Psychology-Law Concentration

The psychology-law concentration includes a distinguished group of faculty with research interests in criminal confessions, deception detection, eyewitness identification, plea bargaining, expert opinion evidence, forensic psychology, forensic science, memory, legal decision-making, and police interviewing and interrogation. The group comprises faculty members from cognitive psychology (Dr. Jason Chan, Dr. Chris Meissner, Dr. Andrew Smith, Dr. Miko Wilford) and social psychology (Dr. Zlatan Krizan, Dr. Tess Neal). Applicants interested in working with faculty in the psychology-law concentration should apply to either the Ph.D. program in cognitive psychology or the Ph.D. program in social psychology. The psychology-law concentration is home to the Stavish Fund for Excellence in Psychology and Law that provides scholarships and fellowships to psychology-law graduate students. Please visit the psychology admissions page for information about applying to the psychology-law concentration in psychology. For questions, please contact Sarah Kallsen at or call 515-294-1742.


Jason C.K. Chan

False memory and eyewitness memory

Zlatan Krizan

Sleep and alertness, provision and collection of human intelligence

Christian A. Meissner

Interrogation, deception, cross-race identification

Tess Neal

Associate Professor
Expert reasoning and judgment, quality of expert testimony, forensic psychology, public policy

Andrew Smith

Associate Professor
Eyewitness and recognition memory, decision-making, signal detection theory

Miko Wilford

Associate Professor
Legal decision-making, plea bargaining, eyewitness identification



Amelia Mindthoff

Ph.D., Florida International University
Evidence-based investigative interviewing; juror perceptions/decision making

Liz Elliott

Ph.D., Ontario Tech
Detecting deception; investigative interviewing


  • 2021-2022: Stavish Graduate Award to Rachel O’Donnell
  • 2021-2022: Stavish Graduate Fellowship to Nydia Ayala and Alex Goldstein
  • 2020-2021: Stavish Graduate Awards to Nydia Ayala and Rachel O’Donnell

Career Placement of Recent Graduates:

  • Nydia Ayala (2024, Ph.D.) – Assistant professor at Washington and Lee University
  • Ryan Ditchfield (2021, Ph.D.) – Assistant professor at California State Fresno
  • Rachel Dianiska (2020, Ph.D.) – Postdoctoral fellow at University of California Irvine
  • Krista Manley (2019, Ph.D.) -User experience researcher at Procore
  • Dominick Atkinson (2019, Ph.D.) – Postdoctoral fellow at University of Idaho
  • Sara Davis (2018, Ph.D.) – Assistant professor at University of North Florida