Tess Neal Collection

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2008 2017

The essential tasks for an expert witness are to be prepared, to be effective and credible on the stand, and to manage well the demands of cross-examinations. Most novice experts are excessively anxious about their testimony. Effective experts are well-oriented to the legal and scientific context of court testimony. This chapter reviews research-backed tips for preparing for expert testimony.

Contributors
Brodsky, Stanley L., Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2013

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

The purpose of this volume is to consider how trust research, particularly trust in institutions, might benefit from increased inter- or transdisciplinarity. In this introductory chapter, we first give some background on prior disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary work relating to trust. Next, we describe how this many-disciplined volume on institutional trust emerged from the joint activities of the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation and a National Science Foundation-funded Workshop on institutional trust. This chapter describes some of the themes that emerged, while also providing an overview of the rest of the volume, which includes chapters that discuss conceptualizations, definitions, and measurement ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., PytlikZillig, Lisa M., Shockley, Ellie, et al.
Created Date
2016

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

Since its debut over a century ago, forensic psychology has matured into a formally recognized specialty area of psychology with its own set of ethical guidelines; however, a consensual definition of forensic psychology remains elusive. After describing the field’s historical and current struggles to define itself, two ethical issues are discussed that are especially applicable to psychology in legal contexts. The first is the critical differences between serving in therapeutic versus forensic roles and the associated ethical obligation to refrain from serving in both roles in the same case. Despite the terminology used in the literature, treatment in forensic contexts ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2017

“Criminal psychology” is a broad field that overlaps with several subareas of psychology, including correctional (applications to prison settings) and forensic (applications in courtroom settings) psychology. A widely used umbrella term, “psychology-law,” also reflects the interdisciplinary commitment of researchers in criminal psychology, who draw from many traditional domains of psychology, including clinical (e.g., assessment, treatment), social (how people and contexts influence us), cognitive (how we think and make decisions), developmental (how we grow and change), and neuropsychology (the biological basis of behavior). This chapter – covering research in criminal psychology – emphasizes the shared reliance on scientific methods characteristic of ...

Contributors
Clements, Carl B., Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2017

This chapter integrates from cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and social psychology the basic science of bias in human judgment as relevant to judgments and decisions by forensic mental health professionals. Forensic mental health professionals help courts make decisions in cases when some question of psychology pertains to the legal issue, such as in insanity cases, child custody hearings, and psychological injuries in civil suits. The legal system itself and many people involved, such as jurors, assume mental health experts are “objective” and untainted by bias. However, basic psychological science from several branches of the discipline suggest the law’s assumption about ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Hight, Morgan, Howatt, Brian C., et al.
Created Date
2017-04-30

The effect of eye contact on credibility was examined via a 3 (low, medium, high eye contact) x 2 (male, female) between-groups design with 232 undergraduate participants. A trial transcript excerpt about a defendant’s recidivism likelihood was utilized as the experts’ script. A main effect was found: experts with high eye contact had higher credibility ratings than in the medium and low conditions. Although a confound precluded comparisons between the genders, results indicated that males with high eye contact were more credible than males with medium or low eye contact. The female experts’ credibility wasn’t significantly different regardless of eye ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Brodsky, Stanley L.
Created Date
2008

Self-Efficacy Theory (SET; Bandura, 1986, 2000) has generated research and practice ramifications across areas of psychology. However, self-efficacy has yet to be assessed in a legal context. The present paper juxtaposes self-efficacy with self-confidence in terms of theoretical foundations and practical implications, with attention to the area of witness testimony. It is concluded that the concept of witness self-efficacy possesses thorough theoretical grounding as a potential target for witness preparation. As such, we put forth an integrated model of witness preparation featuring self-efficacy bolstering techniques within an established witness training framework.

Contributors
Cramer, Robert J., Neal, Tess M.S., Brodsky, Stanley L.
Created Date
2009

This study sought to investigate the relation between expert witness likeability and juror judgments of credibility and sentencing. Two actors playing expert witnesses were trained to present themselves as high and low in likeability in a standard testimony scenario involving capital trial sentencing. The effects of extraversion and gender in mock jurors in attending to expert testimony were also examined. The dependent variables were the perceptions of the witnesses’ credibility and agreement with testimony and the participants were 210 psychology undergraduates. Likeability of expert witnesses was found to be significantly related to judgments of trustworthiness of the experts, but not ...

