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Tess Neal Collection


Date Range
2008 2018

This project began as an attempt to develop systematic, measurable indicators of bias in written forensic mental health evaluations focused on the issue of insanity. Although forensic clinicians observed in this study did vary systematically in their report-writing behaviors on several of the indicators of interest, the data are most useful in demonstrating how and why bias is hard to ferret out. Naturalistic data was used in this project (i.e., 122 real forensic insanity reports), which in some ways is a strength. However, given the nature of bias and the problem of inferring whether a particular judgment is biased, naturalistic ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S.
Created Date
2018-04-19

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

People who testify as expert witnesses in court are often fearful of blundering, feeling inept, and being “caught out” during cross-examinations. There are several reasons for lapses in professional demeanor and responses while testifying. We offer seven baits or temptations that can draw an expert into behaviors that are unbecoming, with examples of responses that are inappropriate and harmful. These seven bait and lures are accompanied by descriptions of how to handle them.

Contributors
Neal, Tess, Brodsky, Stanley, Dvoskin, Joel
Created Date
2017-12-01

We investigated the role of moral disengagement in a legally‐relevant judgment in this theoretically‐driven empirical analysis. Moral disengagement is a social‐cognitive phenomenon through which people reason their way toward harming others, presenting a useful framework for investigating legal judgments that often result in harming individuals for the good of society. We tested the role of moral disengagement in forensic psychologists’ willingness to conduct the most ethically questionable clinical task in the criminal justice system: competence for execution evaluations. Our hypothesis that moral disengagement would function as mediator of participants’ existing attitudes and their judgments—a theoretical “bridge” between attitudes and judgments—was ...

Contributors
Neal, Tess M.S., Cramer, Robert J.
Created Date
2017-11-07

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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.