The Fiction of Memory

The ANU Research School of Psychology Annual Lecture is a highlight of our year, showcasing significant impact of Psychology on community and social issues.

Join Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus to hear her speak about 'The Fiction of Memory' in this one-night only event at Llewellyn Hall.  Professor Loftus is a renowned scientist who has had a transformative impact on the science of human memory, criminal justice and the pursuit of scientific freedom.

Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus has spent her career uncovering the malleability of human memory. From eyewitness accounts to our own treasured autobiographical memories-Loftus' pioneering research has shown that memory can be full of fiction. Ranked as one of the top 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, her research has changed criminal justice systems around the world and shaped the way psychologists, lawyers, and the general public think about human memory. In her public lecture Professor Loftus traverses the science of human memory, its malleability, and consequences for the criminal justice system and beyond.

In a recent profile in Nature, Loftus is described as having "done more than any other researcher to document the unreliability of memory in experimental settings." The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes Loftus' work as having "a profound impact on the field of psychology, on scholars outside the field, and on the administration of justice around the world."

In a career spanning nearly 50 years, Professor Loftus has written 23 books and published over 500 scientific articles on the malleability of human memory, eyewitness testimony, and courtroom procedure. She has been awarded many of the highest honours in the field of psychological science and has been elected president of the major international associations in psychology, including the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Psychology-Law Society, and the Experimental Psychology division of the American Psychological Association (APA). In broader recognition of her research, Loftus has also been elected to prestigious societies around the world, including the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the American Philosophical Society.

Loftus has served as an expert witness in hundreds of cases and been a strong advocate of those who have been wrongfully convicted based on inaccurate eyewitness memory. Indeed she has dedicated much of her career to understanding why eyewitness memory can go awry-whether the results of her research were welcomed or not. Accordingly, Nature, Sense about Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have honored her fierce advocacy for scientific freedom and her pursuit of civil justice.

Her impact across diverse fields of science and society is quite aptly captured by the multiple faculty positions she holds at the University of California, Irvine-in  Psychological Science; Criminology, Law & Society, Cognitive Sciences, and the School of Law.

For more on the career of Distinguished Professor Loftus see the Nature profile on Loftus here: https://www.nature.com/news/evidence-based-justice-corrupted-memory-1.13543