A woman poses for a photo in a courtroom.

ASU professor wins Early Career Award for contributions to psychology-law


Firoz Jameel

Dr. Tess Neal with Arizona State University’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences won the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence in Psychology and Law, co-sponsored by the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Academy of Forensic Psychology.

Neal’s interdisciplinary research blends psychology, ethics and law to inform how people reach decisions in the legal system. The assistant professor focuses on how expert witnesses inform the decisions made by judges, lawyers and other members of the courts.  Through her work, she has analyzed how the biases of forensic experts shape legal decisions.

She is the 20th recipient of the Saleem Shah Early Career Award.  The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the interdisciplinary field of psychology-law within six years of completing their highest academic degree.

“I’m truly humbled to be honored by my peers and colleagues with the Saleem Shah Award,” said Neal. “This award helps highlight that my research so far has been meaningful and worthwhile, and it inspires me to think more broadly about how psychology and law can work together to improve the justice system.”

Neal plans to continue studying the biases of forensic experts, and what the legal system and experts themselves can do to minimize the effects of these biases.  She hopes her research can identify how our preconceptions shape decisions and the impact this has on the real world.

The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences is part of ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences on the West campus.