Stephanie Madon

Professor of Psychology

Iowa State University


I am a professor of psychology at Iowa State University and a faculty member in the psychology and law group. I run a joint psychology and law lab with my colleague, Dr. Max Guyll. I received my Ph.D. in social psychology from Rutgers University under the direction of Dr. Lee Jussim. The substantive nature of my research examines how social influence processes alter people’s behavior within a variety of socially important contexts.  My main line of research examines why criminal suspects confess to crimes when subjected to police pressure.  My work in this area emphasizes the idea that police interrogation exploits suspects’ psychological vulnerabilities in ways that can make them highly susceptible to misinformation, short-sighted thinking, false memories, and false confessions. I also have interests in forensic analysis, especially the forensic analysis of fired cartridge cases.  My research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the American Psychological Foundation, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. I am a fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and the Association for Psychological Science and serve on the Editorial Board for Law and Human Behavior. I teach courses in research methods and psychology and law.


Undergraduate Students: If you are interested in gaining research experience in psychology, please consider joining our lab. Our lab studies interesting questions about confessions and, because Dr. Guyll and I run a joint lab, you can obtain two letters of recommendation for graduate school without having to work in multiple labs. We have a friendly lab with lots of interaction among research assistants. Research assistants gain valuable research experience that prepare them for graduate school, law school, and professional careers in legal settings (e.g., law enforcement, courts). Research assistants must register for 3 credits (9 hours of lab per week) of either Psych 491 (Juniors and Seniors who have taken Psych 301 or will be taking Psych 301 in the spring, and 2.50 minimum GPA) or 2 or 3 credits (i.e., 6 – 9 hours of lab per week) of Psych 291 (Sophomores; no 301 or GPA requirement).  If you are interested in joining our lab, please contact Curt More ( or Ryan Ditchfield ( for additional information.  


Prospective Graduate Students: Dr. Madon and Dr. Guyll are NOT accepting a new graduate student for 2017-2018. We encourage you to consider the other psychology and law professors at Iowa State University: Dr. Jason Chan (cognitive psychology), Dr. Chris Meissner (cognitive psychology), and Dr. Gary Wells (social psychology).


Vita:      Click à HERE




Mailing Address: W112 Lagomarcino Hall, Iowa State University, 901 Stange Road, Ames, IA  50010-1041





I currently have two graduate students: Curt More and Ryan Ditchfield, both of whom I co-advise with Dr. Max Guyll. Former students include Dr. Jennifer Willard (Associate Professor at Kennesaw State University, Psychology Department), Dr. Kyle Scherr (Associate Professor at Central Michigan University, Psychology Department), Dr. Laura Smalarz (Assistant Professor, Williams College), and Dr. Yueran Yang (Assistant Professor, University of Nevada – Reno).


Students applying to the doctoral program in social psychology at Iowa State University who wish to work in my lab should have research interests in criminal confessions. Graduate students coordinate lab activities, contribute heavily to all on-going research projects, manage and organize the involvement of undergraduate research assistants, and are authors on publications and conference presentations. Graduate students are also encouraged to develop their own research studies in the area of psychology and law.




The social psychology program at ISU is highly competitive. Our students high GRE scores and strong records of academic achievement in college, with GPA's of 3.6 and above. Most of our Ph.D. students acquired extensive research experience at their undergraduate institutions prior to coming to Iowa State University. Students who graduate from our doctoral program are qualified to work at colleges and universities conducting research and teaching at the graduate and undergraduate level. Almost all of our graduates have been successful in obtaining academic jobs. A Ph.D. in social psychology also qualifies one for more applied work (e.g., market research), although we do not specifically train students for such positions.