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May 05 , 2010

Emotion and the Law

Psychological Perspectives


From questions surrounding motives to the concept of crimes of passion, the intersection of emotional states and legal practice has long interested professionals as well as the public—recent cases involving extensive pretrial publicity, highly charged evidence, and instances of jury nullification continue to make the subject particularly timely. With these trends in mind, Emotion and the Law brings a rich tradition in social psychology into sharp forensic focus in a unique interdisciplinary volume. Emotion, mood and affective states, plus patterns of conduct that tend to arise from them in legal contexts, are analyzed in theoretical and practical terms, using real-life examples from criminal and civil cases. From these complex situations, contributors provide answers to bedrock questions—what roles affect plays in legal decision making, when these roles are appropriate, and what can be done so that emotion is not misused or exploited in legal procedures—and offer complementary legal and social/cognitive perspectives on these and other salient issues: Positive versus negative affect in legal decision making, emotion, eyewitness memory, and false memory, the influence of emotions on juror decisions, and legal approaches to its control, a terror management theory approach to the understanding of hate crimes, policy recommendations for managing affect in legal proceedings, additional legal areas that can benefit from the study of emotion.

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Emotion and the Law clarifies theoretical grey areas, revisits current practice, and suggests possibilities for both new scholarship and procedural guidelines, making it a valuable reference for psycho legal researchers, forensic psychologists, and policymakers.

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