Course Syllabus

Forensic Psychology

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2023 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Gothenburg, Edinburgh

Major Disciplines:

Psychology, Criminology/Criminal justice, Sociology


One psychology course at university level.

Faculty Members:

Meiling Liu, PhD (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Program Director:

Suman Ambwani, PhD

Academic Support: 

Time & Place:

Days: Mondays & Thursdays 

Time: 14.50-16.10

Room: 1D-409

Course Description

Prerequisite: A course in psychology at the university level.

What makes people commit crime? Are there gender differences? What is the role of memory? How are assessments and interventions conducted with those convicted of a serious crime, or those who have been the victim of a crime?  Forensic psychology will be explored from individual to societal levels, with critical analysis of and examples from a European perspective.

This course will provide a detailed overview of current research issues and theories in forensic psychology. The goal of this course is to introduce you to some representative areas of forensic psychology and to teach you how psychology research contributes to the legal system. You will be introduced to the methods used by forensic psychologists to prevent crimes by exploring a number of studies devoted to topics related to forensic psychology.

This course will give you a sense of what forensic psychologists have discovered, how they have made these discoveries, and how it contributes to the legal system.

You will be introduced to and acquire knowledge about the following topics related to the study of forensic psychology:

  • The comparison of legal system: USA vs. Nordic countries
  • Victimology
  • Eyewitness
  • Deception detection
  • False confessions
  • Interrogative techniques
  • Juries and decision making

Learning Objectives

  • Contrast the Nordic countries’ legal system with the American one.
  • Describe the psychological theories of crime, and explain criminal activities.
  • Identify the elements involved in false confessions and distinguish those issues from a Nordic perspective.
  • Evaluate the psychological evidence regarding eyewitness memory and the methods involved in interviewing techniques.
  • Explain the psychological aspects of legal proceedings such as jury decision making.
  • Define the causes and different processes involved in false confession
  • Describe psychological principles involved in deception detection.
  • Explain the focus shift of victimology, and care shift for victims.
  • Develop knowledge of the field of treatment for offenders and victims.


Meiling Liu, DIS Stockholm faculty

Meiling Liu

Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology (China University of Political Science and Law, 2010). Post Doctorate in Forensic Psychology (Gothenburg University, 2012). Dr. Liu has worked as an organizational consultant in areas of leadership and cross-cultural competence training in Sweden. Previously, Dr. Liu worked as a teacher and researcher at universities in China, and was promoted to the position of associate professor in China. Dr. Liu has been with DIS since 2016.


1. Required Textbook (E-book):

Davies, G., & Beech, A. (2018). Forensic Psychology: Crime, justice, law, Intervention (3rd Eds). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

2. Required Articles and Other Media on Canvas:

Bond, C. F., Jr., Levine, T.R., & Hartwig, M. (2015). New findings in nonverbal lie detection. In P.A. Granhag, A. Vrij, & B. Vershuere (Eds.), Deception detection: Current Challenges and Cognitive Approaches (pp. 37-58). Chichester: Wiley.

Boppre, B., & Miller, M. K. (2014). How victim and execution impact statements affect mock jurors’ perceptions, emotions, and verdicts. Victims & Offenders, 9(4), 413-435. 

Chrobak, Q. M., & Zaragoza, M. S. (2011).  When forced fabrications become truth: causal explanations and false memory development. Jouranl of Experimental Psychology, 142, 827-844. 

Fox, B. H., & Farrington, D.P. (2012). Creating burglary profiles using latent class analysis: A new approach to offender profiling. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39 (12), 1582-1611.

Granhag, P. A. (Ed) (2010).  Forensic Psychology in Context: Nordic and International Approaches. London: Routledge. Chapter 2, pp14-32. 

Grønnerød, C., Grøndahl, P., & Stridbeck, U. (2016) Forensic psychiatric experts under the legal microscope. Legal and Criminological Psychology, Vol. 21, 15–24.