Contributors
Brodsky, Stanley L., Neal, Tess M.S., Cramer, Robert J., et al.
Created Date
2009

This study sought to identify stigma differences between HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Interviewees from Alabama, USA (n=537) rated two types of stigma (damage to social reputation and “moral weakness”) for seven infections ranging from “nuisance” conditions (e.g., pubic lice) to life-threatening disease (e.g., HIV/AIDS). When asked which of the seven STIs would be most damaging to reputation, 74.8% of respondents chose HIV/AIDS. However, when asked to choose which STI represented moral weakness in infected persons, HIV/AIDS was rated as significantly lower than the other STIs, which suggests that HIV/AIDS is perceived differently than non-HIV STIs. This study ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Lichtenstein, Bronwen, Brodsky, Stanley L.
Created Date
2010

Prison rape is a pervasive and serious problem affecting many male inmates in U.S. prisons. This paper reviews the literature on prison rape prevalence, victimization risk factors, and the psychological and non-psychological sequelae of prison rape. We address several areas of inquiry needed to guide research and facilitate solutions to the problem of prison rape, especially given the context and intent of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) passed in 2003 by the U.S. Congress. Mental health correlates remain to be studied; for example, the complex postrape symptoms of prison rape survivors do not appear to be captured by current ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Clements, Carl B.
Created Date
2010

Prisoners sentenced to death must be competent for execution before they can actually be executed (Ford v. Wainwright, 1986). The decision for many mental health professionals whether to conduct competence for execution evaluations may be fraught with complex ethical issues. Mental health professionals who do not personally support capital punishment may have a particularly difficult decision to make in this regard but should seriously consider the consequences of their decisions. This article applies Bush, Connell, and Denney’s (2006) eight-step ethical decision-making model to the ethicality of deciding to or abstaining from conducting competence for execution evaluations. This article does not ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2010

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

This study examined the scope and components of mitigation assessments in a first effort to develop some guidelines for conducting mitigation evaluations. Using the Mitigation Evaluations Survey (MES) we developed for this research, we surveyed 266 psychologists about the characteristics and content of mitigation evaluations. A high percentage of participants endorsed each of the 14 content areas presented in the MES as essential or recommended for inclusion in mitigation evaluations. However, when the participants were given a hypothetical open-ended referral question regarding a mitigation evaluation, fewer participants included all 14 content areas in their responses. This discrepancy as well as ...

Contributors
Barnett, Michelle E., Brodsky, Stanley L., Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2011

Prosecutors are handling increasing numbers of criminal cases concerning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). How these prosecutors handle such cases may reflect their attitudes toward veterans or offenders with PTSD. In turn, their attitudes may affect perceptions of blameworthiness, as well as negotiations about sentencing during the pre-trial stage. The present study investigated the effect of a defendant’s military experience and mental health status (i.e., PTSD) on prosecutors’ offers at the pre-trial stage and their ratings of the defendant’s blameworthiness. Prosecutors’ offers were more lenient to stress-disordered veterans; specifically, they ...

Contributors
Wilson, Jennifer Kelly, Brodsky, Stanley L., Neal, Tess M.S., et al.
Created Date
2011

The 64-item Hare Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (Hare SRP; Paulhus, Neumann, & Hare, in press) is the most recent revision of the SRP, which has undergone numerous iterations. Little research has been conducted with this new edition; therefore, the goal of the current study was to elucidate the factor structure as well as the criterion-related, convergent, and discriminant validity of the measure in a large sample of college students (N=602). Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the best-fitting model was the original four-factor model proposed by the authors of the Hare SRP (compared to a one-factor, two-factor, and four-factor random model). The ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Sellbom, Martin
Created Date
2012

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

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

Aside from an article by Gutheil, Bursztajn, Hilliard, and Brodsky (2004), scant literature exists regarding why forensic mental health professionals refuse or withdraw from cases. The current study collected descriptive information about the reasons mental health experts decline or withdraw from forensic assessments, both early and late in the legal process. In response to an online survey, 29 practicing forensic psychologists and psychiatrists presented examples of case withdrawal from their professional experiences. Their major reasons included ethical issues or conflicts, payment difficulties, and interpersonal or procedural problems with retaining counsel or evaluees. The results indicate that there are compelling personal ...

