Category Archives: Assessment

Rind controversy redux: Psychological sequelae of adult-child sexual contact.

Forensic psychologists may be called upon to render opinions concerning psychological harm following adult-child sexual contact. Rind et al. (1998) examined assumed properties of CSA and found that psychological harm is variable. They found that family environment was consistently confounded with CSA, and explained considerably more adjustment variance than CSA. CSA-adjustment relations generally became nonsignificant […]

Voluntariness of Confessions

Forensic psychologists working in criminal proceedings must be acquainted with the law and behavioral science of confessions. Voluntariness of confessions is a deep mainstay of confession law, reflected in the Miranda decision. Miranda requires that a confession be voluntary, knowing, and intelligent, though discrimination between the latter two prongs is murky. On the issue of […]

Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) — a method for de-biasing forensic decision making

I recently attended a three day workshop on school, campus, and workplace threat assessment and became acquainted with ACH. It is a methodology developed by the CIA and is used to consider evidence when factors are complex or ambiguous. Given the many factors that can influence forensic decision making, including examiner decision thresholds, cost of […]

New variety of shark sighted in Hawaii waters

Readers may remember my post on “Swimming with Sharks” a few months back–a set of guidelines and admonishments to clinicians working in and around the Hawaii Family Court. Well, a new variety of shark has recently been sighted in Hawaii waters. These are mainland forensic psychologists who have started coming to Hawaii to sell their […]

Forensic Clinician’s Toolbox I — CST Instruments published in Journal of Personality Assessment

My recent review in JPA got a nice boost from Ken Pope and Karen Franklin. Many thanks. A PDF copy of the article is available online.

New Developments in Psychopathy

Jennifer Skeem and her colleagues have challenged the status quo in recent controverises concerning the definition and measurement of psychopathy. Is psychopathy a unitary entity (a global syndrome with a discrete underlying cause) or rather is it a configuration of several distinguishable but intersecting trait dimensions? Is psychopathy synonymous with criminal behavior? Is there a positive-adjustment type of […]

Dummy’s Guide to Forensic Risk Assessment

A risk assessment identifies risk factors, anticipated level of risk, and necessary risk reduction and management strategies. Conclusion language utilizes specification of risk factors and risk reduction strategies that may mitigate identified risk factors. Risk assessments should include both risk likelihood and risk reduction. Risk assessment assumes probability of recurrence in the absence of risk […]

Is the testimony of experts at child sex abuse trials helpful?

The testimony of experts in child sex abuse trials is controversial. There are serious legal constraints on expert testimony concerning credibility of the witness, properly the domain of the trier of fact (see US vs. Brooks, a court martial, where my testimony was rejected by a military court of appeals as crossing the line).  Thus, […]

Forensic conundrum: Geriatric competency to stand trial evaluations

Does old age render you incompetent? Incompetent elders have started showing up in increasing numbers, in both civil (testamentary/contractual competency, guardianship proceedings) and criminal arenas (competency to stand trial). We have adopted what we consider a powerful new assessment approach to forensic neurocognitive assessments based on Pearson’s WAIS-IV-WMS-IV-ACS combo and started looking at the data. Table A.2 […]

Clinical Report: Identification and Evaluation of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

This superb article sums up the information comprehensively. Available at the American Academy of Pediatrics website in pdf. http://tinyurl.com/cy4kbq6