Jakobsson, A., von Borgstede, C., Krantz, G., Spak, F. & Hensing G. (2012). Possibilities and hindrances for prevention of intimate partner violence: Perceptions among professionals and decision makers in a Swedish medium-sized town. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 337-343.

Kassin, S. M., Drizin, S. A., Grisso, T., Gudjonsson, G. H., Leo, R.A., & Redlich, A.D. (2010). Police-induced confessions: risk factors and recommendations. Law and Human Behavior, 34 (1), 3-38.

Kendler, K. S., Larsson Lönn, S., Morris, N. A., Sundquist, J., Långström, N., & Sundquist, K. (2014). A Swedish national adoption study of criminality, Psychological Medicine, 44, 1913-1925.

Khoshnood, A., Ohlsson, H., Sundquist, J., & Sundquist, K. (2020). Deadly violence in Sweden: Profiling offenders through a latent class analysis. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 71.

Landström, S., Strömwall, L. A., & Alfredsson, H. (2016). Blame attributions in sexual crimes: Effects of belief in a just world and victim behavior, Nordic Psychology, 68 (1), 2-11.

Magnussen, S., Wise, R. A., Raja, A. Q., Safer, M. A., Pawlenko, N., & Stridbeck, U. (2008).  What judges know about eyewitness testimony: A comparison of Norwegian and US judges. Psychology, Crime & Law, 14(3), 177-188.

Millen, A, E., Hope, L., Hillstrom, A.P., & Vrij, A. (2017). Tracking the truth: the effect of face familiarity on eye fixations during deception. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70 (5), 930-943.

Narchet, F. M., Meissner, C. A., & Russano, M. B. (2011). Modeling the influence of investigator bias on the elicitation of true and false confessions. Law Human behavior, 35, 452-465.

Rozmann, N., & Walsh, S. D. (2018). Perceived threat, blaming attribution, victim ethnicity and punishment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 66, 34-40.

Skinner, C. M., Andrews, S. J., & Lamb, M. E. (2019). The disclosure of alleged child sexual abuse: an investigation of criminal court transcripts from Scotland. Psychology, Crime & Law, 25(5), 458-481.

Thorley, C., Dewhurst, S. A., Abel J. W., & Knott M. L. (2016). Eyewitness memory: The impact of a negative mood during encoding and/or retrieval upon recall of a non-emotive event, Memory, 24 (6), 838-852. 

Stridbeck, U. (2020) Coerced-Reactive Confessions: The Case of Thomas Quick, Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, 20(4), 305-322, DOI: 10.1080/24732850.2020.1732758

Vredeveldt, A., Hildebrandt, A., & van Koppen, P. J. (2016). Acknowledge, repeat, rephrase, elaborate: Witnesses can help each other remember more, Memory, 24(5), 669-682.  

Wixted, J. T., Mickes, L., & Fisher, R. P. (2018). Rethinking the Reliability of Eyewitness Memory. Perspectives on Psychological Science,13(3), 324–335.

Woodhams, J., Hollin, C.R., & Bull, R. (2007). The psychology of linking crimes: A review of the evidence. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 12, 233–249.

Field Studies 

1.  Visiting Mansjouren in Stockholm

Description: There will be a presentation by Tero, an employee of Mansjouren, a short tour of the facility, and followed by asking questions and discussions. 

Objectives: You will be exploring a non-political and non-religious organization that provides support and protection to men in crisis. By visiting the organization, you will be able to deepen your class learning in areas of victim service. 

2. Visiting Fempowerment (TBA)

Description:  The director Gisela Rossi Santillan and her colleague Sally Al-Tai will present the unique perspective that Fempowerment highlights on supporting survivors of domestic violence who have a non-Nordic background and identified as a woman, girl or non-binary in Sweden. 

Objectives: Fempowerment is a non-profit organization that supports and helps women, girls and non-binaries of non-Nordic origin, whom been subjected to domestic violence.  It is a feminist and anti-racist organization that is religiously and politically independent.

Note: The filed studies are subject to change due to pandemic. 

