program 1834 Bachelor of Psychology, 1711 Bachelor of Social Sciences (Psychology) & 1865 Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) students must have successfully completed 101183 Psychology: Behavioral Science and 100013 Experimental Design and Analysis before enrolling in this subject.

Assumed Knowledge

Introductory knowledge of Psychology, statistics, and research methods.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Describe key concepts theories, studies, methods and debates within criminal and forensic Psychology;
  2. Analyse the theoretical issues in memory distortion;
  3. Summarise the theory and history of repressed memories;
  4. Outline the dangers of memory retrieval practices;
  5. Assess the politics of false memories and repression;
  6. Critique the impact of repressed and recovered memory theory on the legal system and in clinical practice;
  7. Identify the principles and theories of clinical forensic psychology.

Subject Content

  1. Introduction to Psychology, Crime and Law
  2. Criminal Law, Australian Legal and Court System
  3. Psychological Processes: Cognition - Attitudinal Biases, Decision Making and Social Cognition
  4. Psychological Processes: Memory - Eye-witness, False and Implanted Memories
  5. Psychological Processes: Behaviour - Deception and Lies Detection
  6. Forensic Mental Health: Developmental, Social, Environmental Risk Factors
  7. Criminal Justice System: Indigenous Australians
  8. Criminal Justice System : Youth, Gender, Cultural Differences
  9. Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  10. Forensic Interviews and Risk Assessment
  11. Forensic Risk Management and Interventions
  12. Summary and Reflections


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz 5 x 5 multiple choice question quizzes 25 N Individual
Essay 2000 words 35 N Individual
Case Study 2000 words 40 N Individual

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)



Subject Contact Alina Ewald Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window