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Justice at risk! An evaluation of a pseudoscientific analysis of a witness’ nonverbal behavior in the courtroom

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  • Vincent Denault
  • Louise Marie Jupe
Psychology and law have developed as disciplines through rigorous data collection, exploration and analysis, and the publication of findings through peer-review processes. Such findings are then used to implement evidence-based practices within a variety of settings. However, in parallel to factually and scientifically based knowledge, ‘alternative’ science, or pseudoscience, has gained in popularity. The present case study aims to evaluate the empirical evidence and theoretical underpinnings of a publically accessible analysis of a suspected serial killer’s nonverbal behavior during a bond hearing published online by two ‘synergologists’. The case study emphasizes how a ‘synergological’ analysis to understanding and interpreting human behavior fails to use empirical data, making generalized inferences based on erroneous assumptions. The case study also highlights the detrimental effects such assumptions may have within the justice system and why pseudoscientific analytical approaches should be vigorously challenged by research scientists.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
Early online date27 Jul 2017
Publication statusEarly online - 27 Jul 2017


  • Justice at risk

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology on 20/07/2017, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 367 KB, PDF document

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