'Forensic Science in the Courtroom' to be topic of Sept. 19 lecture

A free public lecture, "Forensic Science in the Courtroom," will be given from 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. on Sept. 19 in Room 111 of the Wartik Laboratory on Penn State's University Park campus. The lecture will be delivered by Dawn McQuiston, associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University. This event is the second of a series of four presentations on forensic science and its use as a law-enforcement tool in Penn State's 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series.

McQuiston will speak about jurors' evaluation of expert evidence, the reliability of eyewitness testimony, and how fact-finders respond to forensic evidence in the courtroom. McQuiston teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics, psychology, and law. She also regularly gives guest lectures at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

McQuiston's research, currently supported by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, centers on the application of psychological science to issues relevant to the legal system. McQuiston andher colleagues, Jonathan Koehler and Michael Saks, professors at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, are among the first scholars to study how jurors respond to fingerprints, bite marks, tool marks, handwriting, footwear impressions, tire tracks, and other types of forensic-identification evidence. Her research includes the creation of videotaped simulations of trial segments displaying various forms of expert testimony presented by forensic scientists.

McQuiston has presented her research at the American Psychology-Law Society Conference, the National Conference on Science and the Law, and meetings of the Sackler Colloquium of the National Academy of Sciences, the European Association of Psychology and Law, and the European-American Psychology-Law/American Psychology-Law Society. She also is a regular contributor to Legal and Criminological Psychology, a journal of the British Psychological Society, and her research has been published in the journals Law and Human Behavior, Hastings Law Journal, Applied Cognitive Psychology, and Psychology, Crime and Law.

McQuiston was honored with an Award for Outstanding Research from the University of Texas in 2001, a Faculty Achievement Award from the Office of Student Engagement at Arizona State University in 2007, and a research grant from the National Institute of Justice in 2009.

McQuiston earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at Eastern New Mexico University in 1995 and master's and doctoral degrees in experimental psychology at the University of Texas in 1999 and 2003, respectively. She is a member of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychology-Law Society, the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, the Society for Empirical Legal Studies, and the Western Psychological Association.

The Penn State 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series is sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science. For more information, contact the Forensic Science Program at 814-863-6758 or kml142@psu.edu.

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Last Updated September 16, 2011