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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


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

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