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Dan Simon

Dan Simon

Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Telephone: (213) 740-0168
Fax: (213) 740-5502
699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA Room: 304A
Book Website: Link

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Professor Dan Simon specializes in the field of Law & Psychology. He teaches Criminal Law, as well as various courses in the intersection of law and psychology. He also teaches a course on law and psychology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Professor Simon is the author of In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process (Harvard University Press, 2012).  Following the publication of In Doubt, Professor Simon has been invited to lecture on the psychological dimensions of the criminal justice process to groups of judges, prosecutors and police personnel across the United States and in Israel.

Professor Simon’s publications in law reviews include "The Limited Diagnosticity of Criminal Trials" (Vanderbilt Law Review, 2011); "A Third View of the Black Box: Cognitive Coherence in Legal Decision Making" (The University of Chicago Law Review, 2004), and "A Psychological Model of Judicial Decision Making" (Rutgers Law Journal, 1988). He has also published a number of articles in experimental psychological journals, including "The Construction of Preferences by Constraint Satisfaction" (Psychological Science, 2004; with co-authors), "The Redux of cognitive consistency theories: Evidence judgments by constraint satisfaction" (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2004; with co-authors), and Bidirectional Reasoning in Decision Making by Constraint Satisfaction (Journal of Experimental Psychology—General, 1999, with Keith J. Holyoak).

Professor Simon has been a visiting professor at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, and Columbia Law School. He earned an S.J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and an LL.B. from Tel Aviv University. He worked as an attorney for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as human rights lawyer on the West Bank.  Before joining the USC Gould School of Law in 1999, Professor Simon was a member of the faculty of the University of Haifa Law School. He serves as an ad hoc referee for academic presses, peer reviewed journals in experimental psychology, and the National Science Foundation.

Works in Progress

  • Ghostwritten Testimony (draft available).
  • The Adversarial Mindset (in preparation; with Douglas Stenstrom & Stephen J. Read).
  • Towards a Great Framework of Cognitive Bias (in preparation; with Stephen J. Read).

Scholarly Publications

  • "The Elasticity of Preferences" (with Stephen A. Spiller). Psychological Science. Prepublished October 20, 2016. - (www)
  • "The Coherence Effect: Blending Cold and Hot Cognitions" (with Doug Stenstrom & Stephen J. Read). 109 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  369-394 (2015). - (SSRN)
  • "Turn to Accuracy." In Special Symposium: Criminal Law at the Crossroads. 87 Southern California Law Review 421 (2014) - (SSRN)
  • "The Effect of Legal Expert Commentary on Lay Judgments of Judicial Decision Making" (with Nicholas Scurich). 10 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 797-814 (2013) - (SSRN)
  • "Judicial Overstating," In Special Symposium: The Supreme Court and the American Public, (with Nicholas Scurich). 88 Chicago-Kent Law Review 411 (2013) - (SSRN)
  • In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process (www), (Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 2012 - www). To be released by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press (In Chinese).  

