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Elizabeth Cauffman

Professor of Psychological Science, Education and Law

Elizabeth Cauffman’s research addresses the intersect between adolescent development and juvenile justice.

Areas of Expertise

  • Social Ecology
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Adolescent Development
  • Mental Health
  • Legal and Social Policy


Elizabeth Cauffman is a Professor in the Department of Psychological Science in the School of Social Ecology and holds courtesy appointments in the School of Education and the School of Law. Dr. Cauffman received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Temple University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center on Adolescence at Stanford University. At the broadest level, Dr. Cauffman’s research addresses the intersect between adolescent development and juvenile justice. She has published over 100 articles, chapters, and books on a range of topics in the study of contemporary adolescence, including adolescent brain development, risk-taking and decision-making, parent-adolescent relationships, and juvenile justice. Findings from Dr. Cauffman’s research were incorporated into the American Psychological Association’s amicus briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons, which abolished the juvenile death penalty, and in both Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama, which placed limits on the use of life without parole as a sentence for juveniles. As part of her larger efforts to help research inform practice and policy, she served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice as well as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on the Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Science of Adolescent Development and Its Applications. Dr. Cauffman currently directs the Center for Psychology & Law ( as well as the Masters in Legal & Forensic Psychology program ( at UCI. To learn more about her research, please visit her Development, Disorder, and Delinquency lab website.


Watch on YouTube: Beyond CSI: Elizabeth Cauffman, Ph.DWatch on YouTube: Elizabeth Cauffman on Juvenile Justice - UC IrvineWatch on YouTube: Arrested Development: Adolescent Development & Juvenile Justice | Elizabeth Cauffman | TEDxUCIrvine


Temple University

PhD, Developmental Psychology, 1996

University of California, Davis

BA, Psychology, 1992


  • Social Ecology Professor of the Year
  • Chancellor’s Fellow
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • Associated Graduate Students Mentoring Award


  • President-Elect of the Society for Research on Adolescence
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine : Member
  • Society for Research on Adolescence : Executive Council

Research Grants

Young Adult Court: A New Approach to Justice

National Institute of Justice, 1/1/2019 – 12/31/21

Crossroads: Formal vs. Informal Processing in the Juvenile Justice System

William T. Grant Foundation, 7/1/2018 – 6/30/2020

Building a Young Adult Court in Orange County

UC Consortium on Adolescent Development, 1/1/2018 – 6/30/2018