Forensic Neuropsychology: Conceptual Foundations and Clinical Practice

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Haworth Press, 1995 - Law - 341 pages
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Forensic Neuropsychology presents in-depth knowledge about brain function and the state-of-the-art techniques for the assessment of brain function in a legal (forensic) context. It also explores how experts successfully or unsuccessfully use this knowledge to defend the notion that “my brain caused me to commit the crime” in criminal and civil courts. Author Jose Valciukas focuses on the difficulties of extracting accurate medical and psychological information from individuals who are motivated to suggest that something or nothing is wrong with them. This is clearly illustrated through case histories woven into each chapter.

This source book gives readers a panoramic view of the science, technology, and art and advocacy on brain disorders, crime, and personal responsibility. Lawyers and legal experts will find Forensic Neuropsychology a valuable tool in their preparation of criminal or civil cases. It provides a large number of vistas, examples, case reports, and references where the link between brain disorder and crime can or cannot be argued and if such a link could or could not stand a chance to be successfully argued in court.

Forensic Neuropsychology is organized in four major parts. Part I describes the scope and the history of neuropsychology in general and forensic psychology in particular. Part II contains the nuts and bolts of the forensic neuropsychological evaluation. Part III describes 11 brain disorders and handicapping conditions that are commonly found to be the focus of the neuropsychological evaluation. Part IV contains one essay on conceptual links relating brain disorder to crimes and another on the history and prospects of forensic neuropsychology.

Mental health workers--including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses--have been increasingly called upon to testify in criminal and civil court. Forensic Neuropsychology provides background cases to assist mental health professionals who must prepare for :
  • criminal law cases in which individuals claim that brain disorders have “caused” the crime and created a “diminished capacity” to know and appreciate the nature and consequences of their behavior
  • civil and tort law cases involving individuals who have been or are afflicted by brain disorder and other handicapping conditions as a result of traumatic conditions (i.e. car accidents), work accidents, and exposures to neurotoxic agents in the environment.

    Clinical psychologists with little training in biological psychology would benefit from reading chapters concerned with clinical neuropsychology; clinical neuropsychologists who are experts in specific aspects of criminal or civil law would be interested in application of knowledge about brain and behavioral disorders to legal issues; and students of the epidemiology of crime would be interested to know how difficult it is to obtain reliable information pertaining to individual behavior and crime.

    Translated into Japanese!

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