Pekka Santtila

Pekka Santtila
Professor of Psychology, NYU Shanghai; Global Network Professor, NYU

Professor Santtila is Professor of Psychology, NYU Shanghai; Global Network Professor, NYU. Previously, he was Professor of Applied Psychology and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at the Åbo Akademi University in Finland.

His research is focused on legal psychology and on human sexuality. His current legal psychological research aims at improving the quality of investigative interviews using simulated interviews with avatars. His research into human sexuality aims to understand and develop treatments for sexual dysfunctions with a particular focus on understanding how sexual arousal interplays with the feeling of disgust. 

Professor Santtila has provided investigative advice to the police, acted as an expert witness in numerous legal cases and consulted child sexual abuse investigations. He is a licensed psychologist and specialist in legal psychology (Finland).


Select Publications

  • Haginoya, S., Ibe, T., Yamamoto, S., Yoshimoto, N., Mizushi, H., Santtila, P. (2023). AI Avatar Tells You What Happened: The First Test of Using AI-Operated Children in Simulated Interviews to Train Investigative Interviewers. Frontiers in Psychology: Forensic and Legal Psychology

  • Kask, K., Pompedda, F., Palu, A., Schiff, K., Mägi, M.-L., & Santtila, P. (2022). Transfer of Avatar Training Effects to Investigative Field Interviews of Children Conducted by Police Officers. Frontiers in Psychology: Forensic and Legal Psychology.

  • Pompedda, F., Zhang, Y., Haginoya, S., & Santtila, P. (2022). A Mega-Analysis of the Effects of Feedback on the Quality of Simulated Child Sexual Abuse Interviews with Avatars. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 37, 485–498.

  • Segal, A., Pompedda, F., Haginoya, S., Kaniusonyte, G., & Santtila, P. (2022). Avatars with child sexual abuse (vs. no abuse) scenarios elicit different emotional reactions. Psychology, Crime & Law

  • Zhang, Y., Segal, A., Pompedda, F., Haginoya, S., & Santtila, P. (2022). Confirmation Bias in Simulated Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Interviews: Abuse Assumption Influences Interviewing and Decision-making Processes. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 27, 314-328.



  • PhD, Psychology
    Abo Akademi University, Finland
  • MSc, Investigative Psychology
    University of Liverpool, UK
  • MA, Psychology
    Abo Akademi University, Finland

Research Interests

  • Legal and Investigative Psychology
  • Human Sexuality
  • Child Sexual Abuse Investigations
  • Eyewitness Identifications

Courses Taught

  • Legal Psychology
  • Psychology of Human Sexuality