Lab Picture

Legal Decision Making Lab

The Legal Decision Making Lab explores the factors that affect legal decision making in a variety of contexts. Though most of our published work has focused on juror decision making, we have also studied decision making among other legal players. Topics we have studied include:
  • Grand juror decision making in police use of force cases
  • The impact of emotions on juror decisions
  • Decisions to accept plea bargains
  • How people define negligence and recklessness in civil cases
  • Individual characteristics that predict acceptance of special defenses such as the Gay Panic Defense
  • The role of race, gender, and disabilities on legal decisions


People in the lab:

Narina Nunez, PhD

Research Interests:
  • Jury decision making
  • Emotions and decision making
  • Negligence and recklessness in civil law
  • Juvenile justice
Narina Nunez



Samuel Choi, MS


Research Interests:
  • The influence of emotions on jury-decision making
  • Impact of body-worn cameras on police and civilian behavior
  • Psychology of teaching and learning the classroom
  • Stereotyping and prejudice (e.g., anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Police psychology
Sam Choi



Nicholas Michalski, MS


Research Interests:
  • Jury decision making
  • Perception of LGBTQ+ individuals in the legal system
  • Policing
  • Stereotyping and prejudice
  • Moral psychology
Nicholas Michalski



Olivia Smith, MS


Research Interests:
  • Social psychological factors impacting juror decision making
  • Public perceptions of criminal justice reform
  • Lay understanding of legal concepts and processes
Olivia Smith



Haley Sturges, MS


Research Interests:
  • Jury decision making, specifically in relation to:
    • Child victims
    • Vulnerable adults as victims and defendants
    • Exonorees
    • Criminal and civil trials
    • Grand juries
  • Public perceptions of policing
  • Impact of individual differences on jury decision making
  • Impact of technology on perceptions of crime
Haley Sturges