Valerie Hans

Valerie Hans is Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School, where she teaches courses on social science and law, empirical legal studies, torts, and jury systems. She has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Toronto, where she was introduced to the field of psychology and law. She is the author and or editor of eight books and more than one hundred scholarly articles. She conducts empirical studies of legal decision making, with a particular focus on jury decision making. Her books on the jury include American Juries: The Verdict (2007, with Neil Vidmar); The Jury System: Contemporary Scholarship (2006); Business on Trial: The Civil Jury and Corporate Responsibility (2000); and Judging the Jury (1986, also coauthored with Neil Vidmar). Her coauthored book on The Psychology of Tort Law (2016) draws on theory and research she explored during her participation in the Judgment, Decision Making, and Social Behavior theme project.

The theme project on Judgment, Decision Making, and Social Behavior, with its emphasis on integrating psychology, behavioral decision research, and behavioral economics, offered her a terrific opportunity to discuss the most recent scholarship in these areas and to apply new insights from this work to civil jury decision making about damage awards. Although the public regards the jury as an institution very positively overall, many Americans perceive jury damage awards to be unpredictable, overly generous, and influenced by biases and prejudices. Legislatures, courts, and policy makers have introduced new approaches to dealing with damage awards, but often without a clear understanding of how juries decide them. During the theme project, she worked with team member Valerie Reyna to develop a comprehensive model of civil jury decision making about damage awards. Their work has resulted in a successful grant proposal from the National Science Foundation and multiple research publications.

Professor Hans is immediate past-president of the Law and Society Association, co-president of the Society of Empirical Legal Studies, coeditor of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Law and Social Science.

See here for links to the full text versions of many selected articles.



Department Office:
222 Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853