- Titled Professor (2009)
- Virginia L. Roberts Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
Professor Sales received his B.A. in Psychology (with Distinction) and Ph.D. specializing in psycholinguistics ("Department Commendation for Overall Academic Performance as a Graduate Student") from the University of Rochester. While in residence, his studies were supported by a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a National Defense Educational Act Graduate Fellowship. After three years in residence in graduate school, Professor Sales entered the J.D. program at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (graduating cum laude). While in law school, he completed writing his Ph.D. dissertation and was employed as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology. Professor Sales is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Nebraska (currently on inactive status), and was admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.
Professor Sales started his professional career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was appointed as a Professor of Psychology and Law, created its Law and Psychology Pre-and Post-Doctoral Training Program, which has continuously operated for more than 40 years, and was the first person to receive grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to support pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training in law and psychology. Professor Sales subsequently was appointed as a Professor of Psychology, Sociology, Psychiatry, and Law at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where he taught courses in all four academic units and founded and directed the Psychology, Policy, and Law Graduate Training Program. He joined IU in January 2009 and was named Virginia L. Roberts Professor of Criminal Justice in July of that year.
Professor Sales’ various awards and honors include: American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Public Service ("...has pioneered the development of psychology and law as a field of research, teaching, and practice. ... Professor Sales' research, teaching, and public service activities have stimulated and served as a model for others in both the United States and abroad. He has directly and indirectly contributed to improving the plight of mentally and developmentally disabled persons, the operation of our courts and trial system, and the ability of mental health professionals to practice more effectively"); John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York Honorary Doctor of Science degree for being the "...the founding father of forensic psychology as an academic discipline ... [and i]n recognition of … outstanding contributions to mental health law and public policy, and to the field of forensic psychology ... "; American Psychology-Law Society award for distinguished contributions to psychology and law; election to the American Law Institute; election as President of the American Psychology-Law Society during two different decades; establishment by an undergraduate student Professor Sales mentored at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln of the Bruce Sales Law-Psychology Excellence Fund at that university; founding and first editor of the American Psychological Association journals ‘Law and Human Behavior’ and ‘Psychology, Public Policy, and Law’; and election to Fellow status in the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychology-Law Society, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society of Clinical Psychology, and the Society for General Psychology.
Professor Sales’ research interests focus on the use of psychosocial, theories, methods, and research findings, to understand and improve written law, legal systems, and the behavior of legal and non-legal actors when operating in legal or quasi-legal contexts, and how these components of what we commonly understand as law interact in influencing and defining criminal justice and related justice systems. Although his scholarly research and writing has addressed policing and corrections [policing - e.g., Criminal Profiling: Developing an Effective Science and Practice (with Scotia Hicks, 2006; Italian Translation, 2009); corrections - e.g., Sex Offending: Causal Theories to Inform Research, Prevention, and Treatment (with Jill Stinson and Judith Becker, 2008) and Treating Adult and Juvenile Offenders with Special Needs (with Jose Ashford & William Reid, 2001)], his work has primarily emphasized the courts [e.g., The Science of Attorney Advocacy: How Courtroom Behavior Affects Jury Decision Making (with Jessica Findley, 2012); Courtroom Modifications for Child Witnesses (with Susan Hall, 2008); Scientific Jury Selection (with Joel Lieberman, 2007); Experts in Court: Reconciling Law, Science, and Professional Knowledge (with Daniel Shuman, 2005; Korean Translation, 2009); More than the Law: Social and Behavioral Knowledge in Legal Decision-Making (with Peter English, 2005); and Family Mediation: Facts, Myths and Future Prospects (with Connie Beck, 2001)]. Professor Sales’ interests in understanding and improving law and justice systems also has led to an interest in how social scientists gather and use behavioral and social science information to advance law and policy [e.g., Psychology of Law: Human Behavior, Legal Institutions, and Law (with Daniel Krauss, 2015)]. During his career, Professor Sales has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and four other federal agencies, as well as a foundation and two professional organizations. His graduate students have received fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Fulbright Program, the David and Minnie Meyerson Foundation, and the Mexican and Japanese governments.