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Alumna Profile: Bette L. Bottoms

Bette Bottoms '86

“The rigorous curriculum and special attention from excellent faculty completely prepared me to thrive in graduate school and become a psychology professor myself by the time I was 28.

"The opportunities to develop self-confidence and leadership skills prepared me to become a leader in my field (for example, I was President of the American Psychological Association's Division 37: Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice) and at my university.

"Today, when I talk with prospective students as Dean of the Honors College and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I emphasize the importance of the personalized attention they will receive in our Honors College by telling the students how the personalized attention I received as an undergraduate at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College is the reason I am standing before them as Dean, Vice Provost, and Professor. Want to have a successful career that you absolutely love? Start down the path today at Randolph College!”

- Bette L. Bottoms '86

Bette L. Bottoms '86

Professor of Psychology,
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Dean of the Honors College,
University of Illinois at Chicago

Ph.D. 1992 State University of New York, Buffalo, NY. Social Psychology.
M.A. 1989 University of Denver, Denver, CO. Cognitive Psychology.
B.A. 1986 Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, VA. Psychology.

Bette L. Bottoms' research on child abuse, children's eyewitness testimony, and the influence of factors such as racial and anti-gay bias on jurors' perceptions of child victims and of juvenile offenders has been funded by the National Institute on Mental Health and published numerous times in scholarly journals.

She has co-edited five books and has served on the editorial boards of Law and Human Behavior; Psychology, Public Policy, and Law; Child Maltreatment, and the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.

She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA).

Bottoms is co-editor of Children as victims, witnesses, and offenders: Psychological science and the law and Ending child abuse: New techniques for investigation prosecution and prevention.

Research Interests

Children's eyewitness testimony: the effects of situational factors (e.g., stress, pressures to conceal information, social support) on the accuracy of children's reports; abused and non-abused children's memory and suggestibility; age differences in children's memory abilities; techniques to improve children's memory.

Jurors' perceptions of children and adolescents: novices and experts' abilities to detect lies and truthfulness in child witnesses; determinants of adults' perceptions of children's accuracy; how child sexual assault case judgments are affected by (a) juror factors such as gender, empathy, and attitudes; (b) victim factors such as age, gender, race, disability status; (c) group processes and persuasion during deliberation; how jurors' perceptions of juveniles tried in adult court for alleged offenses are influenced by juvenile race, intellectual disability, attorney empathy inductions, juror stereotypes, etc.

Child abuse: the role of religious beliefs in the perpetration of child abuse and neglect, adults' memories of childhood abuse, factors influencing the disclosure and nondisclosure of child abuse and trauma, international and cross-cultural perspectives on child abuse and children and the law.