Memory is an integral part of any court proceeding. Jurors often evaluate witnesses on how credible they are based on how detailed, emotional or consistent their memories are. Few people are more compelling on the stand than an eye witnesses. How these memories are formed – or retrieved – can also be significant in legal proceedings, as we saw in the 1990s when hundreds of therapy clients entered therapy with one problem and emerged with horrific memories of ritual sexual abuse.
Today’s guest, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, is the world’s leading researcher on the forensic aspects of memory. She has testified in hundreds of cases on how memory impacts the legal process, and how investigative techniques can undermine – or support – accurate memory. On today’s show, Dr. Joni Johnston will talk with her about her research into memory and what her findings mean for truth and justice.
Elizabeth Loftus is Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine. She holds positions in the Department of Psychology Science, and the Department of Criminology, Law & Society. And she is a Distinguished Professor of Law. She was the Founding Director of the Center for Psychology and Law.