Dr. Najdowski received her B.A. in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She joined the University at Albany in 2013.
Dr. Najdowski’s research centers on examining the psychological causes of miscarriages of justice, which occur either when innocent individuals are mistakenly caught up in the criminal justice system or when guilty individuals wrongly evade punishment. She is specifically interested in understanding the social psychological conditions that produce these errors for marginalized, vulnerable, and victimized populations, including racial minorities, youth, and women. Her studies address basic social psychological phenomena—stereotype threat, racial bias, stereotype content, attribution theory, social influences, stigma, psychosocial maturity, social reactions, structural patriarchy—while also shedding light on important real-world issues—racial disparities in police contacts, false confessions, and wrongful convictions; treatment of juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system and deterrence of juvenile offending; and perceptions of sexual violence against women. Dr. Najdowski’s interdisciplinary approach generates empirical knowledge that can both advance psychological science and improve equity in criminal justice policy and practice.
Dr. Najdowski’s research has generated over $460,000 in funding from agencies like the National Science Foundation, the American Psychological Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. Her work has been recognized with several nationally competitive early scholar awards, and published in leading journals in her field, including Law and Human Behavior and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. She also co-edited two books, Children as Victims, Witnesses, and Offenders: Psychological Science and the Law with Guilford Press and, more recently, Criminal Juries in the 21st Century: Psychological Science and the Law with Oxford University Press. Dr. Najdowski’s teaching and mentoring also has been recognized by the American Psychology-Law Society and the University at Albany School of Criminal Justice Graduate Student Association.
To learn more about Dr. Najdowski and her research, please visit her lab website here https://www.albany.edu/pulselab/.