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Dr Carolyn Semmler
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QualificationsB.Psyc (Hons), PhD (Flinders University)
I'm a Lecturer with the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide. My research applies psychological theory (cognitive and social) to the law. In particular I'm interested in the problem of how to obtain and use information reported by witnesses' to crime to make decisions about the liklihood that a given suspect is the offender. I'm also interested in using psychological principles to improve the accuracy and efficiency of decisions made by our courts. As far as intellectual geneology goes, I'm the 'offspring' of the eyewitness research group headed up by Prof. Neil Brewer at Flinders University. I still publish a bit with Neil and my other colleague from Flinders Dr Nathan Weber. I have also collaborated with leading international eyewitness reseachers including Prof. Gary Wells and Prof. Rod Lindsay on projects related to the use of eyewitness identification evidence. More recently I have collaborated with Assoc. Prof. Amy Bradfield Douglass on theoretical explanations of the postidentification feedback effect.
Other work within the area of Psychology and Law has focussed on juror comprehension of judge's instructions and methods for improving comprehension. The impact of mood and emotion (in particular anger and sadness) on juror decision making and application of social persuasion theory to the courtroom. I am also interested in the human operators use of automated face matching systems to identify individuals in security settings. This work is being carried out in collaboration with Rebecca Heyer and Dr Brett McLinden at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
Outside of the psychology-law area I have recently developing interests in the application of psychological theory to the medical decision making, in particular to better understand and improve doctors' treatment decisions. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Peter Mansfieldfrom the School of General Practice. We have a systematic review of education about drug promotion underway and the development of a scale designed to measure 'healthy skepticism'. Both projects have been made possible by Summer Scholarships granted to Brennan Ong and Grant Dewar.
In 2004, I was named the as winner of the Australian Psychological Society College of Forensic Psychologists "Macconochie Prize". I am a member of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, I review papers (occasionally) for the journals Law and Human Behavior, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Applied Cognitive Psychology and Psychology, Crime and Law.
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