Women's History Month: Elizabeth Loftus

March 2017

Recently named an AAAS fellow and recipient of the 2016 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science

With the passage of Public Law 100-9 on March 12, 1987, Congress established March as Women’s History Month to honor the many contributions American women have made to our nation. In the School of Social Ecology, we have numerous female faculty members making history -- including Elizabeth Loftus.

Renowned for her groundbreaking work in the malleability of human memory, Elizabeth Loftus is one of the most influential psychologists of all time – and also one of the most controversial. Her 40-year research career has focused on the misinformation effect, eyewitness fallibility, and the creation and nature of false memories. The Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior and Criminology, Law and Society has demonstrated that memories can be implanted or manipulated by things we are told: facts, ideas, suggestions and other post-event information. Her work has been validated by the finding – based on more than 350 U.S. prisoners freed after DNA analysis – that the most common reason for wrongful conviction is faulty eyewitness testimony. Loftus has provided expert counsel or testimony in over 300 civil and criminal trials, including the high-profile cases of Martha Stewart, the Hillside Strangler, Oliver North, Scooter Libby and Michael Jackson. In 2016, she was awarded the international John Maddox Prize for courage in promoting science and evidence in a matter of public interest.

Read more about other UCI women making history