Edkins, Vanessa

Associate Professor
Psychology, School of

Educational Background

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

Current Courses

Survey of Forensic Psychology

Principles of Individual and Community Advocacy

Critical Issues in Forensic Psychology: Legal Psychology

Research Methods and Statistics II

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. She also acts as a statistics consultant for the FBI and The Academy Group on various projects.

Additional Duties

Chair, Undergraduate Psychology Program

College of Psychology and Liberal Arts co-representative to the Academic Programs Assessment Committee

Psychology representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee


Current Research

Dr. Edkins' primary research interest is the intersection of psychology and the legal system, especially as it pertains to jurors. She has assessed juror decision making models and constructed a juror attitude questionnaire to predict how jurors will react to various aspects of a trial.

Her research program also focuses on the topic of plea bargaining. Specifically, what role does race play in the plea bargains that defense attorneys secure for their clients, and can plea deals be enticing enough to induce innocent people to plead guilty?

Currently, Dr. Edkins is 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 and in congressional testimony.

Dr. Edkins also assists The FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit and The Academy Group with various research projects including the analysis of hostage-taker motivations and the relationships that convicted child molesters had with their respective wives/girlfriends.

Selected Publications

Redlich, A., Bibas, S., Edkins, V., Madon, S. (under review). The Psychology of Plea Bargains.

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.