Researcher

Dr Kristy Martire

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

ABOUT ME

Biography

I am a Senior Research Fellow and a 2014 ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Psychology. My primary research goal is to better understand the process of evidence evaluation in criminal trials, and to improve the communication between experts and lay decision-makers in forensic settings.

Education

  • PhD in Forensic Psychology, The University of New South Wales, 2008
  • Master of Psychology (Forensic), The University of New South...view more

ABOUT ME

Biography

I am a Senior Research Fellow and a 2014 ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Psychology. My primary research goal is to better understand the process of evidence evaluation in criminal trials, and to improve the communication between experts and lay decision-makers in forensic settings.

Education

  • PhD in Forensic Psychology, The University of New South Wales, 2008
  • Master of Psychology (Forensic), The University of New South Wales, 2008
  • BA(hons), majoring in Psychology and History, The University of Sydney, 2004

RESEARCH

Research Goals

  • To understand lay interpretations of complex statistical and probabilistic evidence presented in criminal trials
  • To assess the impact of prior beliefs on evidence evaluation
  • To improve the quality of forensic science expert evaluative opinions
  • To facilitate clear communication between experts and lay decision-makers regarding evidential weight

Research in Detail

My collaborators and I utilise online crowd sourcing platforms and electronic questionnaires to examine the decision-making processes of large international samples of lay decision-makers.We use crime scenarios based on actual case facts, and expert evidence derrived from real forensic technologies, to assess the impact of evidence and evidence presentation characteristics on belief-updating. We collaborate with legal practitioners and academics, law enforcement operatives and organisations, psychologists, statisticians and forensic scientists in order to ensure the validity of our experimental approach and maximise the practical implications of our work.

Research Grants

  • ARC Linkage Project (LP160100008) 2016-2019: Improving the communication of forensic science evidence to courts.
  • ARC Discovery Early Career Resercher Award (DE140100183) 2014-2016: Unravelling the golden thread: Presumption of innocence, fair trial, and lay belief change.
  • UNSW Goldstar Award 2014 (RG134789): Intent and interpretation in the communication of forensic science evidence.
  • NH&MRC Project Grant (APP1021862) 2012-2015: Reducing smoking in socioeconomically disadvantaged groups: A trial of a financial counselling intervention with NRT.

Current Student Projects (PhD)

Making sense of a senseless act: Examining individual risk propensity and treatment needs of homicide offenders without a history of violence. Danielle Matsuo, part time PhD student.

Locating domestic violence within the general field of interpersonal violence: Do offenders really have unique charactieristcs, risk factors and criminogenic needs? Florence Gray-Weale, part time PhD student.

Pattern-Matching Expertise: Examining the relationship between visual statistical learning and pattern-matching accuracy. Bethany Growns, combined PhD/MPsychol student.

Supervision Opportunities/Areas

I am very keen to talk to potential PhD students who are interested in working on projects relating to the validity of forensic science evidence, lay comprehension of probabilistic scientific evidence or other aspects of the intersection between psychology and evidence.

Advice for prospective students

Working in my lab offers lots of opportunities to make discoveries with implications for professional practice in the criminal justice system. The 2009 NAS report has opened the door for cognitive psychologists to contribute to the refinement of criminal justice systems around the world by using their experimental skills to better understand human expert performance and lay decision-making. By deciding to work in the area you could find yourself generating the kind of knowledge that is currently being sought and relied upon by legal academics, law practitioners, forensic scientists and law enforcement agencies. You can also contribute more broadly to theories of decision-making under uncertainty, persuasion, and belief-updating. Our vibrant lab culture involves PhD, Masters and Honours students, academics, law students and research assistants. We meet weekly to talk about projects and ideas, to discuss topics in the media and literature, as well as emerging research questions. Everyone works together to share their knowledge and experience and to make sure you are always supported in your work.

If you are a PhD or Masters student and this area sounds right for you, do a little bit of reading to test the waters and come to me with your thoughts, plans and questions. It is best if you take ownership of your research topic from the start because it is going to be a big part of your life once you get underway. The NAS report is a good place to start with your reading. Ultimately we will work together to refine your idea to make sure that it will be an appropriate project for you to focus on. Honours students, you don't need to have firm plans of your own, but some preliminary reading will definitely help. Otherwise I have a list of studies that will work if you don't have a topic in mind.

Overall it is important to do your homework before you choose your research supervisor. So give yourself the best chance for success, read about the work we do, send me an email and talk to students to find out what it is like to be in the lab. We're all happy to help you get the information you need to make the best decision you can.

TEACHING & OUTREACH

Courses I teach

PSYC1027: Forensic Psychology: Crime, Courts and Corrections

PSYC3301: Psychology & Law

PSYC4103: Psychology 4B

PSYC7401: Interventions in Forensic Psychology 2 (co-ordinator)

PSYC7402: Applications of Forensic Psychology (co-ordinator)

PSYC7403: Experimental Psychology & Law

 

Professional affiliations and service positions

I am a member of the Australian Psychology Society and the College of Forensic Psychologists. I am an endorsed Forensic Psychologist, and am approved to supervise Forensic Psychology registras.I am also a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences.

I am a co-convenor of UNSW Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel - C Behavioural Sciences.

 

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

2014: ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award

2012: Australia & New Zealand Forensic Science Society award for "Best oral presentation" in the Science and Justice stream at the 2012 ANZFSS International Congress

2010: Faculty of Medicine Dean's Rising Star Award

2009: APS Maconochie Prize for the best publication by a PhD, Masters or Honours student in Forensic Psychology

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Location

School of Psychology
University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
Mathews Building
Room 439

Contact

02 9385 8563