2012 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award
Gail S. Goodman
University of California, Davis
Gail S. Goodman is one of the leading figures in research on children’s memories of experienced events, including incidents of sexual abuse. She pioneered the study of children’s episodic memory in analogue situations, and her work is distinguished by close attention to “real world” forensic issues and by her focus on resistance to suggestion and contamination rather than on suggestibility. She has also conducted the only systematic and careful analysis of the effect of testifying and involvement in the legal system on children’s immediate and future psychosocial adjustment.
In both research programs, Goodman has shown her willingness to recognize and tackle the messy complexity of the field of children’s memories and her unwillingness to oversimplify as a means of making the findings more palatable and easier to explain. This continuing drive to reflect and study the “real world” continues to define her contribution to psychological research. In all respects, she is a careful and methodologically innovative researcher who has conducted a succession of difficult but theoretically and practically important studies.
To put it simply, one could not write even a superficial review of research on children’s memories without citing Goodman’s many seminal contributions. She is an internationally recognized researcher and scholar who has contributed significantly to our understanding of child development while at the same time keeping focus on questions that significantly allow us to improve the lives of many less fortunate children.