Skip to main content

Tess Neal Collection


Tess Neal is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the ASU New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and is a founding faculty member of the Program on Law and Behavioral Science. Dr. Neal has published one edited book and more than two dozen peer-reviewed publications in such journals as PLOS ONE; Psychology, Public Policy, and Law; and Criminal Justice and Behavior.

Neal is the recipient of the 2016 Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology and Law, co-awarded by the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. She was named a 2016 "Rising Star" by the Association for Psychological Science, a designation that recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD "whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions." She directs the ASU Clinical and Legal Judgment Lab.


Date Range
2008 2018


We integrate multiple domains of psychological science to identify, better understand, and manage the effects of subtle but powerful biases in forensic mental health assessment. This topic is ripe for discussion, as research evidence that challenges our objectivity and credibility garners increased attention both within and outside of psychology. We begin by defining bias and provide rich examples from the judgment and decision making literature as they might apply to forensic assessment tasks. The cognitive biases we review can help us explain common problems in interpretation and judgment that confront forensic examiners. This leads us to ask (and attempt to ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Grisso, Thomas
Created Date
2014-05

The majority of trust research has focused on the benefits trust can have for individual actors, institutions, and organizations. This “optimistic bias” is particularly evident in work focused on institutional trust, where concepts such as procedural justice, shared values, and moral responsibility have gained prominence. But trust in institutions may not be exclusively good. We reveal implications for the “dark side” of institutional trust by reviewing relevant theories and empirical research that can contribute to a more holistic understanding. We frame our discussion by suggesting there may be a “Goldilocks principle” of institutional trust, where trust that is too low ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Shockley, Ellie, Schilke, Oliver
Created Date
2016

Using confirmatory factor analyses and multiple indicators per construct, we examined a number of theoretically derived factor structures pertaining to numerous trust-relevant constructs (from 9 to12) across four institutional contexts (police, local governance, natural resources, state governance) and multiple participant-types (college students via an online survey, community residents as part of a city’s budget engagement activity, a random sample of rural landowners, and a national sample of adult Americans via an Amazon Mechanical Turk study). Across studies, a number of common findings emerged. First, the best fitting models in each study maintained separate factors for each trust-relevant construct. Furthermore, post ...

Contributors
PytlikZillig, Lisa M., Hamm, Joseph A., Shockley, Ellie, et al.
Created Date
2016-03-31

Two experiments examined how mock jurors’ beliefs about three factors known to influence eyewitness memory accuracy relate to decision-making (age of eyewitness and presence of weapon in Study 1, length of eyewitness identification decision time in Study 2). Psychology undergraduates rendered verdicts and evaluated trial participants after reading a robbery-murder trial summary that varied eyewitness age (6, 11, 42, or 74 years) and weapon presence (visible or not) in Study 1 and eyewitness decision length (2-3 or 30 seconds) in Study 2 (n=200 each). The interactions between participant belief about these variables and the manipulated variables themselves were the heart ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Christiansen, Ashley, Bornstein, Brian H., et al.
Created Date
2012

Despite advances in the scientific methodology of witness testimony research, no sound measure currently exists to evaluate perceptions of testimony skills. Drawing on self-efficacy and witness preparation research, the present study describes development of the Observed Witness Efficacy Scale (OWES). Factor analyses of a mock jury sample yielded a two-factor structure (Poise and Communication Style) consistent with previous research on witness self-ratings of testimony delivery skills. OWES subscales showed differential patterns of association with witness credibility, witness believability, agreement with the witness, and verdict decision. Juror gender moderated the impact of Communication Style, but not Poise, on belief of and ...

Contributors
Cramer, Robert J., DeCoster, Jamie, Neal, Tess M.S., et al.
Created Date
2013

There is substantial controversy over the extent to which social science should be used in jury selection. Underlying the debate are two competing interests in the make-up of a jury: a privilege to strike prospective jurors on subjective grounds, which supports scientific jury selection, and a collective interest of citizens to be free from exclusion from jury service, which does not. While the incommensurability of the interests precludes resolution of the controversy in the abstract, specific solutions are possible. Using the example of selection of jurors based upon their respective levels of extraversion, we describe how the competing interests frequently ...

Contributors
Girvan, Erik J., Cramer, Robert J., Titcomb, Caroline, et al.
Created Date
2013

Examinations of trust have advanced steadily over the past several decades, yielding important insights within criminal justice, economics, environmental studies, management and industrial organization, psychology, political science, and sociology. Cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of trust, however, have been limited by differences in defining and measuring trust and in methodological approaches. In this chapter, we take the position that: 1) cross-disciplinary studies can be improved by recognizing trust as a multilevel phenomenon, and 2) context impacts the nature of trusting relations. We present an organizing framework for conceptualizing trust between trustees and trustors at person, group, and institution levels. The ...

Contributors
Herian, Mitchell N., Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2016

The question as to whether the assessment of adaptive behavior (AB) for evaluations of intellectual disability (ID) in the community meet the level of rigor necessary for admissibility in legal cases is addressed. Adaptive behavior measures have made their way into the forensic domain where scientific evidence is put under great scrutiny. Assessment of ID in capital murder proceedings has garnished a lot of attention, but assessments of ID in adult populations also occur with some frequency in the context of other criminal proceedings (e.g., competence to stand trial; competence to waive Miranda rights), as well as eligibility for social ...

Contributors
Salekin, Karen L., Neal, Tess M.S., Hedge, Krystal A.
Created Date
2018-02-01

This study examined how manipulations of likeability and knowledge affected mock jurors’ perceptions of female and male expert witness credibility (N=290). Our findings extend the person perception literature by demonstrating how warmth and competence overlap with existing conceptions of likeability and credibility in the psycholegal domain. We found experts high in likeability and/or knowledge were perceived equally positively regardless of gender in a death penalty sentencing context. Gender differences emerged when the expert was low in likeability and/or knowledge; in these conditions the male expert was perceived more positively than the comparable female expert. Although intermediate judgments (e.g., perceptions of ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Guadagno, Rosanna E., Eno, Cassie A., et al.
Created Date
2012

Despite the application of Self-Efficacy Theory (Bandura, 1977, 2000) to many areas of psychology, there is a lack of research on self-efficacy in the ability to testify in court. The present study fills this gap by incrementally developing the construct of Witness Self-Efficacy and establishing its psychometric properties. Study I featured exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses yielding a two-factor Witness Self-Efficacy Scale (WSES). The two components are Poise and Communication Style. Study II used a second data collection to show that both WSES domains possess convergent, divergent, and predictive validity relations consistent with those expected using an SET framework. Notably, ...

Contributors
Cramer, Robert J., Neal, Tess M.S., DeCoster, Jamie, et al.
Created Date
2010