Margaret Stevenson joined Kenyon’s faculty in 2021. Her research interests are aimed at exploring the experiences of marginalized populations within the justice system through methodologically rigorous research rooted in social psychological theory. In one branch of research, for instance, she has examined how juvenile offender and victim race influences legal decision-makers’ perceptions of juvenile offenders of violent and sexual crime. Her peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters focus on applying principles of social psychology toward understanding miscarriages of justice within the legal system that predominantly affect disadvantaged populations (i.e., racial minorities). Her recent Oxford University Press edited books, "Criminal Juries in the 21st Century: Psychological Science and the Law" and "The Legacy of Racism for Children: Psychology, Law, and Public Policy," address racial discrimination within the justice system. 

Previously, Stevenson was a faculty member at the University of Evansville from 2008 until 2021, where she also served as director of the Honors Program. In 2020, she was elected president-elect of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 37’s Section on Child Maltreatment. 

Areas of Expertise

Social psychology; psychology and the law; stereotyping, racism, and prejudice

Education

2008 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Illinois at Chic

2005 — Master of Arts from University of Illinois at Chic

2003 — Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University

Courses Recently Taught

Psychology is the study of behavior and mental processes. In this introductory course, we will explore a variety of areas in which psychologists conduct research: the biological foundations of behavior, sensory and perceptual processes, cognition, learning and memory, developmental psychology, personality and social psychology, psychological disorders, and variability in behavior related to culture. This course is only open to first-year and sophomore students. This counts toward the foundations requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every semester.

Social psychology is the systematic study of social behavior. In general, it examines how we are affected by our social environment: how we perceive and interpret the behavior of others and the social situation, how we respond to others and they to us, and the nature of social relationships. Application of social psychological theory and methodology is encouraged through participation in small-scale laboratory or field observational studies. This counts toward the person and society requirement for the major. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or 110 or AP score of 5. Generally offered every year.

This course introduces students to the major topics represented in the field of psychology and law. Students examine how psychological research (across subdisciplines such as social, clinical, cognitive and community psychology) can contribute to a better understanding of the law or legal process, how the legal system can be informed by the results of psychological research, and how psychological research can be more reactive to legal issues. Topics include the reliability of eyewitness testimony; factors that affect jury decision-making; interrogation and confessions; the clinical determination of insanity, competence and future dangerousness; myths associated with “psychological profiling”; sexual victimization of adults and children; race and the law; and juvenile justice. This counts toward the person and society requirement for the major. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or 110 or AP score of 5. Generally offered every year.