Matthew Barry Johnson’s general interest involves how psychology informs due process. Dr. Johnson’s scholarship and research have focused on the areas of interrogation and confession, wrongful conviction, and parental rights termination in family court. He developed an ‘Interrogations Expectations' instrument to assess an aspect of the Miranda comprehension and waiver process that has been neglected in the interrogation literature. Professor Johnson's work in this area demonstrates that suspects may understand their Miranda rights but doubt police will honor those rights when asserted.
Professor Johnson is author of Wrongful Conviction in Sexual Assault: Stranger Rape, Acquaintance Rape, and Intra-familial Child Sexual Assault (Oxford University Press, 2021). This work reveals sexual assault as the most common offense associated with confirmed wrongful convictions in the US. Professor Johnson elaborates the unique wrongful conviction risks in different types of sexual assaults. In Chapter 4, titled “Race and Rape Prosecution in US History,” Professor Johnson presents the current and historical role of race bias in the prosecution of sexual assault.
Professor Johnson’s publications and testimony have been favorably cited in New Jersey Supreme Court decisions. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice. Dr. Johnson served on the Executive Committee of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP.org), the lead organization in the 2007 successful campaign that abolished the New Jersey death penalty. He has also served as a member of the American Bar Association, Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities – Task Force on Mental Disability and the Death Penalty. While a member of the National Board of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi), Professor Johnson authored the organization's Death Penalty Abolition Resolution (2012) and the ABPsi public policy paper on the death penalty (2013).
Dr. Johnson is engaged in the instruction and mentoring of psychology students at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels.
Awards and Grants
In 2020, Professor Johnson received the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award in recognition of his inspiration to his former student Jeffrey Deskovic, the founder of the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation. The National Association of Black Psychologists recognized Dr. Johnson with the Bobby Wright Community Service Award in 2019. In 2007, Professor Johnson was named the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Outstanding Teacher. In 2003, Professor Johnson was the recipient of the Frantz Fanon Memorial Award presented by the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus of the Post Graduate Center.
Professional Affiliations and Memberships
- American Psychology-Law Society
- Association of Black Psychologists
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
- Psychology and Law
- Interrogation and Confession
- Wrongful Conviction
- Family Conflict and Family Court
- Johnson, M.B., Baker, C., Prempeh, B. & Lewis, S. (2020) Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma: Wrongful Conviction Risks, Mis-information Effects, and Psychological Consultation. Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/24732850.2020.1726165
- Johnson, M.B. & Melendez, S. (2019) Spontaneous Misidentification in Wrongful Rape Conviction. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 37, 2, 5-20.
- King, R. & Johnson, M.B. (2016) The GRE, Psychology Doctoral Program Admissions, and Meritocracy: A Commentary. Psych Discourse, Spring 2016, 50 (1) http://psychdiscourse.com/index.php/263-spring-2016-v50-1/feature-articles/630-featured-11
- Johnson, M.B., Citron-Lippmann, K., Massey, C., Raghavan, C. & Kavanagh, A. (2015) ‘Interrogation Expectations’: Individual and race/ethnic group variation among an adult sample. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice 13, 1, 16-29.