Elizabeth Loftus Elected to National Academy of Sciences

University of California, Irvine Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus Elected to National Academy of Sciences

IRVINE, Calif., April 20 (AScribe Newswire) — Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor in UC Irvine’s School of Social Ecology, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Loftus, a forensic memory expert, was one of only 72 scientists from around the world elected to the respected 141-year-old academy today. Members are nominated and elected based on distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

False Memory Syndrome

False memories are therapy-induced fantasies masquerading as memories that seem very real to the person being treated. They often involves accusations and allegations of incest, Satanic Ritual Abuse, or cult involvement.

“I’m honored to join such accomplished scientists and scholars,” Loftus said. “It’s a humbling experience. I’m still saying ‘pinch me’ to myself.”

Loftus joined UCI’s faculty in 2002 with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior and the Department of Criminology, Law and Society. A pioneer in false memory research, her work during the past three decades indicates that memory is highly susceptible to distortion and contamination, and that people can be influenced to “remember” familiar or common experiences that did not actually occur. Loftus has examined numerous claims of repressed memory in court that have turned out to be highly dubious or false. She also has explored the memories of eyewitnesses whose accounts are sometimes inaccurate and have led to the conviction of innocent people.

Two years ago, the Review of General Psychology ranked Loftus No. 58 among the top 100 psychologists of the 20th century – a list that begins with luminaries B.F. Skinner, Jean Piaget and Sigmund Freud. Loftus is the highest-ranked woman on the list. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. UCI faculty previously elected to the academy include Francisco Ayala, Ralph Cicerone, William Daughaday, Walter Fitch, R. Duncan Luce, James McGaugh, Ricardo Miledi, Masayasu Nomura, Larry Overman, Peter Rentzepis, A. Kimball Romney, F. Sherwood Rowland, Donald G. Saari, George Sperling, Brian Skyrms, Doug Wallace and Robin Williams.

About the University of California, Irvine:

The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with approximately 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,300 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit: www.today.uci.edu/experts.

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