Psychological profiling is a subject in Forensic Psychology that has always interested me. In fact, this is why I am pursuing this career field. Psychological profiling encompasses many categories but for the purpose of this discussion I will refer to psychological profiling as gathering data on an individual, for instance by tests and interviews. Tests such as MMPI-2 ( Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2), is an empirically based assessment for adults and it is part of the individual’s psychological profile. Psychological profiling is used to predict dangerousness in individuals called risk assessment. This assessment comprehends various types of evaluation procedures, interviews, and observations. Risk assessments provide a statistical statement about the chances of violent behavior happening again. However, these results are never certain and only provide a statistical probability of occurrence. Additionally, research has steadily shown that common sense is not a reliable standard to what matters in these assessments ( Bartol, 2011). In fact, statistical models that rely on quantifiable, valid risk factors, are greater than clinical judgment or professional opinion. Furthermore, opinions that rely on intuition and other nonscientific methods, jeopardize the offender profiling in terms of court proceedings.
In light of expert testimony, clinical psychologists and other experts within this field have to present reliable, legally sufficient, and relevant evidence, to the case in hand (Bartol, 2011). The Fyrer standard was replace with the Daubert standard because the first one was considered to be too strict, only accepting “general acceptance” evidence. Approximately 30 states use the Daubert standard for the admission of scientific evidence and it has been an invitation to carefully examine an array of psychological tests used by psychologists in their assessments.
An instance where the admissibility of expert testimony might be affected, is a testimony based solely on personal opinion. A forensic psychologist testifies in court that the offender is a danger to society and that violent behavior will occur without personally assessing the individual, this is inadmissible evidence. The psychologist must personally evaluate the offender with empirically based assessment tools to be admissible and relevant in court.
Bartol, Curt. Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application, 3rd Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc, 03/2011.