In two separate sessions at APA's 2003 Annual Convention, the association honored two psychologists for their research on memory with the Distinguished Scientific Contribution for the Applications of Psychology Award:

  • Stephen J. Ceci, PhD, the Helen L. Carr Chaired Professor of Developmental Psychology and SUNY Distinguished Professor at Cornell University. Ceci's findings that children are susceptible to suggestions after being provided with misleading post-event information have been applied in forensic settings when children are eyewitnesses. For example, his "I hardly cried when I got my shot" study, with Maggie Bruck, illustrated the positive and negative effects of repeating misinformation across a series of interviews.

The award also recognized Ceci for his work on expertise and intelligence, including a well-known study that found that expertise, not IQ, predicted how well individuals performed when predicting the outcomes of horse races.

  • Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, a distinguished psychology professor at the University of California, Irvine. Loftus was honored for nearly 30 years of research on false memories. Her controversial work--for example, that planting false memories can cause up to a quarter of participants to recall an event that never happened--has sparked debate within scientific and applied psychology. She has also examined how people communicate in emergencies, instructions to jurors, the dangers of guessing from memory and how unreliable eyewitness testimony presented in the courtroom may lead to wrongful convictions.