Sleep forensics is the application of principles and tools of somnology and sleep medicine to the investigation of bizarre and irrational human behaviors which will undergo further scrutiny in a legal environment.
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Why sleep forensics?
Since the Albert Jackson Tirrell Case of 1846, sleepwalking has been a recognized defense in American law. Much remains to be understood, however, about the spectrum of overt extreme behaviors attributed to parasomnias the category of sleep disorders involving abnormal movement, behavior, emotion, perception and/or dreams that occur during the many states of sleep or during arousal from sleep.
As physician-experts in the field of sleep medicine who are also researchers, we are constantly seeking to understand and to explain. Yet clinical research regarding bizarre sleep-related behaviors would be largely impractical, if not ethically challenged (can you imagine recruiting study participants?). Instead, we took an ethological behaviorist research approach and undertook to become a resource to the international legal community, with the intent of gathering information.