The Next Psych Colloquium: 3/18 @ 3:00

Students interested in law and psychology should enjoy the next Psych Department Colloquium talk:

How Might a Defendant’s “Inappropriate” Emotional Display Affect Legal Decisions?
Dr. Wendy Heath, Rider University
3:00 pm Friday, March 18th in Hauser Hall, 109

Research from both simulated and actual jurors has demonstrated that a defendant’s emotional  display can influence legal decisions (e.g., verdicts and sentences).  However, such emotional displays may not be strongly associated with the defendant’s guilt or innocence.  In this presentation, Dr. Heath will review the evidence regarding the influence of a defendant’s emotional display on legal decisions.  She will also describe her recent series of studies that investigate the expectations people have for the emotions of defendants, review why one’s emotional display may not be a reliable indicator of guilt, and consider the potential role of suspect and defendant emotion in wrongful convictions.

Dr. Wendy Heath received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from The University of Texas-Arlington with a major in cognitive psychology and a minor in social psychology.  Her research has focused on topics within the area of psychology and law, an interest that began after one of her undergraduate professors staged a crime in class and then asked students to recall what they had seen (there was little agreement!).  After completing a dissertation on the topic of the effects of misleading information on eyewitness memory, Dr. Heath joined the faculty of Rider University where she was promoted to Professor in 2005.  Since joining Rider, Dr. Heath has had an active lab where she works with undergraduates on investigating factors that influence jurors’ decisions.  In recent years, Dr. Heath and her students have been primarily investigating: 1) the effects of defendant emotion on jurors’ decisions, and 2) how the use of excuse defenses affects jurors’ decisions.  She and her students have enjoyed publishing and presenting this work both nationally and internationally.  Beyond research, Dr. Heath is an active Member of The American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of The American Psychological Association), having served as a Member-at-Large, as Chairperson of the Mentorship Committee, the Relation with Other Organizations Committee and the Grants-in-Aid Committee, and as a Member of the Saleem Shah Award Committee, and the Dissertation Award Committee.

For more information about the Hofstra Psychology Colloquium, please contact Vincent Brown at Vincent.r.brown@hofstra.edu or visit the Psychology Colloquium website http://people.hofstra.edu/Faculty/Kristin_M_Weingartner/colloquium.html

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