Tara M. Burke


Associate Professor

Department of Psychology

Ryerson University  

350 Victoria Street     

Toronto, Ontario

M5B 2K3   

(416) 979-5000 ext. 6519

E-mail: tburke@psych.ryerson.ca



Welcome to my departmental home-page. This page contains general information regarding my research interests, as well as links to the courses I am currently teaching.


I received my Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Toronto.  My doctoral work examined the effects of pre-trial publicity on jurors’ verdicts. Although common sense would suggest that such negative publicity must have a prejudicial impact on jurors, the research is not so clear; if there is a strong link, we have not yet found it.  

Since 1999, I have been a faculty member in the Department of Psychology here at Ryerson University.   The courses I teach include  Psychology and Law (Psy300), Social Psychology (Psy124), and Introductory Psychology (Psy102/202).

Research Interests

My primary research interests relate to Psychology and the Law; potential biases in jury selection, how jurors make decisions, the impact of pre-trial publicity on juror's verdicts, and the use of alibi evidence.  At the moment, I am examining factors that increase the likelihood of wrongful convictions.

Recent Publications

            Brehm, S. S, Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Burke, T.M. (2008).  Social Psychology, First Canadian Edition.  Houghton Mifflin/Nelson. 


Burke, T.M., Turtle, J.W., & Olson, E. (2007).  A psychological approach to the study of alibis.  Book chapter in The Handbook of

            Eyewitness Psychology, Toglia, M., Read, J.D., Ross, D., Lindsay, R.C.L. (editors): Erlbaum.


Burke, T.M., Abramovitch, R., Zlotkin, S.  (2005). Children=s understanding of the risks and benefits associated with research. Journal of Medical Ethics, 31, 715-720.


Burke, T.M. & Turtle, J. W. (2003).  Alibi evidence in Criminal Investigations and Trials: Psychological and Legal Factors.  The Canadian Journal of Police and Security Services, 1, 193-200. 

Recent Presentations

Burke, T.M. & El Sibaey, S. (March, 2008).  The use and misuse of alibi information in wrongful convictions: A review of case files

            from the Innocence Project.” Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Psychology-Law Society,

            Jacksonville, Florida.


Burke, T.M. (June, 2007).  Wrongful convictions and sources of error: a social science perspective”.  Invited talk for the

            Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission Advisory Committee on Wrongful Convictions (2006 Senate Resolution

            No. 381, Pr’s No. 2254). 


Burke, T.M. (March, 2007).  The role of Alibis in Wrongful Convictions: The Innocence Project”. Paper presented at the inaugural

            conference of “Off the witness stand: Using Psychology in the practice of justice”. John Jay College of Criminal Justice,

            New York, New York.


Burke, T.M. (March, 2006). “Now I remember!”: How a change in an alibi affects perceptions of guilt.  Poster presented at the Annual

            Conference of the American Psychology-Law Society, St. Petersburg, Florida.