Forensic psychiatrists' and psychologists' understanding of insanity: misguided expertise?

Can J Psychiatry. 1988 Nov;33(8):691-5. doi: 10.1177/070674378803300803.


The ability of mental health experts to consult on insanity cases is highly dependent on their accurate understanding of the current Canadian standard. The study surveyed experienced forensic psychiatrists and psychologists and found the majority (88%) had erroneous beliefs regarding the insanity standard. Results of a discriminant analysis suggest that experience with insanity evaluations and courtroom testimony may improve experts' understanding. Implications of these results are discussed with respect to professional training and public policy.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Clinical Competence / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Expert Testimony / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Insanity Defense*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology