Law, Psychology, and Human Development
The Graduate Fields of Human Development and Psychology at Cornell offer a Ph.D. concentration in Law, Psychology, and Human Development. The concentration takes advantage of Cornell’s unique cluster of nationally-recognized scholars in law and social science and the University’s long history of leadership in this field. Students who are interested in the Law, Psychology, and Human Development concentration must be admitted for Ph.D. studies in either the Department of Human Development or the Department of Psychology for admission details, see http://www.gradschool.cornell.edu . Ph.D. studies in this concentration aim to provide graduate students with strong training in core areas of developmental, social, and cognitive psychology, and also to provide them with strong training in the role of social science research in the law. The general objective of Ph.D. studies in human development or psychology is to supply graduates with a common scholarly background that will enable them to become part of a community of scholars and to contribute original scholarly work to that community. For students who choose the concentration in Law, Psychology, and Human Development, a heavy emphasis is placed upon research. The intent is to prepare students for careers in academic life within departments of human development, law, psychology, sociology, or sociolegal studies or for careers in government agencies that are concerned with legal research, legal practice, and legal policy. Students can undertake additional specialized training in the law by pursuing both a Ph.D. in Human Development or Psychology at Cornell University and a J.D. at Cornell Law School. Students who are interested in a joint degree must be separately admitted to both graduate degree programs. For more information, see http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/admissions .
Beyond a small number of courses that all Ph.D. candidates must take (e.g., statistics and research design), the concentration in Law, Psychology, and Human Development is tailored to the interests of individual candidates. This is accomplished through an advisement process in which graduate students, in consultation with their major advisor, select a committee of 3 or 4 faculty members, who then guide students in the formulation of a program of research and course work that is best suited to their goals. Students who undertake additional specialized training in the law via joint J.D./Ph.D. studies will normally select two faculty advisors, one from the Department of Human Development or the Department of Psychology and one from the Law School. Students develop individual research plans and courses of study in consultation with their faculty advisors and special committees.
As a general rule, students can expect to take 2-4 courses per semester, including required courses, during their first two years of study. A list of courses that will be of particular interest to graduate students who elect the Law, Psychology, and Human Development concentration is provided below. Most importantly, however, students are required to become actively involved in the research program of one or more faculty members during their first year and to continue research involvement throughout their graduate careers. A list of affiliated faculty, their research interests, and some of their recent publications are provided below. Ph.D. candidates must complete a predoctoral research project or a master's thesis before taking the Admission to Doctoral Candidacy Examination. This examination normally is taken by the end of the third year, but it may be taken at a later date by students who do pursue joint J.D./Ph.D. studies.
For more information please visit the LPHD website
John Blume, Law School *
Research Interests: Professor Blume’s research focuses on the death penalty and how it is administered in the United States. A significant component of his research is devoted empirical studies related to capital punishment. He is particularly interested in jury and judge behavior in capital cases and has written numerous articles in this area. Professor Blume also is interested in how juries, trial courts and appellate courts act in cases where the capital defendant has a developmental disability or mental illness.
Every Juror Wants a Story: Narrative Relevance, Third party Guild and the Right to Present a Defense, 44 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 1069 (2007) (With Sheri Johnson and Emily Paavola)
Killing the Willing: “Volunteers,” Suicide and Competency, 103 Mich. L. Rev. 939 (2005).
Killing the Non-Willing, Atkins, the Volitionally Incapacitated and the Death Penalty, 55 S.C. L. Rev. 93 (2003) (with Sheri Johnson).
Lessons from the Capital Jury Project, in AMERICA'S DEATH PENALTY: BEYOND REPAIR? (Duke University Press) (2002) (with Theodore Eisenberg and Stephen Garvey).
C. J. Brainerd, Department of Human Development
Dr. Brainerd’s major areas of research are cognitive neuroscience, memory and cognitive Development; psychology and law, and mathematical modeling. His current studies are focused on basic research in false memory, on applications of false-memory research to testimony, interrogation, and eyewitness identification, and on relations between memory and higher reasoning processes. His is co-developer with another Cornell professor, Valerie F. Reyna, of fuzzy-trace theory, an interdisciplinary model of memory and cognition that has been widely applied to problems the law.
