Alabama Psychopathy Researcher Wins Award Named for Influential Forensic Psychologist

Posted by admin on March 5, 2013

Each year, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) and the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS, Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) jointly present the Saleem Shah Early Career Development Award.

Saleem A.Shah, Ph.D. was a highly esteemed psychologist. In fact, he was so influential that some credit him with helping to establish the specialty of forensic psychology.

While working at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Shah directed, for nearly 20 years, an interdisciplinary research program focused on antisocial and violent behavior. The program was first called the Center for Studies of Crime and Delinquency and later known as the Antisocial and Violent Behavior Branch.

He had a special interest in the relationship between mental health and the law and, in his role at NIMH, helped form the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Known as a man of strong conscience with deep concern for patients and their rights, he spoke all over the world, urging people to make sure that psychology was used in society in a compassionate and ethical way.

Tragically, Shah died in a car accident in 1992.

The award bearing his name has been presented annually, since 1995, to a young professional who demonstrates “significant early career achievement in forensic psychology or related fields of law.”

You can learn more about Saleem A. Shah, Ph.D. in:

As reported in The Crimson White, the student newspaper of the University of Alabama and on the University of Alabama Psychology Department’s website, this year’s recipient, for his research on psychopaths, is Alabama assistant professor of psychology and law Martin Sellbom.

In addition to his work on psychopathy, Sellbom studies personality disorders in general, especially focusing on assessment methods, and runs the school’s Personality, Psychopathology, and Measurement Lab.

In the Crimson article, Sellbom is quoted as saying that he views Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond as a favorite popular example of a psychopath.

Having won the award, Sellbom will speak at the 2013 American Psychology-Law Society Annual Conference.

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