FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY AT TAMU
The doctoral program in clinical psychology at TAMU does not offer specific research and training tracks but there are various emphasis areas that graduate students can pursue, including forensic psychology. In addition to the forensic research conducted in Dr. Edens’ lab (described below), several other faculty have research interests relevant to the legal system, such as interests in personality and externalizing behavior problems (Morey, Balsis), malingering and response distortion (Morey), and adult and adolescent substance use (Fields, Morey). Practicum training at TAMU may involve the opportunity to provide clinical services in local jail and juvenile justice settings. Graduate students also conduct mental health evaluations of public safety job applicants (e.g., police, jail staff) through our in-house Psychology Clinic. Elective coursework on clinical psychology and law is offered at the graduate level and students frequently have the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses on forensic psychology. Outside the Psychology Department, numerous other TAMU faculty have interests in a broad range of (non-psychology) forensic topics, including entomology, DNA/genetics, pathobiology, and paleopathology.
- Forensic Psychology
- Personality Assessment
- Psychopathy and Antisocial Conduct
- Risk Assessment
My research interests broadly span the interaction between psychology and the legal system (which is sometimes referred to as forensic psychology). Mostly this research addresses the utility of psychological data (e.g., tests, evaluation procedures) to answer or inform important mental health and legal questions within the criminal justice system (e.g., violence risk assessment, adjudicative competence, personality assessment within correctional settings). My research also focuses on the development and improvement of psychological assessment techniques and instruments, particularly those focusing on personality measurement in forensic and correctional settings. More specifically in relation to personality variables, of particular interest to me is the construct of psychopathy (also termed psychopathic personality disorder) and its growing impact in forensic and correctional decision-making around the world. My research along these lines has focused on more basic issues related to the assessment and measurement of psychopathic traits, as well as more applied issues such as its appropriate role in evaluating various populations within forensic and correctional settings (e.g., children, minorities) and the potentially stigmatizing effects of the label psychopath. I also conduct research on human aggression, particularly related to the assessment and management of violence risk. This research interest cuts across several areas noted above (e.g., forensic assessment, psychopathy, legal decision-making) and has focused primarily on the clinical utility of various violence risk factors in identifying those most (or least) at risk for engaging in aggressive behavior.
- 2013-2016: Augmenting the Research Capacity of the Clinical Psychology Training Program, CO-PI, TAMU
- 2008-2012: Contextual Influences in Prisoner Research (R01 MH081069), PI, NIMH
- 2002-2006: Personality Features in Social Deviancy (R01 MH63783), CO-I, NIMH
RECENT SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
DeMatteo, D., Edens, J. F., *Galloway, M., *Cox, J., *Smith, S. T., & *Formon, D. (2014). The role and reliability of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised in U.S. sexually violent predator evaluations: A case law survey. Law and Human Behavior, 38, 248-255.
Edens, J. F., & Boccaccini, M. T. (2017). Taking forensic mental health assessment ‘out of the lab’ and into ‘the real world’: Introduction to the special issue on the field utility of forensic assessment instruments and procedures. Psychological Assessment, 29, 710-719.
Edens, J. F., *Kelley, S. E., Lilienfeld, S. O., Skeem, J. L., & Douglas, K. S. (2015). DSM-5 antisocial personality disorder: Predictive validity in a prison sample. Law and Human Behavior, 39, 123-129.
Edens, J. F., *Mowle, E.N., Clark, J. W., & Magyar, M. S. (2017). “A psychopath by any other name?” Jury venireperson perceptions of the DSM-5 “limited prosocial emotions” specifier. Journal of Personality Disorders, 31, 90-109.
*Kelley, S. E., van Dongen, J., Donnellan, M. B., Edens, J. F., Eisenbarth, H., Fossati, A., Howner, K., Somma, A., & Sörman, K. (in press). Examination of the Triarchic Assessment Procedure for Inconsistent Responding in six non-English language samples. Psychological Assessment.
*Kelley, S. E., Edens, J. F., & Morey, L. C. (in press). Convergence of self- and informant reports on the Personality Assessment Screener. Assessment.
*Penson, B. N., *Ruchensky, J. R., Edens, J. F., Donnellan, M. B., Vaughn, M., & Eisenbarth, H. (in press). Development and initial validation of an inconsistent responding scale for the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory. Journal of Personality Disorders.
*Rulseh, A., Edens, J. F., & *Cox, J. (2017). Triarchic model personality traits and their impact on mock juror perceptions of a white-collar criminal defendant. Journal of Personality Assessment, 99, 453-464.
*Smith, S., Edens, J. F., Clark, J., & *Rulseh, A. (2014). “So what is a psychopath?” Venireperson perceptions, beliefs and attitudes about psychopathic personality. Law and Human Behavior, 38, 490-500.
*Sörman, K., Edens, J. F., *Smith, S. T., Clark, J. W., Kristiansson, M., & Svensson, O. (2016). Boldness and its relation to psychopathic personality: Prototypicality analyses with forensic mental health, criminal justice, and layperson raters. Law and Human Behavior, 40, 337-349.
*Sörman, K., Edens, J. F., *Smith, S. T., Svensson, O., Howner, K., Kristiansson, M., & Fischer, H. (2016). Forensic mental health professionals’ perceptions of psychopathy: A prototypicality analysis of the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality in Sweden. Law and Human Behavior, 38, 405-417.
*Current or former graduate student co-authors