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Heather Kleider-Offutt

Associate Professor    

Ph.D., Arizona State University; 2001


Eyewitness memory, false memory and memory suggestibility, face recognition, heuristic recollection processes and stereotyping as it relates to memory error


My core research program focuses on questions pertinent to the psychology of law with a particular emphasis on examining heuristic processing (e.g. using stereotypes) and individual-difference factors (e.g., working memory capacity) that contribute to errors in source memory and decision-making in an applied context. Processing style and individual differences are of interest to me because of the important role they play in the criminal justice arena. Some of my recent work includes jury-decision making, police officers decision-making when they are emotionally aroused, and lineup misidentifications that relate to facial structure and ethnic stereotypes. Another related and exciting area of research for my laboratory is focused on moral decision-making and investigating the cognitive underpinnings that motivate people to intervene in life or death situations (e.g. run away trolley type problems) or to support death-penalty decisions (or not).

Another focus of my research is to understand the cognitive mechanisms that promote false memories for events. I am specifically interested in how vivid imagery facilitates false memory. I approach this question using traditionaleyewitness-type paradigms but also employ fMRI brain scans to support the behavioral findings. Through great collaborations with the Neuroscience institute at GSU my colleges and I have current papers, grants and projects underway that all intersect Cognitive psychology with Neuroscience.

An overarching goal of my research is to generate knowledge that translates to “real-word” contexts. My stellar graduate students and research assistants are an integral part of all of my projects.

Three main foci of my research program are complementary investigations of factors that promote event memory recollection error, factors that influence face recognition error and factors that promote biases in decision-making.  Examples of some study findings below:


Black male face-type examples: Atypical (left) and Stereotypical (right)
Stereotypical featured faces are more often misidentified as a criminal

kleiderimage007  expectations influence memory kleiderimage008
 Testing memory for Crime sequences




Kleider-Offutt, H.M., Knuycky, L. R., Clevinger,A.,& Capodanno, M.(2017). Wrongful convictions and stereotypical Black features:  When a face-type facilitates misidentification.  Legal and Criminological Psychology.

Kleider-Offutt, H.M., A. Bond, & S.A. Hegerty (2016). Black stereotypical features:  When a face-type can get you in trouble.  Current Directions in Psychological ScienceInvited paper.

Kleider-Offutt, H.M., Clevinger,A.,& Bond, A.(2016). Working memory and cognitive load in the legal system:  Influences on police shooting decisions, interrogation and jury decisions.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and CognitionInvited paper.

Adams, H., Kleider-Offutt, H.M., D. Bell & D. Washburn (2016). The effects of prayer on attention resource availability and attention bias. Religion, Brain & Behavior.

Kleider-Offutt, H.M., Cavrak, S.E., & Knuycky, L.R. (2015). Do police officer’s beliefs about emotional witnesses influence the questions they ask? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29, 314-319.

Kleider-Offutt, H.M., Swartout, K. & Capodanno, M. (2015). When suicide calls are a regular event: Urban Police perspectives on dealing with suicide, predictors and need for training. FBICompendium on Law Enforcement and Suicide, section 4.

Cavrak, S.E.& Kleider-Offutt, H.M.,(2015). Pictures are worth a thousand words and a moral decision or two: Religious symbols prime moral judgments.  International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 25, 173-192.

Knuycky, L.R., Kleider, H.M., & Cavrak, S.E., (2014).  Lineup Misidentifications:  When Being “Prototypically Black” is Perceived as Criminal. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28,39-46.

Kleider, H.M., Knuycky, L. R., & Cavrak, S. E.  (2012).  Deciding the fate of others:  The cognitive nderpinnings of racially biased juror-decision-making. The Journal of General Psychology.

Kleider, H.M., Cavrak, S. E., &  Knuycky, L. R. (2012). Looking like a criminal: Stereotypical Black facial features promote face categorization error.  Memory & Cognition.

Kleider, H.M., Parrott, D.J. & King, T. Z. (2010).  Shooting behavior: How working memory, arousal and affect influence police officer shoot decisions.Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Kleider, H.M. & Parrott, D. J. (2009). Aggressive shooting behavior: How working memory and threat influence shoot decisions. Journal of Research in Personality.

Flemming, T.M., Beran, M.J., Thompson, R.K., Kleider, H. M. & Washburn, D.A.(2008).  “What meaning means for same and different:  Analogical reasoning in humans, chimpanzees and Rhesus monkeys”. Journal of comparative Psychology, 2, 176-185.

Kleider, H.M., Goldinger, S.D. & Knuycky, L. (2008). “Stereotypes Influence False Memory for Imagined Events”. Memory, 16, 91-114.

Kleider, H.M., Pezdek, K., Goldinger, S. D. & Kirk, A. (2008). Schema-Driven source misattributions errors: Remembering the expected from a witnessed event.  Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 1-20.

Kleider, H.M., & Goldinger, S.D. (2006). “The Generation and Resemblance Heuristics in Face Recognition:  Cooperation and Competition”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 32, 259-276.

Kleider, H.M., & Goldinger, S.D. (2004).  Illusions of face memory:  Clarity breeds familiarity.  Journal of Memory and Language, 50, 196-211.

Goldinger, S.D., Kleider, H.M., Azuma, T., & Beike, D. (2003).  “Blaming the victim” under memory load.  Psychological Science, 14, 1, 81-85.

Goldinger, S.D., Azuma, T., Kleider, H.M., & Holmes, V. (2002).  Font-specific memory:  More than meets the eye?  In J. Bowers & C. Marsolek (Eds.), Rethinking Implicit Memory.  Oxford University Press.  pp. 157-196.

Kleider, H.M., & Goldinger, S.D. (2001).  Stereotyping ricochet:  Complex effects of racial distinctiveness on identification accuracy.  Law and Human Behavior, 25, 6, 605-627.

Goldinger, S.D., Kleider, H.M., & Shelley, E. (1999).  The marriage of perception and memory: Creating two-way illusions with words and voices.  Memory & Cognition, 27, 328-338.