Brainerd, C. J., Forrest, T. J., Karibian, D., & Reyna, V. F. (2005). Development of the false-memory illusion. Developmental Psychology.
Brainerd, C. J., & Reyna, V. F. (2005). The Science of False Memory. New York: Oxford University Press.
Brainerd, C. J., Reyna, V. F., Wright, R., & Mojardin, A. H. (2003). Recollection rejection: False-memory editing in children and adults. Psychological Review.
Stephen J. Ceci, Department of Human Development
Research Interests: Dr. Ceci’s major research interests are in the intersection of cognitive development and the legal system. Specific research foci are children's testimonial competence, eyewitness memory, suggestibility, intelligence and the death penalty, and children's deception. His award-winning research has been cited by courts throughout the United States.
Ceci, S. J. & Bruck, M. (1996). Jeopardy in the Courtroom: A scientific analysis of children’s testimony. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Ceci, S. J. & Bruck, M. (1993). The suggestibility of children's recollections: An historical review and synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 403-439.
Ceci, S. J. & Bruck, M. (in press). Children’s Suggestibility: Characteristics and Mechanisms. Advances in Child Development and Behavior.
David Dunning, Department of Psychology *
Research Interests: At its most general, Dr. Dunning's work centers on accuracy and error in human judgment. In the psycholegal realm, Dr. Dunning examines how accurate eyewitness identifications can be distinguished from erroneous ones. He also studies why people are less accurate when trying to identify individuals of races different from their own, as well as how their eyewitness behavior is influenced by emotions such as anger and fear.
Caputo, D. D., & Dunning, D. (in press). Distinguishing accurate eyewitness identifications from erroneous ones: Post-dictive indicators of eyewitness accuracy. In R. C. L. Lindsay, D. F. Ross, J. D. Read, & M. P. Toglia (Eds.), Handbook of eyewitness psychology: Volume 2: Memory for people. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Dunning, D., & Perretta, S. F. (2002). Automaticity and eyewitness accuracy: A 10- to 12-second rule for distinguishing accurate from erroneous positive identifications. Journal of Applied Psychology.
Dunning, D., & Stern, L. B. (1994). Distinguishing accurate from inaccurate eyewitness identifications via inquiries about decision processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
John J. Eckenrode, Department of Human Development
Research Interests: Dr. Eckenrode conducts research in the area of child abuse and neglect. This work includes research on the characteristics of official child maltreatment reports, the academic effects of child abuse and neglect, and the long-term effects of a program of home visitation on the development of high-risk mothers and their children. He also directs The National Archive for Data on Child Abuse and Neglect which supports researchers interested in the secondary analysis of child abuse and neglect data. Dr. Eckenrode has a long standing interest in research on stress and coping, particularly the role of social supports. The research has produced data on the effects of stress on the use of health services, the impact of both major stressors and daily hassles on mood, and factors related to the differential use and impact of social supports in buffering stress.
Eckenrode, J., Izzo, C., & Campa, M. (2002). Early intervention and family support programs. In R.M. Lerner, F. Jacobs, & D. Wertlieb (Eds.), Handbook of Applied Developmental Psychology, Volume 2 (pp. 161-195). Sage Publications.
Eckenrode, J., Zielinski, D., et al. (2001). Child maltreatment and the early onset of problem behaviors: Can a program of nurse home visitation break the link?. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 873-890.
Eckenrode, J., Ganzel, B., Olds, D., Henderson, C., et al. (2000). Preventing child abuse and neglect with a program of nurse home visitation: The limiting effects of domestic violence. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284, 1385-1391.
Valerie Hans, Law School *
Research Interests: Dr. Hans conducts empirical studies of law and is one of the nation's leading authorities on the jury system. She has carried out extensive research and written widely about psychology and the law in general and jury decision making in particular. Her research and writing have encompassed a range of topics such as the juvenile death penalty, racial and gender discrimination, the litigation explosion, the adversary system, corporate responsibility, the insanity defense, court legitimacy, lay participation in other countries, and media impact.
Hans, V. P. (Ed.) (in press). The jury system: Contemporary scholarship. Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing.
Hans, V. P. (2000). Business on trial: The civil jury and corporate responsibility. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Hans, V. P., & Vidmar, N. (1986). Judging the jury. New York: Plenum Press.
Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Law School *
Research Interests: Dr. Rachlinski is currently pursing two principal projects. First, he is interested in studying the decision-making processes of trial judges. This project involves assessing whether such judges rely on the same kinds of cognitive processes that ordinary adults use or whether they develop decision making strategies that allow them to avoid common pitfalls. Second, Dr. Rachlinski is interested in assessing whether the research concerning cognitive errors among ordinary people in their capacities as citizens, voters, or investors justifies paternalistic legal intervention designed to save people from the most pernicious consequences of these errors.
Rachlinski, J. J. (in press). Cognitive errors, individual differences, and paternalism. University of Chicago Law Review.
Rachlinski, J. J. (2004). Heuristics, biases, and governance. In D. J. Koehler & N. Harvey (Eds.), The Blackwell handbook of judgment and decision making. London: Blackwell.
Rachlinski, J. J., Guthrie, C., & Wistrich, A. J. (in press). Can judges ignore inadmissible information: The difficulty of deliberately disregarding. University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
Valerie F. Reyna, Department of Human Development
Dr. Reyna’s research areas are judgment and decision making, risk and rationality, false memory, aging and cognitive impairment, and cognitive neuroscience. Her current research focuses on dual processes in memory, judgment, and decision making, on how these processes change with age and expertise, and on their implications for risky decision making in law, health, and medicine. She is co-developer with another Cornell professor, Charles Brainerd, of fuzzy-trace theory, a theory of memory and its relation to higher cognitive processes.
Reyna, V.F. (2004). How people make decisions that involve risk. A dual-processes approach. Current Directions in Psychological Science.
Reyna, V. F., Mills, B., Estrada, S., & Brainerd, C. J. (in press). False memory in children: Data, theory, and legal Implications. In M. P. Toglia, J. D. Read, D. F. Ross, & R. C. L. Lindsay (Eds.), Handbook of eyewitness psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Reyna, V.F., Holliday, R., & Marche, T. (2002). Explaining the development of false memories. Developmental Review.
Wendy M. Williams, Human Development
Dr. Williams studies the development, assessment, training, and societal implications of intelligence and related abilities. Her work focuses on practical or everyday intelligence, and on understanding how it differs from IQ and the types of intelligence measured on standardized tests. Having a clear conception of what, exactly, intelligence is--and is not--is essential, because of the central importance of measures of intellectual ability in the criminal justice system and the frequent need to determine a person's level of mental competence. Particularly for uneducated and undereducated individuals, and for people in poverty, an accurate conception and measure of meaningful day-to-day intelligent functioning would enable the legal system to more effectively gauge criminal responsibility. Dr. Williams's work attempts to define meaningful intelligence across diverse domains of human functioning.
Williams, W. M. (Ed.) (2000). Ranking ourselves: Intelligence testing, affirmative action, and educational policy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 6(1). (Guest Editor of American Psychological Association journal)
Williams, W. M., & Ceci, S. J. (1997). Are Americans becoming more or less alike? Trends in race, class, and ability differences in intelligence. American Psychologist, 52 (11), 1226-1235. (Reprinted in the Mensa Research Journal, 45 [Fall 2000], 49-68)
Williams, W. M. (1996). Consequences of how we define and assess intelligence. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 2 (3/4) 506-535. (American Psychological Association journal) (Winner of the 1999 Mensa Education and Research Foundation Senior Investigator Award for Excellence in Research; Reprinted in 2001 Mensa Research Journal, 32 (2), 21-53.)
*Affiliated faculty members in other graduate fields
HD 3330 - Children and the Law
PSYCH 2650 - Psychology and Law
HD 3190 - Memory and the Law
HD 3700 / PSYCH 3250 - Adult Psychopathology
HD 4200 - Laboratory in Risk and Rational Decision Making
HD 4140 - Social and Psychological Aspects of the Death Penalty
PSYCH 4910 & COGST 4910 - Research Methods in Psychology
HD 6020 - Research in Risk and Rational Decision Making
HD 6190/ LAW 7582 - Memory and the Law
HD 6140 - Social and Psychological Aspects of the Death Penalty
LAW 6011 - Administrative Law
LAW 6822 - Social Science and the Law
LAW 5151 - Torts
PSYCH 6919 - Research Methods in Psychology
Please note: Course numbers and titles are subject to change.