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Dan Simon
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Dan Simon


University of Southern California

Fellowship year

Dan Simon plans to devote the fellowship to a book project that extends his examination of the criminal process through the lens of experimental psychology. Simon’s previous book, In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Process (Harvard University Press, 2012), focused specifically on the accuracy of criminal verdicts, whereas the current project will examine the process more broadly. The book will offer a micro- and mezzo-level account of how societal forces impact legal actors and institutions, ultimately translating into concrete policies, actions, and verdicts. The book takes as a starting point the well-documented callousness and exceptional harshness of the American criminal legal system. Tentatively titled When Law Goes Dark: The Psychology of the Carceral State, the book will seek to explain how a system entrusted with restraining punitive impulses ends up facilitating, channeling, and legitimating them. Simon plans also to continue running experimental studies on the unintended consequences of the adversarial system.

Simon is the Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology at the University of Southern California, where he holds appointments at the Gould School of Law and the department of psychology. Simon publishes both in psychological journals (mostly basic-psychological research) and in legal publications. His book In Doubt (Harvard, 2012) (translated into Korean, Chinese, and Japanese) received the 2015 Book Award from the American Psychology-Law Society.

For more information about his work, visit