Contributors
Brodsky, Stanley L., Wilson, Jennifer Kelly, Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2013

The current study used the Trauma Symptom Checklist-40 (TSC-40) to index both childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and childhood physical abuse (CPA) in a college student sample of both men and women (N = 441). Although the TSC-40 was designed as a measure of CSA trauma, this study concludes the measure is appropriately reliable for indexing the traumatic sequelae of CPA as well as CSA in nonclinical samples. The current study also explored the effects of gender and abuse severity on resulting symptomatology, finding that women and severely abused individuals report the most negative sequelae. Both CSA and CPA emerged as ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Nagle, Jacklyn E.
Created Date
2013

The Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants the right to trial by an impartial jury. Attorneys are expected to obtain information about potential juror biases and then deselect biased jurors. Social networking sites may offer useful information about potential jurors. Although some attorneys and trial consultants have begun searching online sources for information about jurors, the privacy rights of potential jurors’ online content has yet to be defined by case law. Two studies explored the issue of possible intrusion into juror privacy. First, an active jury venire was searched for online content. Information was found for 36% of the jurors; however, 94% ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Cramer, Robert J., Ziemke, Mitchell H., 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

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

Prompted by the involvement of psychologists in torturous interrogations at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the American Psychological Association (APA) revised its Ethics Code Standard 1.02 to prohibit psychologists from engaging in activities that would “justify or defend violating human rights.” The revision to Standard 1.02 followed APA policy statements condemning torture and prohibiting psychologists’ involvement in such activities that constitute a violation of human rights (APA, 2010). Cogent questions have subsequently been raised about the involvement of psychologists in other activities that could arguably lead to human rights violations, even if the activity in question is legal. While this language ...

Contributors
Brodsky, Stanley L., Neal, Tess M.S., Jones, Michelle A.
Created Date
2013

This report integrated quantitative and qualitative methods across two studies to compile descriptive information about forensic psychologists’ occupational socialization processes. We also explored the relation between occupational socialization and forensic psychologists’ objectivity. After interviewing 20 board-certified forensic psychologists, we surveyed 334 forensic psychologists about their socialization into the field. Results indicated that the occupational socialization processes of forensic psychologists, including socialization about objectivity, varied widely across time and situation as the field has developed. Moreover, three hypotheses regarding occupational socialization were supported. It was positively and significantly associated with years of experience, t(284) = 3.63, p < 0.001, 95% CI ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Brodsky, Stanley L.
Created Date
2014

The ethics of forensic professionalism is often couched in terms of competing individual and societal values. Indeed, the welfare of individuals is often secondary to the requirements of society, especially given the public nature of courts of law, forensic hospitals, jails, and prisons. We explore the weaknesses of this dichotomous approach to forensic ethics, offering an analysis of Psychology's historical narrative especially relevant to the national security and correctional settings. We contend that a richer, more robust ethical analysis is available if practitioners consider the multiple perspectives in the forensic encounter, and acknowledge the multiple influences of personal, professional, and ...

Contributors
Candilis, Philip J., Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2013-12-28

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

We conducted an international survey in which forensic examiners who were members of professional associations described their two most recent forensic evaluations (N=434 experts, 868 cases), focusing on the use of structured assessment tools to aid expert judgment. This study describes: (a) the relative frequency of various forensic referrals, (b) what tools are used globally, (c) frequency and type of structured tools used, and (d) practitioners’ rationales for using/not using tools. We provide general descriptive information for various referrals. We found most evaluations used tools (74.2%) and used several (on average 4). We noted the extreme variety in tools used ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Grisso, Thomas
Created Date
2014-09-25

This review of women’s participation in the legal system as expert witnesses examines the empirical literature on the perceived credibility and persuasiveness of women compared to men experts. The effects of expert gender are complex and sometimes depend on the circumstances of the case. Some studies find no differences, some find favorable effects for women and others for men, and still others find that expert gender interacts with other circumstances of the case. The findings are interpreted through social role theory (Eagly, 1987) and the role incongruity theory of prejudice (Eagly & Karau, 2002, Eagly & Koenig, 2008). Future directions ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2014-03-13

