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Vanessa Edkins

Emeritus Faculty | College of Psych. and Liberal Arts - School of Psychology

Educational Background

B.S., Psychology Brandon University 2002
M.A., Social Psychology University of Kansas 2003
Ph.D., Social Psychology University of Kansas 2007

Professional Experience

Aside from her teaching experience, Dr. Edkins has acted as a reviewer for journals, grants, textbook companies, and conferences. She has also constructed online courses and instructor manuals within her areas of expertise.

Additional Duties

Treasurer, American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of APA)

Within FIT: Academic Programs and Assessment Committee, Academic Advising Task Force, Assessment Committee

Selected Publications

Edkins, V., Redlich, A. (Eds.; Under contract with Summer 2018 publication date). A System of Pleas: Social Science's Contributions to the Real Legal System. Oxford University Press, NY.

Edkins, V., & Dervan, L. (2018). Freedom now or a future later: Pitting the lasting implications of collateral consequences against pretrial detention in decisions to plead guilty. Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law, in press.

Redlich, A., Bibas, S., Edkins, V., Madon, S. (2017). The psychology of defendant plea decision making. American Psychologist, 72, 339-352.

Edkins, Vanessa, Falligant, J. M., Lavoie, J., & Lawal, Temitayo. (2017). Psychology and the legal system: The courtroom and beyond. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 3, 117-120.

Costopoulos, J.S., Plewinski, A.M., Monaghan, P.L., & Edkins, V.A. (2016). The impact of U.S. government assistance on recidivism. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 27, 303-311.

Edkins, V.A., Van der Meer, B., van Wijk, A., and van Leiden, I. (2015). A cross-cultural comparison: United States and the Netherlands. In R.R.Hazelwood (Ed) Wives of Child Molesters within the Family. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Hazelwood, R.R., Warren, J.I., Edkins, V.A., Napier, M.R., Conlon, S.R., and Taroli, A. (2015). The wives of child molesters: A descriptive study. In R.R.Hazelwood (Ed) Wives of Child Molesters within the Family. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Hazelwood, R.R. Edkins, V.A., Napier, M.R., and Conlon, S.R. (2015). Adult to child sexuality. In R.R.Hazelwood (Ed) Wives of Child Molesters within the Family. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Edkins, V. (2014). The research underlying eyewitness identification policy reforms: Current state and future directions. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 14, 431-433.

Baker, J.N., & Edkins, V.A. (2013). How should society treat sex offenders, as monsters or with humanity? PsycCRITIQUES, 58.

Edkins, V.A., & Dervan, L.E. (May, 2013). Pleading innocents: Laboratory evidence of plea bargaining’s innocence problem. Current Research in Social Psychology, 14-21.

Dervan, L.E., & Edkins, V.A. (2013). The innocent defendant’s dilemma: An innovative empirical study of plea bargaining’s innocence problem. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 103, 1-49.

Edkins, V. & Lee, L. (2012). The new face of employment discrimination: How do cases of subtle racism play out for mock jurors? The Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, 50, 47-54.

Edkins, V. (2011).  Defense attorney plea recommendations and client race: Does zealous representation apply equally to all?  Law and Human Behavior, 35, 413-425.

Edkins, V., & Royal, K. (2011).  Evaluating the due process and crime control perspectives using Rasch measurement analysis.  Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 7 (16), 48-65.


Dr. Edkins main research interest is in the area of plea bargaining in the legal system. Specifically, what impacts a defendant's choice to accept a plea? Can plea deals be enticing enough to induce innocent people to plead guilty? And what role do the additional, collateral consequences attached to plea deals have on perceptions of guilty pleas?

Dr. Edkins has been a part of Steering Committee on an NSF Research Coordination Network grant looking at Plea Bargaining from multiple disciplines (psychology, sociology, economics, law, etc.). Her research on plea bargaining has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and in congressional testimony. Her and colleagues received funding from the Japan Foundation to investigate the psychological processes underlying plea bargaining across various cultures.

Research & Project Interests

  • Plea bargaining
  • Race and the legal system
  • Collateral consequences of guilty pleas
  • Employment law
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