Maddy Millar

Maddy started her PhD in the Law School in January 2021, after completing her MRes in Psychology at the University of Bath where she achieved a distinction grade. She is an alumnus of the University of Exeter, having graduated in 2015 with a first-class BSc in Psychology. Her interests lie in understanding biases in cognition, more specifically, uncovering the processes involved in sub-optimal decision making. Maddy is keen to apply her knowledge of cognitive psychology to juror’s evaluation of evidence in the criminal justice system, to develop strategies which facilitate a better understanding of evidence and reduce miscarriages of justice arising as a result of biased evidence evaluation.

Research Interests

Maddy works alongside Rebecca Helm, Bethany Growns, and Richard Moorhead in the Evidence-Based Justice Lab at the University of Exeter. Maddy’s PhD research focuses on the effects of System Justification in jury decision-making. She is interested in learning about how juries perceive threats to their social system, and how their responses to such threats affect verdict decisions, perceptions of defendants and victims, as well as how it may lead to varying interpretations of legal instructions and failure to engage in critical evidence evaluation as required by the adversarial model. She is interested in using empirical methodologies to test predictions.

Maddy’s previous research has focused on systemic biases during system-threat, in particular the Covid-19 pandemic. She has examined the relationship between status quo biases and mechanisms which promote natural and homogenous categorisation, highlighting findings which explain counterintuitive perspectives on Government action.

Select Conference Appearances

“The harmful effects of system justification in the justice system”, SWDTP Conference: Exploring the Kaleidoscope of Graduate Research, April 2021.

“The influence of Covid-19 on system-justifying tendencies and jury decision-making”, Covid-19 and the Crisis in Criminal Justice, Poster Presentation, July 2021.

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