Information about our mentor series: Experts in the field can be an inspiration to newcomers, and give current students in the areas of psychology and law a sense of direction. This section of the EAPL-S website includes information from famous researchers and professionals in the field of psychology and law. You will find their CVs and a brief statement on what they think every current or future graduate student should know.
Joel Dvoskin, Ph.D
Profession: Clinical, Forensic, and Correctional Psychologist and Consultant. His CV here.
Famous for: Playing the guitar and singing (with more enthusiasm than talent) at AP-LS meetings with Chris Slobogin. Also famous for: Knowing
famous people like Kevin and Randy and Steve.
Words of Wisdom: Don’t be mean. Mean people suck.
Prof. Stephen Hart, Ph.D.
Profession: Professor, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Canada; Visiting Professor, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway. His CV here.
Famous for: Roasted leg of lamb, crusted in black olive tapenade; Psychopathy and Risk Assessment Research
Words of Wisdom: Things I have been taught by people, which I now accept as true:1. Apply to good graduate programs, because you will have lots of good fellow students. You will learn more working with your fellow students than with your supervisor. 2. Abjure the arrogance of certainty. Accept that wisdom comes from recognizing what you don’t know. We are, each of us, closer to knowing nothing than to knowing everything. 3. Related to #2 above: Don’t believe everything you write. This will make it a lot easier to change your mind when you realize you were wrong about so many things. 4. Your most important career decisions are those that will make you happy and healthy. I can’t think of anyone whose dying words were, “I only wish I had spent more time working.”
Prof. Harald Merckelbach, Ph.D.
Profession: Professor of Psychology; dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University. His website here.
Famous for: Dissociation, fantasy proneness, malingering, and false memories
Words of Wisdom: Writing an excellent research proposal always starts with 1. a fresh idea 2. reading Sternberg’s The Psychologist’s Companion.
Helen Paterson, Ph.D.
Profession: Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, University of Sydney. Her CV here.
Famous for: Eyewitness memory research.
Words of Wisdom: When faced with a huge daunting task, set small achievable goals for yourself. I wrote my entire PhD thesis by writing 500 words per day.
Prof. Stephen Penrod, Ph.D.
Profession: Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. His CV here.
Famous for: Changing Jobs Frequently; Jury and Eyewitness Research
Words of Wisdom: Life’s short. Have fun–pick career paths that are amusing, pick research topics that are amusing, pick amusing friends and pick amusing fights.
Prof. Ronald Roesch, Ph.D.
Profession: Professor of Psychology, Simon Fraser University. His CV here.
Famous for: Competency to stand trial research. Past editor of Law and Human Behavior. Currently acting editor for Psychology, Public Policy and Law.
Words of Wisdom: Get involved in research as early as possible in undergraduate years. Present at conferences, publish.
Prof. Corine de Ruiter, Ph.D.
Profession: Clinical Forensic Psychologist, Professor of Psychology at the University of Maastricht. Her CV here.
Famous for: Violence risk assessment and psychopathy research; media appearances on forensic psychological topics.
Words of Wisdom: Research advice: Curiosity is essential; perseverance too. Clinical forensic work: Curiosity about the person you are assessing/treating/supervising is a must. There is always more than meets the eye. Academia: Integrity and quality will bring you rewarding collegial friendships with other forensic psychologists from across the globe.
Prof. Randy Salekin, Ph.D.
Profession: Forensic Psychologist, Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama. His website here.
Famous for: Research on Juvenile and Developmental Forensic Psychology Issues
Words of Wisdom: When you first attend conferences and specifically the scientific talks at the conferences you may be alarmed at the sheer amount of work being conducted in the different areas of law and psychology and the answers that have already been provided. You may even find this intimidating and believe that you may not be able to contribute much more to the law-psychology research picture. My advice would be to listen closely to the research talks and you will find assumptions and shortfalls within the current research. These are avenues for potential future research and discovery.
Prof. Graham Davies, Ph.D.
Profession: Professor Emeritus University of Leicester. His CV here.
Famous for: Adult/child eyewitness testimony and police practices
His thoughts on what makes a good poster: A good poster is rarely a conventional written paper printed onto a big sheet of cardboard: it needs its own special approach. Remember most of your readers will not be specialists and are not going to spend a long time reading your poster. They will have lots of other posters to look at and only a limited time to do it in. So, get your message across in the title : make it short and crisp-think newspaper headlines. The reader needs to know quickly what the poster is about- and if you can squeeze in the take-home message as well, better still. Avoid formal Introductory sections with literature reviews-no one has time to read them: stick to the key study or theory which motivated your own research. Avoid tables in favour of bar charts and other visual aids-remember you have your average reader’s attention for only 2-3 minutes at best. Abandon conventional discussion sections in favour of bullet points highlighting the main findings and the conclusions you have drawn from them. Think about using relevant illustrations to catch the reader’s eye-they don’t have to be just of your experiment in progress but could illustrate themes or applications-Google Images is, as always, a mine of useful material! Its always good to have a fuller, more formal version of the paper available for the specialists to take home (perhaps containing that literature review and the details of those fourth-order interactions). I appreciate you can’t always bring pre-prints on long haul (with airline luggage restrictions, it can sometimes come down to either the pre-prints or a second pair of trainers). If not, a sign-up sheet for electronic copies will do the trick-but make sure it’s clearly designed, rather than a ragged piece of paper torn from an exercise book that you then loose. Remember poster sessions are a drinks party with illustrations. Most people-readers and players enjoy them and they are a great opportunity to meet and chat informally with the great and the good in your area of research as well as your fellow students-have fun!
Prof. David Cooke, Ph.D.
Profession: Professor of Forensic Clinical Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University; Visiting Professor in the faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen. His CV here.
Famous for: Violence risk assessment, Psychopathy
His thoughts on what makes a good presentation: Graham Davies has provided wise words on how to prepare an effective and enjoyable poster. What if you want to go the next step and give your first presentation at an international conference? There’s lots to think about, good data, good design and a good story – many people have these, but they let themselves by poor PowerPoint. Death by PowerPoint is often the norm at conferences ─ and psychologists, of all people, should know better. Here are my three top tips for improving your PowerPoint presentations. Tip One, you should be audience-focused not presenter-focused. PowerPoint slides should not be your script or cue-cards ─ dump the bulleted list and present images ─ diagrams and images. The combination of images with what you say enhances what people understand and what they retain. Interesting images, or even images that are ambiguous until you explain them, grab the attention of the audience, they intrigue the audience, and keeps them focused on what you have to tell them. Tip Two, remember to KISS ─ Keep It Simple Stupid. You have had months or years to mull over your results; you cannot expect your audience to absorb tables of correlations, t-tests or whatever statistic you prefer: you have to share your conclusions by highlighting the key findings ─ these should be few. Too much information, too fast, impresses no one ─ if you try that you will bore, infuriate and quickly lose your audience. Tip Three, guide your audience by building slides over time. PowerPoint allows you to use animations to place different elements on your slide. For example, if you are presenting line graphs, you might start with a title explaining what bi-variate relationship you are about to consider, then bring in the axes and their labels, only then do you bring in the first line graph and, in turn, subsequent lines. What does this achieve? It means that you take your audience with you, like the PowerPoint magician you hope to be, you guide their attention to where you want it. This promotes communication of your ideas, which after all, is the whole point of a presentation. Finally, be creative ─ and have some fun ─ a bit of humour showing you don’t take yourself too seriously helps to engage your audience and makes the experience less stressful than it might be.