Core Course week/Short Tour: Gothenburg

A closer view of forensic psychology research and practice in Sweden

Purpose: This study tour provides you with the opportunity to explore the field of Forensic psychology and various practices in Sweden. Academic visits on tour will include meeting with forensic psychology researchers and practitioners and visiting various institutions working in the field of forensic psychology.

In addition to the academic activities on study tour, the study tour program is supplemented with cultural visits and events. In the past, cultural visits have included touring castles, museum visits, and experiencing traditional Swedish food at local restaurants.

Timing: Short Study Tour February 6th-8th

Academic visits: (TBA)

  • Meet with one of the European leading research groups: The Research Unit for Criminal, Legal and Investigative Psychology (CLIP)
  • Visit the Swedish criminal probation service: Half way house (Halvvägshuset) 
  • Visit Association related to sexually exploited children and youth (ATSUB)

Assignment: Group presentation (see Assignments)

Long Study tour: Scotland

Crime prevention and offender intervention in Scotland: find out what works

Purpose: On the tour to Scotland, you will be able to explore the field of forensic psychology by meeting with researchers, psychologists, social workers and people representing the justice system as well as organizations working in the field. You will have a profound understanding of the Scottish politics and policy take effect on the criminal justice system, as well as on the crime prevention and offenders intervention in Scotland. The tour will also allow you to explore the culture of the county more thoroughly by attending performances and visiting museum exhibitions.

Timing: April 16th -21st

Academic visits: (TBA)

  • Visit the juvenile delinquency educational and treatment service: Kibble Education and Care Centre
  • Visit a Scotland-wide voluntary organization that works with a broad range of people, including those harmed by crime and those responsible for that harm, and provides services that contribute to positive transformational changes in the lives of our service users: Sacro
  • Visit the organization that provides advice to Ministers and local government leaders to strengthen how public services, third sector and other partners work together to prevent and reduce further offending: Community Justice Scotland
  • Visit the Domestic Abuse Against Women prevention organization: Shakti Women’s Aid Edinburgh
  • Visit Edinburgh police station

Assignment: Study tour reflection paper (see Assignments)

Guest Lecturers

Dr. Malin Pauli is a licensed Psychologist, and Board Certified Specialist in Clinical Psychology/Neuropsychology.

Robert Örell is an independent expert and consultant, co-chair of the European Commission's Radicalization Awareness Network's (RAN) Rehabilitation Working Group, former director of Exit Sweden and former program director at Exit USA. 

The lecture will be introducing the program of Exit from violent extremism, more specifically, on theoretical and practical aspects of the disengagement from violent extremism. Exit support individuals to disengage from violent right-wing extremist groups in Sweden. The approach focuses on reintegration, leaving violent behaviors and mindset, and building a new social identity. To leave violent extremism can be a complicated process and involves a substantial internal change. Exit´s support consists of a multi-agency cooperation with different actors such as law enforcement for protection and safety, social services, and housing.

Approach to Teaching

I strive to create an interactive learning environment, in which you are expected to play an active and participatory role and being involved in discussion, asking questions and by completing tasks/assignments. You will be the center of the learning process, which means that you are not expected be a passive recipient of knowledge, but an explorer of theories and research findings. The goal is for you to develop your knowledge of the field of forensic psychology in its’ applied and research questions and problems.

My role as teacher is to help you strengthen the collective experience of the classroom in a shared learning experience.  The goal is to stimulate you to think, to help you explore and be productive, and to familiarize you with cutting-edge research. A variety of teaching methods will be used, including lectures, case studies, class discussions, group presentations, interactive classroom activities and multi-media to facilitate the understanding of theory, research and their cultural implications.

Collaboration is highly valued in this course, and you are expected to work both individually and in groups. Respect for other’s opinions and experience is a necessary requirement for this class.

Expectations of the Students

The success of this course is hinged on not only my ability to communicate ideas and concepts, but our ability to create an environment conducive to learning. You are expected to treat each other with respect, and be tolerant to different opinions. Any kind of biases and prejudices are not acceptable in the class.

