Conceptual and Theoretical Issues in Forensic Neuropsychology
Neuroscience is an increasingly popular area of study in forensic psychology, and there is a large body of empirical research emerging investigating the biological basis of offending behaviour. However, the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of forensic neuroscience are currently underdeveloped. The aim of this thesis is to provide insight into the potential issues with forensic neuroscience and provide a number of suggestions for researchers to follow. This thesis begins by outlining these theoretical, conceptual, and empirical issues that researchers should be considering, including conceptualisation of the mind, explanation, and the methodological issues in neuroscience. These issues are then examined in more detail using two specific subject areas as exemplars: deception detection and mind-reading by brain-reading. This thesis concludes with suggestions for future researchers, which include making sure that research is based on a strong theoretical framework, clarity around the kind of explanation employed and use of explanatory pluralism, clear and consistent definitions to improve conceptual validity, using consistent and conceptually valid experimental protocols, and explicit consideration of technical limitations and how they impact the validity of the experiment.