Lawrence Patihis, M.A.



Degree Program: 

Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Behavior




Human episodic and autobiographical memory. Memory distortions. Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology.

Curriculum Vitae: 

Other information:          


Selected Publications


Wylie*, L. E., Patihis*, L., McCuller, L. L., Davis, D., Brank, E. M., Loftus, E. F., & Bornstein, B. H. (2014). Misinformation effects in older versus younger adults: A meta-analysis and review. In M. P. Toglia, D. F. Ross, J. Pozzulo, & E. Pica (Eds) The Elderly Eyewitness in Court, UK: Psychology Press. *First two authors contributed equally with sequence chosen by reverse alphabetical order. [at Amazon (US) (UK), Waterstones (UK)]  (Read here on Google Books)

Summary. In this collaboration between labs at University of Nebraska, Lincoln and UC Irvine, Wylie et al. and Patihis et al. conducted meta-analyses independently of one another, and this chapter represents the fusing of those two projects.  For the first time there are enough articles in existence to conduct a thorough meta-analysis on the misinformation effect in older adults and come to a conclusion that is relatively firm. Summing many studies we found older adults are more susceptible to the misinformation effect (compared to young adults). However we also noted more than one way of reducing this susceptibility, and argue that care should be taken not to discriminate against older eyewitnesses. (read more


Patihis, L., Ho, L. Y., Tingen, I. W., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Loftus, E. F. (2014). Are the “memory wars” over? A scientist-practitioner gap in beliefs about repressed memory. Psychological Science, 25, 519-530. doi: 10.1177/0956797613510718 (Supplemental Materials)

Summary. This study investigates how beliefs about memory have changed since the 1990s, and how they currently vary amongst psychologists and therapists of various stripes. The general public and undergraduates are also included. We also investigate whether there is anything different (in terms of personality, critical thinking, intelligence, empathy, etc) between people who believe in repressed memory, compared to those who don't. We found less belief in repressed memory among mainstream clinicians today compared with the 1990s. Groups that contained research-oriented psychologists and memory experts expressed more skepticism about the validity of repressed memories relative to other groups. A substantial gap between the memory beliefs of clinical-psychology researchers and those of practitioners persists today.

This research in the media:     OC Register     In the news online:     Psychology Today     National Geographic     Psychological Science press release      Science Daily     Medical Xpress     AAAS' EurekAlert     Motherboard     UCI News     UC Irvine Brief     Psypost     News Medical     Psych Central     MedIndia     "Good Therapy"     Mental Health Matters     French:     Sante Blog     Psy Fausse Memoire France (Interview {translated by PsyFMFrance})


Patihis, L., Frenda, S. J., LePort, A. K. R., Petersen, N., Nichols, R. M., Stark, C. E. L., McGaugh, J. L., & Loftus, E. F. (2013). False memories in highly superior autobiographical memory individuals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 20947–20952. doi:10.1073/pnas.1314373110

Summary. In this direct submission to PNAS, similar rates of memory distortion were found in highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) and control participants across a number of tasks. We found that 100% of participants, in both groups, indicated many false recognitions of words that were not actually presented (HSAM range 8-20 out of 20; average 14 in both groups). About 90% of participants had at least one overall false memory for a detail in a series of photographs on a misinformation task. Following suggestion, about 20% of participants reported a false rememberance of seeing non-existent news footage of the actual crash of United 93 on 9/11.  A subsequent imagination exercise resulted in several participants in both groups becoming more sure they had seen the footage. HSAM and control participants were similarly inconsistent in their memory for negative emotions in the week after 9/11 (inconsistent from one week to the next in 2012). (pdf here)

Related Commentary: Roediger, H. L., & McDermott K. B. (2013). Two types of event memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 20856-20857. doi:10.1073/pnas.1321373110

This research in the media:    On the radio:     Public Radio KPCC (audio file)     In the news online:     The Atlantic     NBC News     Smithsonian     TIME     Psychology Today    The Conversation     Discover    OC Register     National Geographic (Week's Intriguing Discoveries)     The Australian     New Republic     UC Irvine     Science Daily     Global News     Real Clear Science     Nature World News     io9    Yahoo! Health     Medical Daily     Science News Line     Neurorexia     Stone Hearth     HNGN    Free Thought Blogs     Augoeides     Article 3      Research Digest (British Psych Soc)     Brunei Direct     Being Human     Stochastic Scientist     Mindspirational     Skeptic Blog     Neurologica     Psych Central    The Verge     Harvard Kreiman Lab     APA gradPSYCH     German:     Augsberger Allgemeine     Frankenburger Zeitung     Die Welt     Wissenschaft     Handelsblatt     Lübecker Nachrichten     Gaubote     Alltagsforschung     Wirtschafts Woche     Probanden     Blick     Spanish:     SINC     Psiquiatria     Lamula     Quo     Portugese:     LHeS     Obvious    Folha de S Paulo     Italian:    Galilieo    Le Scienze     State of Mind     Norwegian:     Forskning     Danish:     Videnskab     Ekstra Bladet      Dagens     Russian:    Nabiraem     Hungarian:     Ipon     !!444!!!     Romanian:     Scientia     Dutch:     Kennislink     Wetenschap 24     French:     Psycho Temoins     Radio Canada     CCMM


Frenda, S. J., Patihis, L., Loftus, E. F., Lewis, H. C., & Fenn, K. M. (in press). Sleep deprivation and false memories of event details. Psychological Science.


for more publications see Curriculum Vitae.


Interests (cont): Is there a type of person that is particularly vulnerable to false memories; in other words is there a kind of false-memory-personality trait?  The flip side of this is a crucially important question, practically speaking, and that is: Is anyone immune from memory distortions?  Should anyone be exempt from the kind of caution and scrutiny that we advocate for in regards to memory contamination in the judicial system and psychotherapy?  Should people, for example, with very strong memory ability be excluded from the cautionary approach to eyewitness testimony--an approach that emphasizes the fallibility and malleability of memory?

As well as memory distortion research, I have recently also been peripherally involved in one of the most interesting new developments in memory science: highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) research.

Another interest is in other practical applications related to what people believe about how memory works, especially repressed memory, because this, again, affects how memory evidence is recovered and assessed in legal and therapy settings.

In addition to practical applications, I am intrigued by various theory questions. For example, questions about the standing of, including predictive power of, various memory distortion theories (e.g. source monitoring, fuzzy trace, etc.). Another interest is in how affective adaptation and emotion appraisal theory can explain distortions in memory for past felt emotion. Also of interest is the recent spate of reconsolidation articles published in top tier journals. And a final interest in a skeptical capacity is in theories such as motivated forgetting, catharsis theory, and various views on how traumatic memory works.

Also of interest is scientific skepticism and distinguishing science from pseudoscience. I particularly like Karl Popper's suggestion that the ideal approach to science is to actively seek disconfirming evidence for falsifiable hypotheses, and like to apply this idea to both science and to critical thinking outside of the lab--for example to avoid groupthink.



University of California, Irvine

Psychology and Social Behavior

4201 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway

Irvine, CA 92697-7085