Claremont McKenna College is pleased to announce the publication of a new book by preeminent scholar and chair of the college’s Department of Psychology, Daniel Krauss. The Psychology of Law: Human Behavior, Legal Institutions, and Law argues that research in the field of law psychology has failed to address the real-world realities of the courtroom, and must be reexamined and reshaped in order to remain relevant in the twenty-first century. Krauss has co-authored the book, published by the American Psychological Association, with Dr. Bruce Sales, the Virginia L. Roberts chair of criminal justice at Indiana University, Bloomington.
“In this well-argued book, two of the best minds in psychology and law dare to suggest that thousands of social science studies in recent decades have had little impact on law and public policy,” said Jonathan J. Koehler, professor of law at Northwestern University. “Krauss and Sales clearly articulate not merely what needs to change, but how that change can take place to ensure that research in psychology and law impacts the law going forward.”
Sales and Krauss demonstrates how even subtle misunderstandings about the nature of courtroom testimony or the application of different legal statutes can produce research that is inadequate or misleading. When placed into a real-life context, the findings of current psycholegal research can become irrelevant or expose serious methodological flaws.
“This book provides a much-needed critical analysis of social and psychological studies on law and legal issues by pointing out the broader value and bureaucratic contexts in which legal actors and their consequent decisions are situated,” said Neil Vidmar, professor of law and psychology at Duke University. “Equally important, rather than being negative, Sales and Krauss provide useful prescriptive guidelines for increasing the relevance of our research.”
Krauss and Sales argue that a critical awareness of the on-the-ground realities of legal proceedings, along with a renewed focus on scientific methods, are key to developing research that can have a real and positive impact on law and policy. They present a blueprint for a new research approach aimed at developing studies that can have a real impact on judges, juries, and the entire legal profession.
Dr. Krauss received both his JD and PhD in clinical psychology and psychology, policy, and law from the University of Arizona. He is coauthor of the textbook Forensic and Legal Psychology (Worth Publishing 2015) recently released in its 2nd edition with Professor Mark Costanzo also from Claremont McKenna College, and has published numerous research articles and book chapters on the psychology of law. He is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, and has served as the U.S. Supreme Court Fellow to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He was also awarded the Early Career Research Award by the Western Psychological Association. He is currently a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.