This Never Happened

January 25, 2012 — Elizabeth Loftus - Department of PsychologyFor several decades, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California–Irvine, has been manufacturing memories in unsuspecting minds. Sometimes this involves changing the details of events that were actually experienced. Other times, she plants entire memories of events that never happened, or “rich false memories.” Rich false memories can be planted even when the experiences would have been implausible or impossible. Once introduced, they look very much like true memories—in terms of behavioral characteristics, emotionality and neural signatures. Moreover, once possessed, they have consequences for people, affecting later thoughts, intentions and behaviors.

Join the Department of Psychology for “Manufacturing Memories” with Dr. Elizabeth Loftus at 3p.m. on February 24, 2012 and learn more about this intriguing work. The event will take place in Geary Auditorium A in the New College Building (245 N. 15th Street). A reception will follow.

Loftus received her Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1970 and currently holds faculty positions in three departments at UC Irvine (Psychology & Social Behavior; Criminology, Law & Society; and Cognitive Sciences), and in the School of Law. Her research has focused on the malleability of human memory. For her groundbreaking work in this area, she has received six honorary doctorates and was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. She is past president of the Association for Psychological Science, the Western Psychological Association, and the American Psychology-Law Society. She has also appeared on 60 Minutes and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and has been involved with a number of high-profile court cases, including those of Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson, Martha Stewart and Ted Bundy.