Dan Simon

Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology
Last Updated: April 26, 2024

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, published by Harvard University Press in 2012. The book has been translated into Korean, Chinese and Japanese, and it 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 tentatively 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: “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). His publications in experimental psychological journals include: “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). Most recently, he published “Towards a General Framework of Biased Reasoning” (Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2024, with Stephen Read).

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 also served for six years 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 various academic presses, peer reviewed journals in experimental psychology, and national science foundations.