Psychologist Speaks about Importance of Memory

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., who is considered an expert on human memory, spoke to more than 350 people at NSU on Feb. 9, as part of the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Speakers Series.

As part of its Distinguished Speakers Series, the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences welcomed psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., to NSU on Feb. 9. Loftus presented a talk titled “Memory Under the Influence,” discussing the malleability of human memory. More than 350 students, faculty, staff members, and guests attended the lecture in the Miniaci Performing Arts Center hosted by the college’s Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Loftus, who is considered an expert on human memory, has researched the topic for more than 30 years. Her work focuses on a witness’s ability, or inability, to recall vital information during a trial. She has contributed her expertise to hundreds of cases, including those of the Menendez brothers; the Oklahoma City bombing; the trial of the officers accused in the Rodney King beating; accusations of molestation at McMartin Preschool; and litigation involving Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, and the Duke University lacrosse players.

Prior to the evening’s keynote speech, Loftus met with students from the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences in a private seminar.

“Loftus’s talk and the discussion she had with our students really illustrated why we decided to invite her to speak on campus,” said W. Matthew Collins, Ph.D., assistant professor in the college, a member of the committee responsible for selecting Loftus as a speaker. “Her research on the accuracy of memory crosses all areas within our division—especially psychology, criminal justice, and legal studies. In fact, her research shows the importance of memory in all aspects of life, even when it comes to something such as proper diet.”

In anticipation of Loftus’s visit, the college’s Division of Math, Science, and Technology hosted a companion event on Feb. 8 titled “Where Is Memory in the Brain?” The event featured presentations by James Munoz, Ph.D., assistant professor in the college, as well as students Rachael Berger and Timothy Brugman.

Looking Ahead

The college’s next Distinguished Speakers Series keynote talk will take place on Thursday, Apr. 19, and will feature neuroscientist David Eagleman. The lecture is free, but tickets are required. Beginning Monday, Apr. 2, tickets will be available to Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences students, faculty, and staff members. On Monday, Apr. 9, tickets will become available to all NSU students, faculty, and staff members. Pick up tickets in the college’s Office of the Dean, located in the Mailman-Hollywood Building, second floor. Limit two (2) tickets per person. An NSU ID is required to obtain tickets.

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