South Pasadenan Mitchell Eisen Honored with Cal State LA’s Outstanding Professor Award

South Pasadena resident honored with Cal State LA's Outstanding Professor Award

PHOTO: J. Emilio Flores | The South Pasadenan | Mitchell Eisen, professor of psychology in the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Cal State LA.

Mitchell Eisen, a professor of psychology in the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Cal State LA, was recognized for excellence in teaching and outstanding achievements during University Convocation 2023.

Eisen, who is also director of the university’s graduate program in forensic psychology, was presented an Outstanding Professor Award on Aug. 17 for his significant achievements in scholarly inquiry or creativity, as well as professional activities and community service.

Eisen’s research has contributed to advances in law enforcement policy and procedures used to collect eyewitness evidence. His research has also led directly to legislation in California and other states designed to reduce the chances of wrongful convictions of innocent individuals who were mistakenly identified by eyewitnesses.

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Most recently, Eisen testified in front of the Colorado State Senate to support a bill proposing a law to limit the use of a highly suggestive identification procedure called a “showup,” commonly used by law enforcement. A showup is when an eyewitness is presented with a single subject in person for the purpose of determining whether the eyewitness identifies the individual as the suspect. That bill (now law) was based on his research and the work of others showing the dangers of showups leading to false identifications. He is currently initiating efforts to promote a similar bill in California.

Eisen’s research on the biasing nature of evidence describing a defendant’s gang affiliation also led to the creation and passage of California State Law AB 333. The law blocks the introduction of harmful character evidence of previous associations with gangs at trials if the crime is not directly related to gang activity.

His work in the 1990s examining memory and suggestibility in maltreated children has also led to advancements in policy and practice related to interviewing children in cases that involve allegations of sexual and physical abuse. He regularly consults with attorneys around the country, is on the editorial boards of various scientific journals, and has authored dozens of articles with Cal State LA students working under his supervision. Eisen describes the applied elements of his work in his podcast entitled True Crime False Memory.

A Cal State LA faculty member since 1997, Eisen received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Miami. He resides in South Pasadena.