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Bette Bottoms

Email Address:
College: Liberal Arts and Sciences Department: Psychology
Title: Professor
Office: 1062C Behavioral Sciences Bldg. Phone: 312-413-2300
Participating in the Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes
Participating in the Summer Research Opportunities Programs for Undergraduates: Yes

Research Interest:
Social psychology; Psychology and law (children's eyewitness testimony, jury decision-making)

The issues I study lie at the interface of psychology and law. Much of the motivation for my research stems from my concern for justice and the welfare of adults and children, yet my research is driven by a desire to test basic psychological theories.

I conduct laboratory experiments as well as survey studies in three related areas: (1) How children's memory and suggestibility are affected by social and emotional factors (e.g., stress, motivation to conceal information, prior victimization). (2) Case, victim, defendant, and juror characteristics that influence jurors' decisions in cases in which children are victims or juvenile offenders (e.g., race, stereotypes, gender, empathy for and attitudes toward child victims). (3) Disclosure of child abuse. Are adults' memories of childhood abuse subject to repression or distortion through suggestion?

Before applying, please read all the information here carefully and visit all the links about the laboratory accessible from

Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 3 credit hours (8-9 work hours)

Qualifications of a Student:
My graduate students and I love working with undergraduates who are curious, flexible, committed, serious, hard-working, and who want to learn about research in the field of psychology, law, and/or criminal justice. You'll need to have a GPA of at least 3.0 in your last year or so, and it is helpful if you have basic training in research (such as a course like PSCH 242 or work in another lab).

Past undergraduate research assistants have gone on to great graduate schools and careers.

Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
You'll join an active laboratory with other undergraduate and graduate research assistants under my supervision. You would assist with research that is related to psychology, law, criminal justice, and children. You'll be expected to participate in various aspects of the work and to attend bi-weekly lab meetings. You might help to conduct experimental sessions, prepare materials for sessions, enter data using SPSS, check data that has been entered, search and summarize literature, file materials, transcribe and code transcripts from jury deliberations, etc. These are skills any researcher in the field of Psychology and Law (and other fields) needs to have. We train you for all tasks -- don't worry about learning how to do these things.

This experience will allow you to understand what research in psychology is all about, and help you decide whether you might like to pursue it later in your career. If research is for you, then this experience will help prepare you for graduate school in any discipline involving research (especially psychology, law, and criminal justice), but even if you aren't interested in graduate school, you will learn many generalizable skills and meet other researchers who can give you valuable advice.

If we don't need someone now, we will save your application for next semester.

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