Associate Professor of Psychology
W112 Lagomarcino Hall
Department of Psychology
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50010-3180
Psychology and Law: Research interests and Current projects
My research focuses on criminal interrogations and intelligence interviews. In particular, I examine the psychological processes associated with various interrogation tactics and how they influence suspects’ cognitive, emotional, physiologic and behavioral reactions, including the decision of whether or not to confess to a crime. Current work in my lab explores the role of rapport in gaining suspect compliance, how such effect are mediated, and the importance of interviewer and suspect personalities in potentiating the effects of rapport within the interrogation context. I also investigate the effects of suspects’ actual innocence and guilt for the purpose of understanding the processes that produce false confession.
Undergraduate student research opportunities
My lab operates jointly with that of Dr. Stephanie Madon, meaning that we formulate and conduct many studies together, thereby providing both our graduate and undergraduate students with a range of experiences and opportunities in a very active research environment. We often have approximately 15-20 undergraduates who are mature, responsible, and enthusiastic – qualities that help create a fun and positive experience in a busy lab.
Graduate student experiences and expectations
Graduate students in my laboratory will be most likely to value their experiences to the degree that they seek the kind of training that will prepare them for research-focused positions. By contrast, there will be a poor fit between activities and goals for those students who are less interested in research.
Naturally, graduate students must demonstrate a number of characteristics, including being ambitious, responsible, detail-focused, organized, persistent and highly available throughout the entire year. Graduate students will be required to organize and conduct all phases of research studies, including scheduling, training, management, and oversight of undergraduate teams. The most successful graduate students will view their high level of activity and involvement in research projects as opportunities to improve their academic record. In return, the student will receive high-quality training and experience in conducting psychological research, and will be offered the chance to contribute to manuscript preparation in sufficient degree to warrant authorship credit. Graduate students will also be encouraged to take a lead role in publication efforts, as appropriate. Ultimately, our goal is to position graduate students for research focused-academic careers such as those of tenure-track faculty, and to have them successfully attain such positions.