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Linda J. Demaine

Arizona State University

This chapter explores “social influence and the law,” which we conceptualize as consisting of three parts: (1) social influence in the legal system, (2) the legal regulation of social influence in our everyday lives, and (3) law as an instrument of social influence. Within each part, we identify the primary topics that psychologists have studied empirically and review the existing research. The review thus highlights the many and varied contributions of psychologists related to social influence and the law. The review also reveals a marked imbalance in the social influence and law literature—the vast majority of psychological research falls within the first part, despite the fact that the latter parts capture equally or more important topics from both legal and psychological viewpoints. We end the chapter by explaining this uneven distribution of efforts and urging psychologists to take a broader approach to social influence and the law.

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