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Forensic Research Group

Dr. Christopher Weaver


Primary areas of interest (active ongoing projects):

Malingering of PTSD

Police Crisis Intervention Training

Secondary areas of interest (secondary datasets, hibernating projects, etc.)

Violent and General Criminal Offending in Veterans

Psychopathy and Violence Risk Assessment

Violence Risk Among Psychiatric Inpatient Settings


2-4 new members

Apply: Interested students are asked to submit the following to Dr. Weaver by the announced deadline via the email address above. Applications will be considered as they arrive:

Cover letter (2-page max) that includes the following minimum information:

  • Research interests
  • Brief description of current career goals (e.g. professor, clinician, consultant, etc.) and populations of interest (e.g. incarcerated offenders, SMI, Veterans, juveniles, etc.), understanding that these are still flexible at this point.
  • List any interestse in other areas related to forensic psychology (e.g. suicide risk assessment, sex offenders, training police officers to interact with mental health patients, etc.)
  • Rank order of and interest in the specific ongoing projects (see project descriptions below)
  • Anticipated available start date (Sept. 1st, immediately, etc.).  This will become the applicants official start date so please indicate carefully.
  • Any plans the applicant has to work in multiple research labs should the applicant be accepted into the adult forensic lab.
  • Computer software with which the student is particularly skilled (Powerpoint, SPSS, Endnote, etc.) and any programming experience you have, particularly with Mac/iPhone or web page construction and maintenance
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Writing sample(s), preferably something for which the applicant is the primary author. The topic need not be forensic in nature.  Send Dr. Weaver the best writing samples!  If the applicant chooses to send the paper from Research Methods, please send the original draft (unedited) and the final draft.

Selection: Qualified applicants will be considered by our entire existing research group as student opinions are critical to maintaining our work environment. Depending on the number of applications, interviews will be conducted by Dr. Weaver and/or existing members of the lab. These may be in group or individual format.  New students will be selected based on merit, degree of fit with the existing research team and projects, and writing skills.  Strong applicants with relevant interests outside of the forensic area are also encouraged to apply, specifically in the areas of PTSD and psychological assessment.

Notification: Students accepted into the Forensic Research Group will be notified by email according to the standard PAU notification policies for a given year.  Offers will not be made to students who we do not think will fit with the group.  Please do not over-interpret the time of day during which you get an acceptance email.  Dr. Weaver will only invite you if he is excited to work with the applicant and see a path to mutual success in research.  That being said, Dr. Weaver recognizes the stress of the situation and applicants may contact Dr. Weaver via the email above at any time during the process to inquire as to the “current state of the application with the group.”

Primary Projects:

  1. Improving the detection of deception in PTSD assessment – The presentation of the beta version of the Forensic Research Group's new measure of PTSD malingering occurred in March 2015.  The research group has both that original development dataset and an additional replication dataset in hand.  We do, however, maintain primary data collection in this simulated malingering design study at local community colleges (e.g. DeAnza). This is the largest-scale project and all members of the group participate in this study in some manner. The study involves significant amounts of data entry and management, but it also gives students face-to-face assessment time (MMPI, BDI, PTSD self-report measures), as well as advanced training, supervision, practice, and face-to-face experience conducting risk assessment (primarily suicide).
  2. Police Officer Crisis Intervention Training – The primary focus of this area currently is our National VA Police Train-the-trainer Program Evaluation project that is funded by the VA’s National Center for PTSD and Veterans Justice Programs Office.  Funding for this project is expected to last through 2018.  The switch from primary data collection to write-up and dissemination is scheduled for the 2015/16 academic year.  Plans that have been on hold for some time include those to expand the research to archival police administrative data, and to evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based version of the training that has been developed in collaborations between PAU and the VA’s National Center for PTSD. 

Expectations: There will be numerous expectations of all lab members including presentations at conferences and participation writing manuscripts for submission to scientific journals. Research Group participants will be expected to attend lab meetings throughout your participation in the lab (including dissertation year), and to contribute to our larger projects.  Work should average about 10 hours per week. Most of this activity (except lab meetings, etc.) can happen on a schedule of your choosing, although the research group does continue to function through the summer.

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