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Hayley Cullen

PhD in Forensic Psychology
Hayley is currently completing her PhD in Forensic Psychology. She is researching 'inattentional blindness' in legal settings and the juror's perception of this during criminal trials.
Hayley Cullen on campus

My research

My research is in the area of forensic psychology, and explores the concept of ‘inattentional blindness’ in legal settings. Inattentional blindness refers to when individuals look but fail to see something because their attention is focused elsewhere.

I am interested in looking at this phenomenon in criminal cases, where individuals might fail to see crimes occurring, and to explore some of the factors that influence this experience in both eyewitnesses and police officers. My research also looks at how jurors perceive individuals who have experienced inattentional blindness for a crime during criminal trials.  

I hope that my research can help improve address shortcomings within the criminal justice system. Memory of eyewitnesses and police officers is crucial for criminal investigations, but inattentional blindness affects memory in negative ways.

By better understanding the factors that influence inattentional blindness, and finding ways to reduce its occurrence, I hope we can improve memory for criminal events. This might also enable us to develop educational and training programs about inattentional blindness for police officers.

As inattentional blindness is poorly understood, exploring how jurors perceive inattentional blindness is important for safeguards to be put in place during criminal trials, so that miscarriages of justice due to inattentional blindness can be avoided.

My experience

I chose to study at the University of Sydney initially due to its longstanding history, its reputation for diversity, and its expertise in my chosen field. When completing my Bachelor’s degree, I was inspired by the passion and innovation of my lecturers to follow their lead and continue at the University of Sydney in a research degree.