Professor Heather D. Flowe PhD

Professor Heather D. Flowe

Professor of Forensic Psychology

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Heather’s research is centered on understanding episodic memory, particularly memory for criminal events, using both experimental and applied approaches. This includes interdisciplinary investigations of memory retrieval in police interviews and lineup parades. She develops memory enhancing, broad reach, low-cost procedures that are being integrated into legal systems around the world.

Heather is the Co-Director of the Centre for Crime Justice and Policing (Victims and Trauma), the Lead for Violence Prevention and Humanitarian Protection for the Institute for Global Innovation 21st Century Crime theme, a Fellow of the IGI, a member of the ESRC IAA Management Panel, and an Impact mentor for the ESRC IAA. Heather is a chartered psychologist.


PhD in Experimental Psychology, University of California, San Diego


Heather’s PhD in Experimental Psychology was awarded by the University of California, San Diego. After a University of California Faculty Fellowship, she joined the University of Leicester as a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology. She served as the Chair of the University Ethics Committee, her work was featured in a REF 2014 Impact Case Study, and she served as Impact Case Study Coordinator for Psychology. She then joined Loughborough University as a Senior Lecturer, and as Deputy Associate Dean (Enterprise) in the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, where she was primarily responsible for Impact Case Study development for more than 200 academic staff, and the undergraduate placement programme.

Heather has been awarded research grants worth over £3.4 million. Her research is presently sponsored by the Global Challenges Research Fund (ESRC, and the AHRC). Past research sponsors have included the British Academy, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Health Foundation, the Nuffield Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and Alcohol Research, UK.  Her work has been covered in the media, including the Guardian, Science Daily, the BBC, Criminal Justice and Law Weekly, and other international outlets, and she has had an impact on policy in the US and the UK.

She is presently on a British Academy Midcareer Fellowship for the academic year 2019-2020 to study victim memory retrieval processes during police interviews.

Heather is Associate Editor for Applied Cognitive Psychology, a member of the Editorial Board for Psychology Public Policy and Law, and Consulting Editor for Cognitive Research in the Public Interest.

Heather is also a member of the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund Peer Review College, and also reviews proposals from the British Academy, the ESRC, the Canadian

Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the Irish Research Council, among others.


Heather’s courses are consistently rated highly by students, and by peer evaluation. She was awarded a Distinguished Teaching award from the University of California San Diego Academic Senate. More than 55 of her MSc in Forensic and Legal Psychology students and 13 of her MSc Psychology Research Methods students have successfully completed.

Heather currently teaches modules and supervise students on the Forensic Psychology Practice Doctorate course, and supervises students on the MSc Psychology course.

Heather has also served as sole convenor and assessor for 11 different undergraduate modules, including: Legal Psychology, Criminal Psychology, Criminology, Social Psychology, Introduction to Social Psychology, Introduction to Statistics, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Statistics/SPSS Research Methods Lab; Advanced Data Analysis; Tests and Measurement; Clinical Psychology

Heather was the Course Director for the MSc Assessment and Treatment of Sex Offenders from 2008-2012.

Heather is the external examiner for the MSc in Forensic Psychology at the University of Gloucester since 2017.

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Heather Flowe supervises projects on applied cognition. Past and present projects include:

  • eyewitness identification
  • forensic face matching
  • face recognition
  • remembering rape and other traumatic events
  • investigative interviewing
  • alcohol and other drugs on memory
  • rape case adjudication
  • prosecutorial decision making
  • risk taking in women
  • hormones and behavior
  • trauma interventions
  • metacognition

Heather would be pleased to hear from prospective PhD students. She also enjoys working with undergraduate and MSc students. Nearly all of her publications have included student authors.

Heather is also pleased to host postdoctoral students, faculty, and other visitors. Recent lab visitors have been from Italy, Pakistan, Australia, Kenya, and the United States.


Heather currently has two main lines of research:

Sexual Violence

Heather is investigating the effects of alcohol on memory reporting, testing methods of preserving and protecting the memory evidence of rape complainants. She also evaluates the role of victim and eyewitness testimony in case investigations and prosecutions. In addition to projects in the UK and the US, Heather also has projects in the global south, innovating solutions to gathering survivor testimony in documenting and investigating sexual violence cases in low resource environments, primarily with the Wangu Kanja Foundation. Heather is the PI for the UKRI GCRF Rights for Time Network+.

ID Parades

Heather and her colleagues are innovating new criminal identification procedures, such as 3D interactive lineups to improve the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness identification. This work seeks to address fundamental questions such as how faces are represented in long-term memory and effective cues for enhancing memory retrieval. This line of research also considers the effects of own race bias, alcohol intoxication, and development on identifications.

Research Funding

Heather has attracted over £3.4 million for her research. Current research projects are supported by the ESRC and the AHRC.


Visit to download papers.