    Reviews of In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process:  
    • Brandon L. Garrett, "The Banality of Wrongful Executions," 112 Michigan Law Review 979. (Link)
    • Eddie Greene & Brian H. Bornstein, "Nudging the Justice System Towards Better Decisions" 103 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 1155-1170 (2013). (Link)
    • Samuel Weiss, “Psychology’s Reasonable Doubts” Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review (July, 2013). (Link)
    • Robert Costello, 40 Criminal Justice and Behavior 349-350 (March 2013). (Link)
    • Patrick Ince, 104 British Journal of Psychology 143-145 (2013). (Link)
    • Sawyer Sylvester, Law and Politics Review 507-510 (2012). (Link)
    • George C. Thomas III, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books (September 2012). (Link)
    • Gary L. Wells, 96 American Judicature Society (July - August 2012). (Link)
    • Lauren-Brooke Eisen, New York Law Journal (July 3, 2012). (Link)
    • Bryan Mossop, Scientific American, (November 30, 2012). (Link)
  • "Parallel Constraint Satisfaction as a Mechanism for Cognitive Consistency" (with Stephen J. Read). In Cognitive Consistency: A Fundamental Principle in Social Cognition (B. Gawronsky & F. Strack, eds.), pp. 66-86 (New York: Guilford Press, 2012).
  • "More Problems with Criminal Trials:  the Limited Effectiveness of Trial Mechanisms." 75 Law & Contemporary Problems 167 (2012, no.2). - (SSRN)
  • "Lay Judgments of Judicial Decision-Making" (with Nicholas Scurich). 8 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 709-727 (2011). - (SSRN)
  • "The Limited Diagnosticity of Criminal Trials." 64 Vanderbilt Law Review 143 (2011). - (SSRN)
  • "In Praise of Pedantic Eclecticism: Pitfalls and Opportunities in the Psychology of Judging," in The Psychology of Judicial Decision Making (with David E. Klein and Gregory Mitchell, eds.) 131-147 (Oxford University Press, 2010). - (SSRN)
  • "The Transience of Constructed Preferences" (with Daniel C. Krawczyk, Airom Bleicher, & Keith J. Holyoak). 21 Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 1-14 (2008). - (SSRN)
  • "Construction of Preferences by Constraint Satisfaction" (with Daniel C. Krawczyk, & Keith J. Holyoak). 15 Psychological Science 331-336 (2004), reprinted in The Construction of Preference, S. Lichtenstein and P. Slovic eds., pp. 235-245 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007). - (SSRN)
  • "A Third View of the Black Box: Cognitive Coherence in Legal Decision Making." 71 University of Chicago Law Review 511 (2004). - (SSRN)
  • "The Redux of Cognitive Consistency Theories: Evidence Judgments by Constraint Satisfaction" (with Chadwick J. Snow, & Stephen J. Read). 86 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 814-837 (2004). - (SSRN)
  • "Effects of Individual Expertise and Task Importance on Pre-decision Reevaluation of Alternatives" (with Aaron L. Brownstein & Stephen J. Read). 30 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 819-904 (2004).
  • "Structural Dynamics of Cognition: From Consistency Theories to Constraint Satisfaction" (with Keith J. Holyoak). 6 Personality and Social Psychology Review 283-294 (2002). - (SSRN)
  •  "Freedom and Constraint in Adjudication: A Look Through the Lens of Cognitive Psychology." 67 Brooklyn Law Review 1097 (2002). - (Hein)
  • "The Emergence of Coherence Over the Course of Decision Making" (with Lien B. Pham, Quang A. Le, & Keith J. Holyoak). 27 Journal of Experimental Psychology—Learning, Memory & Cognition 1250-1260 (2001). - (PDF)
  • "The Double-Consciousness of Judging: The Problematic Legacy of Cardozo." 79 Oregon Law Review 1033 (2000). - (Hein)
  • "Bidirectional Reasoning in Decision Making by Constraint Satisfaction" (with Keith J. Holyoak). 128 Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 3-31 (1999). - (PDF)
  • "A Psychological Model of Judicial Decision Making.” 30 Rutgers Law Journal 1 (1998). - (Hein)
  • "The Demolition of Homes in the Israeli Occupied Territories." 19 Yale Journal of International Law 1 (1994). - (Hein)

Other Publications

  • What’s the Right Police Body Camera Policy? (with Jim Bueermann): Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2015 - (www)
  • Sobering Lessons From the Lone Juror in the Etan Patz Case, The Huffington Post: The Blog, May 15, 2015 - (www)
  • DNA Testing Could Save Texas Man’s Life, CNN Opinion, November 25, 2014 - (www)
  • Front-end and Back-end Solutions (Sept. 2014). Mending Justice: Sentinel Event Reviews, National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice, at p. 28 - (www)
  • To Hell with the Truth. The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Conversation, October 15, 2012.
  • Bringing the DA’s Office into the 21st Century. The Daily Journal, October 8, 2012.
  • Reforming the Criminal Justice System. The Huffington Post. May 30, 2012.
  • Israel’s Settlement Liability. Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2011.
  • A publicity stunt from Larimer County District Attorney. The Rocky Mountain News, Colorado, November 28, 2008.
  • Coherence in Perceptions of a Romantic Relationship (with Aaron L. Brownstein and Stephen J. Read) (published in The Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2004).
  • Constraint Satisfaction Processes in Social Reasoning (with Stephen J. Read and Chadwick J. Snow) (published in The Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2003).
  • "Israel On the Verge of a Bill of Rights," 9 Israel Studies Bulletin 9 (1993).


American Public Media's "Marketplace"
April 18, 2017
Re: Jonathan Handel

Jonathan Handel was interviewed about contract negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and television and movie producers. "The union has worked to release writers from exclusivity agreements but only if they make less than $210,000 a year," said Handel. "The irony here is that the Writers Guild's struggling TV writers are upper income, not middle class".


Gregory Keating
February, 2017

"The Priority of Avoiding Harm and Principles of Risk Regulation" was solicited and selected for a special, symposium issue of the journal Revus.

Gillian Hadfield
February, 2017

Gillian Hadfield participated in a roundtable discussion of her book “Rules for a Flat World” at the Silicon Flatirons, University of Colorado Boulder School of Law.

Gillian Hadfield
February, 2017

Keynote, "Rules for a Flat World," Entrepreneurship and Collaboration Conference, University of Colorado, Boulder