Assistant Professor and Researcher on Legal Psychology
California State University, Fullerton
CGU alumna Dr. Iris Blandon-Gitlin has been at Cal State Fullerton working on various research projects addressing issues at the intersection of Psychology and Law. Some of those projects involve applied questions that directly inform police practice. In one recent project Dr. Blandon-Gitlin and colleagues developed an interview technique that increases investigators’ ability to accurately discriminate between liars and truth-tellers.
"Detecting deception in forensic settings is no better than flipping a coin, and the error rate in classifying an innocent person as guilty is alarmingly high," says Dr. Blandòn-Gitlin. Reasoning that these errors are partly due to the accusatory nature of interview protocols whereby innocent people show signs of arousal not because they are guilty but because they are scared of being the subject of an investigation, Dr. Blandon-Gitlin developed an information-gathering approach in which the questioning style is challenging to liars but not to truth-tellers. "What we want from applied research is to go beyond demonstrating that something is not working, and actually provide workable solutions. The criminal justice system will be more open to our research if we provide solutions that help them accomplish their goals," she says. Her other research projects on risk factors for false confessions and errors in eyewitness identifications also attempt to provide solutions to institutional problems that undermines the process of justice.