Skip to main content

more options

Welcome to

Social Science and Law


Welcome to the Social Science and Law web site.  I developed this site as part of the Social Science and Law course I offer regularly at Cornell Law School. As a social scientist teaching in a law school, I'm interested in exploring how social science is used - and sometimes misused - in legal cases. I hope you find this site useful.


Valerie Hans


    People attended the Cornell Sesquicentennial panel:
    Convicted by Law, Acquitted by Social Science. Observers of the criminal justice system have long suspected that some convicted defendants were innocent. The session highlighted the disturbing  cases of two individuals – Kirk Bloodsworth and Ada JoAnn Taylor – who were wrongfully convicted of murder, but who ultimately were exonerated. Taylor was interviewed by a Social Science and Law student, Amelia Hritz. Ms. Hritz joined Cornell faculty and Mr. Bloodsworth for what turned out to be a riveting exploration of the causes of wrongful conviction. To view the session in its entirety, please click here.

Featured Video:



In the video clip, Ada JoAnn Taylor discusses the interrogation tactics that led to her false confession. Her history of mental illness and physical abuse made her more vulnerable to these tactics and she came to believe that she was guilty.

Child Witnesses:

March 3, 2015: Stephen Ceci, Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology, Cornell University, lectured to Social Science and Law students about his work with child witnesses and his amicus brief in Ohio v. Clark, argued in the U. S. Supreme Court on that day.

See All Topics