Dan Simon

Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology
Last Updated: September 28, 2023

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 courses on Law and Psychology and on Wrongful Convictions at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Simon is the author of In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process (Harvard University Press, 2012). The book earned the Annual Book Award from the American Psychology-Law Society in 2015. Following the publication of In Doubt, Simon has lectured on the psychological dimensions of the criminal justice process to judges, prosecutors and police personnel across the United States, and in Israel, Mexico and Korea.

Simon is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Lashing Out: The Psychology of Carceral State (under contract with Oxford University Press).

Simon’s publications in legal-psychological crossover journals include: “The Adversarial Mindset” (Psychology, Public Policy & Law, 2020, with co-authors) and “On Juror Decision Making: An Empathic Inquiry” (Annual Review of Law & Social Sciences, 2019). His publications in law reviews include “Minimizing Error and Bias in Death Investigations” (Seton Hall Law Review, 2019); “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 elasticity of preferences” (Psychological Science, 2016, with co-author); “The coherence effect: Blending cold and hot cognitions” (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2015, with co-authors); “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).

Simon has served as a visiting professor at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. He served also on the Human Factors Committee of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) project of developing standards and guidelines for reforming the forensic sciences (2014 – 2020).

Simon earned an SJD degree from Harvard Law School, an MBA from INSEAD in Fontaineblau, France, and an LLB from Tel Aviv University. He worked as an attorney for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as a human rights lawyer on the West Bank. Before joining the USC Gould School of Law in 1999, 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.