UCL Events


Can false memory evidence sway a trial?

08 February 2022, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Image of scales of justice with the lady blindfolded

In this lunch hour lecture Dr Julia Shaw will give a glimpse into the ethical questions and personal hazards involved with being a false memory expert in criminal trials.

This event is free.

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About the lecture:
In the light of famous recent trials and allegations in the US and UK, the question of how - and whether - we should talk about memory research in the courtroom has become a hotly debated issue. In this lecture Dr Julia Shaw will explain the concept of false memory and how memory experts can play an important role in educating  judges and juries on the reliability of memory. She will also discuss some of the complexities of working as an expert witness, which can come with ethical questions and both personal and professional hazards. 

About the Speaker

Dr Julia Shaw

Honorary Research Associate at Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS), UCL

Dr Julia Shaw is an honorary research associate in the University College London (UCL) Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PALS). Dr Shaw has done extensive research on memory in legal contexts, and in 2016 she published her bestselling book "The Memory Illusion: Remembering, forgetting, and the science of false memory". She is also the host of the award-winning weekly BBC podcast "Bad People" co-hosted by comedian Sofie Hagen. Dr Shaw trains lawyers how to better understand the limitations of memory evidence, and she consults as an expert on legal cases - particularly cases involving historical allegations.