Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Talking with Jeff Kukucka is a little like buying a new hardback book – solid and substantial with that little pop of energy when the book is first cracked open. A new book also offers the promise of excitement and fresh ideas.
Arriving at Towson University in 2014, Kukucka, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is pretty new. To him, psychology is a well-established discipline that continually offers fresh applications. “At its core, psychology is the study of human behavior and cognition. So anything having to do with humans has an element of psychology…marketing, mental health, criminal justice. Students in our department have many options to pursue.”
Kukucka brought a fresh option along with him: psychology and law. His research focuses on the application of psychology to the legal system with the goal of preventing wrongful convictions. He concentrates on systemic and very human issues, such as how suspects and witnesses are interviewed, how juries make decisions, and how forensic evidence is analyzed.
Kukucka is an advocate for recording interrogations to minimize errors and to protect both suspects and police. “A confession is seen as infallible; it is seen as foolproof. But false confessions happen, even for serious crimes.” The significant social justice aspect of his research will likely engage a new group of socially conscious students.
What’s the next chapter in his career? Kukucka will serve as a faculty advisor to Psi Chi, the psychology honor society, and will eagerly promote psychology and law as an exciting option for research and application. He definitely has too much energy to sit idly on a shelf.