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Forensic Psychology: Cognitive Processes

Code: 106164 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2502443 Psychology OT 4 2


Sergi Mora Montserrat

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


Elena Garrido Gaitán
Rocío Pina Ríos


There are no prerequisites, but it is useful to have reading skills in English and to have passed the previous subjects on psychological processes.

Objectives and Contextualisation

This course is intended to be an introduction to Forensic Psychology, one of the most relevant disciplines of Legal Psychology, which consists of the application of psychological science in the resolution of controversial aspects of human behavior in the legal field. Due to its characteristics, this subject can be studied both in the mention to which it belongs (Analysis and psychosocial intervention), and in other mentions or in a free configuration.

Although it is a subject of which it is possible that no previous training has been received, its nature is not alien to the knowledge taught in the compulsory subjects of the Degree in Psychology. In this sense, the purpose of Forensic Psychology is to analyze and evaluate human behavior, although in a different professional context than usual. In particular, beyond a general presentation and introduction, this subject emphasizes the assessment and evaluation of cognitive processes in criminal and civil legal proceedings. By way of example, and among others, the role of memory in the accuracy of a victim's statement, the interference of cognitive distortions in the criminal planning of an aggressor, or the adequacy of the interview in the face of the assessment of incapacitation of a person with cognitive difficulties.

In this way, we aim to ensure that by the end of the course the student will be able to:

  • Understand the function of Psychology in judicial assistance, highlighting the formal, legal and deontological aspects that regulate the exercise of forensic psychological practice.
  • Elaborate and write forensic psychological reports according to national and international guidelines.
  • Knowing the involvement of cognitive processes in crime management, victimization processes and the issuance of testimony (accuracy and credibility)  
  • Make appropriate decisions and develop an effective forensic psychological evaluation in the assessment of cognitive processes.
  • Identify, describe and integrate the cognitive structures and processes involved in behavior.
  • Acquire practical skills and abilities in the use of forensic psychological assessment instruments.
  • Acquire habits of reasoned criticism on reading materials and on the subjects exposed in the course.
  • Expose in a technical way the results of their intervention in the forensic field.
  • To develop the critical capacity in the selection of reference information sources.
  • Ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills acquired throughout the degree in Psychology.
  • To know the national and international scientific news in relation to the cognitive processes in forensic psychological evaluation.
  • To propose a research methodology in Forensic Psychology.


  • Act with ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and duties, diversity and democratic values.
  • Analyse scientific texts written in English.
  • Analyse the demands and needs of people, groups and organisations in different contexts.
  • Apply knowledge, skills and acquired values critically, reflexively and creatively.
  • Criticise the effects of personal practice on people, taking into account the complexity of human diversity.
  • Diffuse knowledge derived from the results of the research and the products and services generated taking into account the social and personal repercussions that could derive from it.
  • Distinguish and relate the different focuses and theoretical traditions that have contributed to the historical development of psychology as well as its influence on the production of knowledge and professional practice.
  • Identify, describe and relate the structures and processes involved in basic psychological functions.
  • Prepare and write technical reports on the results of the evaluation, research or services requested.
  • Recognise the diversity of human behaviour and the nature of differences in it in terms of normality abnormality and pathology.
  • Take decisions in a critical manner about the different research methods in psychology, their application and the interpretation of the results deriving from them.
  • Work in a team.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse and interpret results of experiments on cognitive processes in the area of forensic science.
  2. Analyse scientific texts written in English.
  3. Analyse the influence of the different focuses in professional practice that have contributed to the study of cognitive processes.
  4. Apply knowledge, skills and acquired values critically, reflexively and creatively.
  5. Critically analyse the principles, values and procedures that govern the exercise of the profession.
  6. Criticise the effects of personal practice on people, taking into account the complexity of human diversity.
  7. Describe and recognise the factors that limit or hinder the processing of information received or sought.
  8. Describe the factors that can improve cognitive processing.
  9. Design scientific studies on cognitive processes.
  10. Explain the explicit or implicit deontological code in your area of knowledge.
  11. Identify different applied fields of cognitive processes and their psychosocial implications.
  12. Identify the corresponding cognitive processes in different applied contexts.
  13. Identify the structures underlying information processing.
  14. Organize information to communicate in a structured and appropriate way to the recipient.
  15. Recognise individual differences in human memory and its main pathologies.
  16. Recognise the influence of contextual factors on the differences (individual and social) observed in the processing and storage of information.
  17. Show that the content of communication is suitable as a scientific article, communication in congresses, conferences or newspaper article.
  18. Work in a team.
  19. Write up results obtained in the evaluation of cognitive functions in reports.


Main contents:

  • Psychology in the forensic field
  • Ethical and deontological aspects in Forensic Psychology
  • Forensic psychological evaluation and expert report preparation
  • Cognitive processes involved in the criminal management of the person under investigation in the criminal field
  • Cognitive processes linked to imputability and criminal responsibility
  • Cognitive processes involved in the processes of victimization and traumatic experience management in crime victims
  • Accuracy and credibility factors in witness memory
  • Cognitive processes linked to incapacitation procedures in the civil field

Additionally, other complementary content will be addressed through readings, audiovisual material and other activities.



