Forensic Cognition: Theory, Research and Practice - SP847

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
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7 20 (10) DR C O Ciardha







This module asks what sort of thinking occurs in individuals who sexually molest children, rape adults, or commit acts of violence. Do they think their actions are legitimate in some instances or do they know their actions are wrong but choose to offend nonetheless? Cognition, or thinking, is recognised as being a key component underlying the way people think and behave. Understanding how research on cognition and social cognition can be applied to crime allows researchers and practitioners to shed light on offenders' antisocial behaviours. In this strongly research-based course, you will learn about some of the influential theories that have been developed to help explain offenders’ antisocial actions, the latest cutting-edge research designed to help understand why men offend, and widely used treatment programmes designed to alter cognitive characteristics associated with offending in order to reduce recidivism. This course will not be limited to offenders’ cognition, however. You will also learn about fascinating social-cognitive phenomena associated with child and adult eyewitness testimony, and how memory can play havoc with the criminal justice system.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 170
Total study hours: 200


This module is only available to students registered for the MSc in Forensic Psychology.
Not available wild / optional

Method of assessment

100% Coursework. Formed of a research proposal.

Indicative reading

The module reading list can be found online at

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of forensic-related cognition for a wide range of offender and non-offender groups.
8.2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of socio-cognitive factors that may be relevant at different stages in the criminal justice process.
8.3. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the usefulness and applicability of various research methodologies used to investigate forensic-related cognition.
8.4. Critically evaluate forensic-related cognitive research in the laboratory, field settings, and in court.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1. Critically reason in relation to theory, research, and clinical practice.
9.2. Demonstrate advanced written and oral skills for presenting research-informed arguments.
9.3. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the principles of sound research design.
9.4. Show expertise in design, statistical analysis and evaluation of research

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