Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2019

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Joanna Gonsalves

Abstract

This thesis explores the use and validity of sanity testing in the United States. The central question is how the legal determination of criminally insanity impacts the outcomes for accused individuals. The primary sources used in this thesis include federal laws and regulations, forensic psychology research, and case studies. The history of the insanity plea and the role of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders within the courtroom are explored. Also considered are current sanity testing practices, with emphasis on the consequences of type I and type II errors. My research suggests that these definitions are not consistent among the different organizations involved. The sanity plea is reevaluated when the public becomes involved and the nature of society changes. Implications for such inconsistencies are discussed.

COinS