‘We can’t let the bullies win’: Elizabeth Loftus awarded 2016 John Maddox Prize

Nov 19, 2016

By Ian Sample

A leading psychologist whose research on human memory exposed her to death threats, lawsuits, personal abuse and a campaign to have her sacked has won a prestigious prize for her courage in standing up for science.

Professor Elizabeth Loftus endured a torrent of abuse from critics who objected to her work on the unreliable nature of eyewitness testimonies, and her defining research on how people can develop rich memories for events that never happened.

The work propelled Loftus into the heart of the 1990 “memory wars”, when scores of people who had gone into therapy with depression, eating disorders and other common psychological problems, came out believing they had recovered repressed memories for traumatic events, often involving childhood abuse.


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3 comments on “‘We can’t let the bullies win’: Elizabeth Loftus awarded 2016 John Maddox Prize

  • Beth Loftus is a true hero: valiant fighter for civil justice and scientific truth in the face of violent threats; clear-headed, honest thinker in the face of pseudoscientific charlatans and mercenary lawyers. Congratulations to her on winning the John Maddox Prize.

    Richard



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    Robert Firth says:

    As one who followed the “recovered memory” controversy, and was frequetly appalled at juries who believed stories that were physically impossible, please let me also congratulate Elizabeth Loftus on her well-deserved prize. Her Fakse Memory Syndrome Foundation rescued many people from the pain of false accusations.



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  • Richard Dawkins #1: Beth Loftus is a true hero: valiant fighter for civil justice and scientific truth in the face of violent threats; clear-headed, honest thinker in the face of pseudoscientific charlatans and mercenary lawyers. Congratulations to her on winning the John Maddox Prize.

    I concur. The process of recovered/false memory has recently fueled the insidious Believe The Victim movement spearheaded by third wave feminists besotted with the delusion of pervasive rape culture and a conviction that men are expendable miscreants in any case. The politically correct ethic demands that women who accuse men of rape, sexual assault, or any conduct that falls under the umbrella of “inappropriate behavior” be believed or at least be given the preponderant benefit of the doubt. Imposition of “progressive” bias favoring the accuser is said to compensate for past injustices where a female accuser was treated with hyper skepticism; sometimes deplorably blamed for enticing her attacker and therefore held materially responsible for her own rape. In our Brave New World, the possibility of convicting an “innocent” man who denies the charge in dubious cases is fashionably dismissed with statistics that “prove” that women seldom lie about sexual assault. “Trials” are not limited to the courtroom. They are also held in mainstream media, social media and the blogosphere.



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