Professor Roseanna Sommers's teaching and research interests revolve around the many ways in which the law misunderstands people and people misunderstand the law. As a psychologist, she seeks to document people's intuitions about legal concepts such as consent, autonomy, and moral responsibility. Her work is part of a growing interdisciplinary field known as "experimental jurisprudence," which borrows empirical techniques from the social sciences to clarify core concepts in the law.
Professor Sommers's work asks questions like: How do people determine whether someone is acting voluntarily? How do we think about interferences to autonomy, such as coercion, deception, incapacity, and manipulation? Are our legal doctrines defensible in light of empirical insights from the social and cognitive sciences? She is currently co-leading a study funded by the National Science Foundation that examines the psychology of compliance.
Professor Sommers received her JD and PhD in Psychology from Yale. She received a BA In Psychology, with honors, from Swarthmore College. Prior to joining the Michigan Law faculty, she served as a Harry A. Bigelow Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, where she founded the Psychology and Law Studies Lab.
Professor Sommers's CV.
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