Meet Dr. David Bernstein

Hidden City's Expert Forensic Psychologist


In the  Boston episode of Hidden City, Marcus Sakey meets with forensic psychologist Dr. David Bernstein to try to get inside the head of the Boston Strangler. Dr. Bernstein shares his insights on the case, and puts Marcus in the spotlight with the psychopath quiz. We chatted with Dr. Bernstein to find out more about forensic psychology and his career. Here's what we learned.

What is Forensic Psychology?
According to Dr. Bernstein, forensic psychology is an applied branch of psychology that deals with the intersection between psychology and the law. In its simplest form it translates complex psychological information into a legal framework.

What do Forensic Psychologists Do?
Forensic psychologists work directly with all aspects of the legal system including attorneys, defendants, and victims, and are required to be familiar with the rules of the judicial system in which they operate.

Forensic psychologists also work in government and intelligence agencies such as the Department of Defense, United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of investigation, and the Transportation and Security Administration, to name a few.

About Dr. Bernstein
Dr. S. David Bernstein is a forensic psychologist who has attended training with the Secret Service and consults with the FBI and other state and federal law enforcement agencies. He has particular expertise in Threat Assessment, Corporate Risk Management and Deceit Detection, and is the president of Forensic Consultants, LLC. He has held appointments at Yale University School of Medicine and Harvard University Medical School, where he completed his residency in Forensic Psychology in the Department of Law and Psychiatry.

Dr. Bernstein has conducted several hundred forensic interviews throughout his career ranging from organized crime figures to convicted murderers. He has testified nationally in state and federal courts as a forensic expert. Dr. Bernstein has been cited in Connecticut case law, which was published in the Connecticut Law Journal, and recognized by the Connecticut Law Tribune as one of the best legal consultants in the state for five consecutive years.

Additionally Dr. Bernstein conducts psychological autopsies (equivocal depth analysis) for insurance companies. He has conducted training lectures and workshops for state and government law enforcement agencies throughout the United States including the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, (NEMLEC) and NEMLEC’s School Threat Assessment and Response System project (STARS). He is among a select group of service providers recognized in the Homeland Security Resource Directory as providing Threat Assessment and Corporate Risk Management services nationally to corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Dr. Bernstein has appeared on television news programs where he has given expert commentary concerning issues of workplace violence, corporate risk management, and psychopathy, including the Anne Le murder at Yale University, the Omar Thornton mass murder at Hartford Distributors, and the Albert DeSolvo serial murders (Boston Strangler). He has also appeared on radio programs such as National Public Radio’s, This American Life, with Ira glass, where he was featured as an expert on psychopathology.

Have questions for Dr. Bernstein about forensic psychology or the quiz? Send them to or post them on our Facebook page. We'll pick 10-15 of them for him to answer.

Marcus Sakey and forensic psychologiest Dr. David Bernstein
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Take our quiz to see if you would be considered a psychopath by forensic psychology standards.