In class we will use a case-lecture-discussion format and failure to adequately prepare for class will prevent effective participation. I expect you to have done the reading for each class and to come with notes and questions for me and for the other students. This will give us material to generate conversation.

Please note the following rules:

  1. Hand in assignments on time.
  2. Complete all readings prior to class.
  3. This course will rely heavily on the Canvas system, and you will be responsible for checking updated information on Canvas.
  4. Be punctual and attend all classes; missing classes without a legitimate excuse will result in a lower final grade.
  5. Cell Phones, Laptop, and Related technology: Please bring a notebook and pen to class for taking notes, and only use laptops when instructed for specific activities. Please switch your cell phone off and resist the urge to text.


A number of diverse tasks will be given throughout the semester to address learning objectives. Emphasis will be on engaged participation, and may include individual and/or group based written/oral tasks. Projects may be given that will explore topics experientially.

To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work.


Methods of Evaluation

How is it evaluated?

(Individual or group)

Due Date


Engaged Participation

As indicated by class attendance, speaking up/asking questions/giving feedback in class, one in-class presentation of class reading
 Individual  Ongoing


Group Presentation Based On Core Course Week


February 16 & 20


False Confession Analytical Paper


March 8


Final Video Project

 Group  April 3 20%

Long Study Tour Reflection Paper

 Individual May 2 25%




Engaged Participation (20%):

Participation in class requires arriving on time and being prepared in relation to readings and other assignments and one class-reading presentation. Your participation grade reflects the importance of being active in this course, which relies in great part on the reflections, discussions, and exercises in class. Active participation is essential in both the classroom, on study tours, and in group work. Attendance is mandatory. Furthermore, you will complete a class presentation of one peer-reviewed paper. 

Group Presentation Based On Core Course Week (15%)

You are expected to complete a 20-minute group presentation with your group members on February 16th & 20th. You will be required to survey a topic that is related to academic visits during the core course week, summarize your key findings from your survey, evaluate problems and suggest solutions by referring them to theories/research that you have learned in the class. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.

False Confession Analytical Paper (20%)

Your will choose your “favorite” false confession case, analyze reasons why false confession occurred in this specific case, and propose solutions for preventing false confessions. A 5-6 page paper on this topic will be due on March 8th . Analyses and solutions should be evidence-based. More information on the paper will be handed out in class.

Final Video Project (20%)

This is a group project, consisting of you and two fellow students who will collaborate on the creation of a 10-minute video production due on April 3rd.You will choose a topic and apply one case from the real world in relation to it or an act of crime case from criminal TV shows or movies, apply research to prove that it was, in fact, a wrongdoing and communicate accurate knowledge to your audience.

The video should consist of the following sections. Section one: 2-3 minutes, an actual criminal case addressing misconduct occurred at any stage of the criminal justice process. Section two: 5-6 minutes, analyses of the misconduct supported by conclusions based on cited sources or research findings. Section three: 2 minutes, a summary of takeaways from your video. The video should consist of a list of 4 peer-reviewed articles you cited.

There are different video formats you can choose from: film, traditional presentation, animated presentation, Powerpoint presentation etc.

Long Study Tour Reflection Paper (25%)

A thoughtful reflection incorporating two objectives below to the focus of the long study tour in Scotland. A 5-6 page reflection paper on this topic will be due on May 2nd. More information will be hand out in class.

Stated objectives

1. Theories in explaining why people commit crimes

2. Approaches to crime prevention

3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the approach 

Detailed assignment descriptions and/or rubrics will be made available on Assignments on Canvas and/or in class. 

Policy on late papers

There will be a grade deduction for late submission. See rubrics.

Use of laptops or phones in class

Laptops/Tablets/iPads are not allowed to be open in the classroom unless agreed upon for specified tasks such as article reading and/or for discussion purposes and/or note-taking. Cellular phones must be switched off during class.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

 DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due