Theoretical and practical classes 24%

a) The theoretical classes will be with or without audiovisual support and will be open to the discussion of the topics.

b) The practical classes will consist in learning techniques for the measure and activation of memory and in carrying out experiments.


-Tutorials 5%

- Follow-up tutorial with lecturers face-to-face or online.

- Follow-up work 6%

- Tutoring of works (individual and/or groups)


- Searches, reading and summary of documentation 25%

- Preparation of reports and presentation of written works 25%

- Carrying out practical work, individual or group reports

- Carrying out research and summary work

- Study and understanding of the material 15%


Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Practices 12 0.48 2, 4, 6, 8, 7, 11, 19, 13, 14, 18
Theoretical classes 24 0.96 1, 3, 6, 8, 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, 15
Type: Supervised      
Follow-up of work 10 0.4 2, 4, 6, 17, 19, 14, 18
Tutorships 10.5 0.42 3, 6, 8, 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, 15
Type: Autonomous      
Study 16.5 0.66 1, 3, 2, 8, 7, 11, 9, 12, 13, 16, 15
Preparation of reports and presentation of works 37.5 1.5 2, 4, 6, 17, 14, 18
Search and reading of scientific documentation 37.5 1.5 1, 3, 2, 6, 17, 8, 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, 15


The competences of this subject will be evaluated through different continuous assessment procedures:

a) Evidence 1 and 2: internship reports (25%, collaborative, written, virtual) - Weeks 4 and 7
b) Evidence 3: Discussion and reading reflection (15% individual, written, virtual) - Week 11
(c) Evidence 4: Case study (20%, collaborative, written, virtual) - week 15
d) Evidence 5: Examination (40%, individual, written, in person) - second assessment period

In order to consider the course as approved it will be necessary to fulfill the following requirements:
- A score equal to or higher than 5 in the average of evidence 1, 2, 3 and 4
- A score of 5 or higher on the evidence 5
- The final mark of the course will have to be equal or superior to 5 and will be the result of the application of the percentages indicated in each evidence once the previous requirements have been passed.
- If these requirements are not exceeded, the maximum mark on the record will be 4.5.

A person will be considered as evaluable if has completed 40% or more of the evaluation procedures of the course.
To the reassessment process, following the regulations, only the person who has presented evidence with a weight of at least 2/3 of the grade will be able to present it. The person who wants to do the reassessment will have to contact the coordinator of the course one week before the celebration of the exam. The reassessment will consist of an exam that will include the evaluation of all the content dealt with in the course. The grade obtained in the reassessment will be the final grade that will be recorded in the student's record.


It is not expected that students from 2nd or later matriculation will be assessed by means of a single, non-retrievable synthesis test.


This subject offers the possibility of carrying out the single assessment according to the assessment criteria available in the UAB regulations, its characteristics are specified below:



Name and description


Duration in hours (of the face-to-face event)

Completion/delivery date

Ev 1. Test-type examination of the contents of the entire subject syllabus. Individual and face-to-face.


Ev 1. 90 minutes

All evidence are delivered on the same day as the subject's assessment in the second assessment period

Ev 2. Resolution of a practical case. Individual and virtual delivery


Ev 3. Reflection work. Individual and virtual delivery















In the event of not passing the single assessment, the same recovery process as that of the continuous assessment will be applied.


Finally, at the following link you can find all the UAB assessment regulations:




Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Ev1-2 Practical reports 25% 0 0 5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 17, 8, 7, 9, 19, 10, 14, 16, 15, 18
Ev3 Work on scientific readings 15% 0 0 5, 2, 4, 8, 7, 11, 9, 13, 14, 16, 15
Ev4 Case Study 20% 0 0 1, 2, 4, 6, 17, 7, 11, 19, 12, 14, 16, 15
Ev5 Exam 40% 2 0.08 1, 3, 4, 8, 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, 15


Throughout the course, a specific bibliography will be provided for each topic covered. At a general level, the following can be consulted:

Bartol, C. R., & Bartlon, A. M. (2018). Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application. London, UK: SAGE Publications.

Garrido, E., Lovelle, M. I., Mora, S., & Pina, R. (2021). Introducción a la psicología forense. Principios para la evaluación. Barcelona: Editorial UOC.

Garrido, E., Masip, J., & Herrero, M. C. (2006). Psicología Jurídica. Madrid, España: Pearson.

Jiménez, F. (2009). Evaluación psicológica forense: Ámbitos delictivos, laboral y elaboración de informes. Salamanca, España: Amarú Ediciones.

Manzanero, A. L. (2008). Psicología del testimonio. Madrid, España: Pirámide.

Soria, M. A. (2002). Manual de Psicología penal forense. Barcelona, España: Atelier.

Wrightsman, L. S., & Fulero, S. M. (2008). Forensic Psychology. London, UK: Thomson Wadsworth


No requirement.