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Welcome to the Forensic and Legal Psychology Laboratory!

About our lab

Our laboratory is primarily concerned with forensic and legal psychology research.

Forensic and legal psychology concerns the intersection of psychology and the criminal justice system and examines human behavior related to the legal process, including eyewitness memory, testimony, jury decision making, the insanity defense, and lie detection. Within that area, some of our research concerns criminal behaviors such as homicide and rape. For example, one thing I am interested in is using details from the crime scene, like the weapon, to predict who the perpetrator is in a homicide case. This is really fun research since a lot of people including the police have all sorts of ideas about what crime scene details mean, and they are frequently wrong or sometimes there is just no existing data. But it is fascinating that people form many beliefs about such things, and sometimes are very confident in those beliefs, despite lack of empirical evidence. Other research focuses on topics related to the fourth amendment. But we do actually do more than just forensic psychology research, which includes social cognitive research like on self-control, and evolutionary research like understanding exploitative strategies. 

We are currently located at:  IMBM 309

Current lab members
Owen J. Stanczak 

Owen is a senior at the University of Scranton and currently a double psychology and philosophy major, in the process of declaring a criminology minor, and a peace and justice studies concentration. He is also part of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors program. Areas of research he is interested in right now includes jury decision making and biases in the courtroom, as well as predicting perpetrators from crime scene evidence. 

Emma Trautfetter 

Emma is senior Psychology major, a Counseling and Human Services minor, and in the process of declaring of Lifespan Development concentration. Emma is also part of the University's Honors program. Her interests include the development and treatment of mental illness in children and adolescents, especially mood and anxiety disorders. She is also interested in false confessions and criminal profiling. 

Madeline Williams

Madeline is a junior psychology and philosophy double major at The University of Scranton. She is also part of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors program, and a member of the women’s crew team. She is particularly interested in the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety. She is also interested in research about false accusations, criminal motives, and child abuse/neglect cases. 

Anna F. Gowarty

Anna is a sophomore at the University of Scranton, majoring in psychology and criminal justice. She is also part of the University’s Honors program. Her interests include juror bias impacts on cases, effectiveness of criminal profiling, and police interactions with individuals with mental health disorders.

Interested in being a research assistant in our lab?

To be considered for a research assistant position the following criteria must be met:

  • GPA higher than 3.3

  • Must have had or are currently taking at least one research methods course and one statistics course (they might be combined like psych 211 and 212) OR have read a basic introductory statistics/method book

  • Taken a forensic psychology OR legal psychology course OR read at least one textbook in the area (e.g., Costanzo & Krauss, 2018).

Feel free to contact Dr. Reynolds to apply for a research position.

Upon admission to the lab, all lab members are trained on using the statistical software R, and will be encouraged to read the following book on statistical analysis.

Recent Conferences
EPA 2024
Does Being Guilty Cause Police Avoidance?
Authors: Dr. Joshua J. Reynolds, Dr. Victoria Estrada-Reynolds, Owen Stanczak, Emma Trautfetter, and Maria Rocha

Applying Decision Trees to Classify Information about Serial Killers
Authors: Dr. Joshua J. Reynolds 

Predicting Perceptions of The Justification of Officer-Involved Shootings Using Decision Trees
Authors: Owen Stanczak, Madeline Williams, and Dr. Joshua J. Reynolds

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