Gail S. Goodman

Gail S. Goodman Portrait

Position Title
Distinguished Professor

152 Young Hall


  • Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • M.A., Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • B.A., Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles


Professor Gail S. Goodman is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Public Policy Research at the University of California, Davis. She is widely credited with starting the modern scientific study of children's eyewitness memory and child victims as witnesses in legal contexts. Professor Goodman publishes widely, has received numerous grants, and has been honored with many national and international awards. She has consulted with numerous governments and agencies throughout the world on policies and research concerning child victims in the legal system. She serves as a consultant for the Special Assault Forensic Evaluation Center (formerly Multidisciplinary Interview Center) of the Sacramento County Child Protective Services. She is a fellow of many professional organizations, including the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association (Divisions: Experimental Psychology, 3; Developmental Psychology, 7; Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, 9; Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice, 37; American Psychology-Law Society, 41; Psychology of Women, 35; and Traumatic Stress, 56). Professor Goodman is also a member of the Psychonomics Society, Society for Research in Child Development, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (Founding Member), International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She has served as president of three divisions (Division 37, Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice; Division 41, American Psychology-Law Society; and Division 7, Developmental Psychology) and one Section (Child Maltreatment) of the American Psychological Association.

Research Focus

Professor Goodman's research falls into two major areas: memory development and children's abilities and experiences as victims/witnesses. In the memory development area, her work explores theoretical issues concerning the relation between trauma and memory, attachment and memory, and semantic and epidosic memory, as well as the relation between emotion and memory. In the victim/witness area, her research focuses on children's ability to provide testimony about events they have experienced or witnessed, especially events related to child abuse, and on the psychological effects on children and adults of legal and social service involvement. She is also currently studying emotional adjustment/psychopathology (e.g., PTSD) after traumatic events, children’s and adults’ disclosures of child maltreatment, adults’ judgments of the accuracy of eyewitness memory, juror decision making, forensic interview techniques, and procedural justice. Her studies have been cited in U.S. Supreme Court decisions.



  • Hobbs, S. D., & Goodman, G. S. (in press). Self-representation: Pro se cross-examination and revisiting trauma upon child witnesses. International Journal on Child Maltreatment.
  • Goodman, G. S., Gonzalves, L., & Wolpe, S. (2019). False memory and true memory of childhood trauma: Balancing the risks. Clinical Psychological Science, 7, 29-31.
  • Goodman, G. S., Quas, J. A., Goldfarb, D., Gonzalves, L., & Gonzalez, A. (2018). Can trauma help long-term memory for childhood events? Impact matters! Child Development Perspectives, 13, 3-9.
  • Goldfarb, D., Goodman, G. S., Larson, R. P., Eisen, M. L., & Qin, J. (2018). Long-term memory in adults exposed to childhood violence: Remembering genital contact nearly 20 years later. Clinical Psychological Science. 1-16.
  • Chae, Y., Goodman, M., Goodman, G. S., Troxel, N., McWilliams, K., Thompson, R. A., Shaver, P. R., & Widaman, K. F. (2018). How children remember the Strange Situation Procedure. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 166, 360-379.
  • Saywitz, K. J., Lyon, T., & Goodman, G. S. (2017). When interviewing children: A review and update. In J. Conte & B. Klika (Eds.), APSAC handbook on child maltreatment (pp. 310-329). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Goodman, G. S., Goldfarb, D., Quas, J. A., & Lyon, A. (2017). Psychological counseling and memory for child sexual abuse. American Psychologist, 72, 920-931.
  • Goldfarb, D., Goodman, G. S., Larson, R. P., Gonzalez, A., & Eisen, M. L. (2017). Putting children‚Äôs memory and suggestibility in their place: An analysis considering person, topic, and context. In. H. Otgaar & M. L. Howe (Eds.), Can we know what‚Äôs the truth in the courtroom? Problems with deception, lies, and false memories (pp. 137-162). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • Goodman, G. S., Goldfarb, D. A., Quas, J. A., Narr, R. K., Milojevich, H., & Cordon, I. M.. (2016). Memory development, emotion regulation, and trauma-related psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology (pp. 555- 590). New York, NY: Wiley.

  • Larson, R. P., Cartwright, A., & Goodman, G. S. (Eds). (2016). Child victims and witnesses. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 34.

  • Cordon, I. M., Silberkleit, G., & Goodman, G. S. (2016). Getting to know you: Familiarity, stereotypes, and children‚Äôs eyewitness memory. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 34, 74-94.

  • Tashjian, S. M., Goldfarb, D., Goodman, G. S., Quas, J. A., & Edelstein, R. S. (2016). Delay in disclosure of nonparental child sexual abuse in the context of emotional and physical maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 58, 149-159.


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Professor Goodman currently teaches courses in Current Research in Psychology, Psychology and Law, and Development of Memory.


Professor Goodman has received many awards for her research as well as two teaching and mentoring awards for graduate and undergraduate instruction. Of note, she received the 2017 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Interest (Senior) from the American Psychological Association; two Distinguished Contributions awards in 2005 from the American Psychological Association (the Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy Award, as well as the Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research Award); the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society in 2008 from Division 7 (Developmental Psychology) of the American Psychological Association; the James McKeen Cattell Award for Lifetime Contributions to Applied Psychological Research in 2012 from the Association for Psychological Science; and the Distinguished Contributions to Psychology and Law Award from Division 41 (the American Psychology-Law Society) of the American Psychological Association. In addition, Professor Goodman's accomplishments were recognized with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Oslo, Norway, in 2017.