The knowledge of experts presumably affects their credibility and the degree to which the trier of fact will agree with them. However, specific effects of demonstrated knowledge are largely unknown. This experiment manipulated a forensic expert’s level of knowledge in a mock trial paradigm. We tested the relation between low versus high expert knowledge on mock juror perceptions of expert credibility, on agreement with the expert, and on sentencing. We also tested expert gender as a potential moderator. Knowledge effects were statistically significant; however, these differences carried little practical utility in predicting mock jurors’ ultimate decisions. Contrary to hypotheses that ...

Contributors
Parrott, Caroline Titcomb, Neal, Tess M.S., Wilson, Jennifer K., et al.
Created Date
2015-03

We used archival data to examine the predictive validity of a pre-release violence risk assessment battery over six years at a forensic hospital (N=230, 100% male, 63.0% African-American, 34.3% Caucasian). Examining “real world” forensic decision-making is important for illuminating potential areas for improvement. The battery included the Historical-Clinical-Risk Management-20, Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, Schedule of Imagined Violence, and Novaco Anger Scale and Provocation Inventory. Three outcome “recidivism” variables included contact violence, contact & threatened violence, and any reason for hospital return. Results indicated measures of general violence risk and psychopathy were highly correlated but weakly associated with reports of imagined violence and ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Miller, Sarah L., Shealy, R. Clayton
Created Date
2015-03-13

A qualitative study with 20 board-certified forensic psychologists was followed up by a mail survey of 351 forensic psychologists in this mixed-methods investigation of examiner bias awareness and strategies used to debias forensic judgments. Rich qualitative data emerged about awareness of bias, specific biasing situations that recur in forensic evaluations, and potential debiasing strategies. The continuum of bias awareness in forensic evaluators mapped cogently onto the “stages of change” model. Evaluators perceived themselves as less vulnerable to bias than their colleagues, consistent with the phenomenon called the “bias blind spot.” Recurring situations that posed challenges for forensic clinicians included disliking ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Brodsky, Stanley L.
Created Date
2016-02

This survey of 206 forensic psychologists tested the “filtering” effects of preexisting expert attitudes in adversarial proceedings. Results confirmed the hypothesis that evaluator attitudes toward capital punishment influence willingness to accept capital case referrals from particular adversarial parties. Stronger death penalty opposition was associated with higher willingness to conduct evaluations for the defense and higher likelihood of rejecting referrals from all sources Conversely, stronger support was associated with higher willingness to be involved in capital cases generally, regardless of referral source. The findings raise the specter of skewed evaluator involvement in capital evaluations, where evaluators willing to do capital casework ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2016-04-28

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

In an anonymous 4-person economic game, participants contributed more money to a common project (i.e., cooperated) when required to decide quickly than when forced to delay their decision (Rand, Greene & Nowak, 2012), a pattern consistent with the social heuristics hypothesis proposed by Rand and colleagues. The results of studies using time pressure have been mixed, with some replication attempts observing similar patterns (e.g., Rand et al., 2014) and others observing null effects (e.g., Tinghög et al., 2013; Verkoeijen & Bouwmeester, 2014). This Registered Replication Report (RRR) assessed the size and variability of the effect of time pressure on cooperative ...

Contributors
Bouwmeester, S., Verkoeijen, P.P.J.L., Aczel, B., et al.
Created Date
2017-03-01

This study examined a knowledge-centered theory of institutional trust development. In the context of trust in water regulatory institutions, the moderating impact of knowledge was tested to determine if there were longitudinal changes in the bases of institutional trust as a function of increases in knowledge about a target institution. We hypothesized that as people learn about an institution with which they were previously unfamiliar, they begin to form more nuanced perceptions, distinguishing the new institution from other institutions and relying less upon their generalized trust to estimate their trust in that institution. Prior to having specific, differential information about ...

Contributors
PytlikZillig, Lisa M., Kimbrough, Christopher D., Shockley, Ellie, et al.
Created Date
2017-04-17

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.