Journal articles since 2016:

Seale-Carlisle, T. M., Colloff, M., Flowe, H., Wells, W., Wixted, J., & Mickes, L. (In press). Confidence and response time as indicators of eyewitness identification accuracy in the lab and in the real world. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

Smith, L.L., Flowe, H., & Kanja, W.  (2019). Achieving more with less: A critical review of protocols for forensic investigation of sexual violence in low-resource environments. Forensic Science International: Synergy, 1, 108-113.

Koscielska, R. W.., Flowe, H. D. 2 ., & Egan, V.  (2019). The dark triad and mating effort's influence on sexual coaxing and coercion across relationship types. Journal of Sexual Aggression, In press.

Gasper, H., Roy, M., & Flowe, H. D. (2019). Improving time estimation in witness memory. Frontiers in Psychology. In press.

Seale-Carlisle, T. M., Wetmore, S. A., Flowe, H. D., & Mickes, L. (2019). Designing police lineups to maximize memory performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. In press.

Flowe, H. D., Humphries, J., Takarangi, M. K. T.,  Zelek, K., Karoğlu, N., Gabbert, F., & Hope, L. (2019). An experimental examination of the effects of alcohol consumption and exposure to misleading postevent information on remembering a hypothetical rape scenario. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33, 393-413, doi: 10.1002/acp.3531.

Jores, T., Colloff, M., Kloft, L., Smailes, H., & Flowe, H. (2019). A meta-analysis of the effects of acute alcohol intoxication on witness recall. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33, 324-343, doi: 10.1002/acp.3533.

Maltby, J., Day, L., Flowe, H. D., Vostanis, P., & Chivers, S. (2019). Psychological trait resilience within ecological systems theory: The Resilient Systems Scales. Journal of Personality Assessment, 10, 44-53. doi:10.1080/00223891.2017.1344985

Benedict, J., et al. (2018). Social perception of faces around the world: How well does the valence-dominance model generalize across world regions? (Registered Report Stage 1). Nature Human Behavior.

Flowe, H. D., Carline, A., & Karoğlu, N. (2018). Testing the Reflection Assumption: A Comparison of Eyewitness Ecology in the Laboratory and Criminal Cases. International Journal of Evidence and Proof.

Smailes, H., Humphries, J., Ryder, H., Klatt, T., Maltby, J., Pearmain, A. M., & Flowe, H. D. (2018). Age-related differences in spontaneous trait judgments from facial appearance. Psychology, Psychiatry, and Law.

Flowe, H. D. (2018). Informants under the influence: Can intoxicated informants provide accurate information? CREST Security Review.

Monds, L., van Golde, C., Takarangi, M., Paterson, H., Flowe, H. (2017). Assessing the reliability of intoxicated witnesses. Australian Police Journal, 121-128.

Flowe, H. D., & Maltby (2017). An experimental examination of alcohol consumption, alcohol expectancy, and self-blame on willingness to report a hypothetical rape. Aggressive Behavior. doi: 10.1002/ab.21745

Flowe, H. D., Colloff, M. F., Zelek, K., Humphries, J. E., & Takarangi, M. K. T. (2017). The effects of alcohol intoxication on accuracy and the confidence-accuracy relationship in photographic simultaneous lineups. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 31, 379-391. doi: 10.1002/acp.3332

​Hett, D., Flowe, H., & Takarangi, M. K. T. (2017). Metacognitive beliefs in posttraumatic stress disorder. The Psychoneurotherapist.

Smith, L., Wetton, J. H., Lall, G. K. M., Flowe, H.D, & Jobling, M. (2017). Forensic science and the right to access to justice: Testing the efficacy of self-examination intimate DNA swabs to enhance victim-centered responses to sexual violence in low-resource environments.331-335. Science and Justice, 57, doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2017.07.004

Colloff, M. F., & Flowe, H. D. (2016). The effects of acute alcohol intoxication on the cognitive mechanisms underlying false facial recognition.2139-2149.  Psychopharmacology, 233, doi: 10.1007/s00213-016-4263-4.

Takarangi, M. K. T., Smith, R. A., Strange, D. & Flowe, H. D. (2016). Metacognitive and Meta-Memory Beliefs in the Development and Maintenance of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Clinical Psychological Science, 5, 131-140. doi: 10.1177/2167702616649348

Maltby, J., Day, L., Żemojtel-Piotrowska, M., Piotrowski, J., Hitokoto, H., Baran, T., Jones, C., Chakravarty-Agbo, A. & Flowe, H. D. (2016). An Ecological Systems Model of Resilience: Cross-cultural and clinical relevance. Personality and Individual Differences, 98, 96-101. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.03.100

Klatt, T., Maltby, J., Humphries, J.E., Smailes, H.L., Ryder, H., Phelps, M., & Flowe, H. D. (2016). Looking bad: Inferring criminality after 100 milliseconds. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 12, 114-125.

Ryder, H., Maltby, J., Rai, L., Jones, P., & Flowe, H. D.  (2016). Women's fear of crime and preference for formidable mates: How specific are the underlying psychological mechanisms? Evolution and Human Behavior, 37, 293–302. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.01.005

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