Forensic Psychology Lab
Forensic science evidence is frequently used to guide investigations and convict people of crimes. Because jurors find forensic science evidence compelling, expert testimony often has a large effect on the outcome of criminal trials. Despite this, there is a striking lack of empirical evidence concerning the validity of methods in forensic science.
Recent work by members of our research group, and our collaborators in Australia, has begun to provide some of the first empirical tests of validity and reliability of forensic methods. As experimental psychologists, we are able to design tests to validate these methods. Of particular interest is human accuracy, investigating the factors that influence a practitioner’s decisions, and establishing ways to improve performance through training.
In addition to research in this area, current work involves running workshops to teach practitioners how to design and run their own validation studies. At present, this work involves document examiners, facial image comparison staff and forensic odontologists.