Memory expert weighs in on Ford allegation against Kavanaugh

From Scott Morefield at Townhall,

Elizabeth F. Loftus is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, a cognitive psychologist, and a preeminent expert on human memory whose work on the subject in criminal cases has been a crucial key to establishing a stricter standard for “recovered memories” and a greater requirement for corroborating evidence in criminal trials. She is also a self-described “pro-choice Democrat” who is “scared” at the prospect of a Supreme Court with Kavanaugh on it, yet honest and fair-minded enough to want the process to be “fair” to all involved.

Which includes Kavanaugh himself, who of late has been accused – by a woman who was 15-years-old at the time and who reportedly never mentioned the attack until a 2012 marital counseling session – of an act of sexual assault allegedly committed when he was a 17-year-old high school student.

Because of my own skepticism on the subject, I inevitably wanted to ask whether Dr. Loftus drew any red flags at encountering the word “psychotherapy” when reading the original Washington Post report.

“Yeah,” she responded, laughing. “Because I still feel that there’s a chance that continued psychotherapy beyond the initial disclosure session could have resulted in what it sometimes does – developing the story, making it more coherent, adding details. But did those details get developed in psychotherapy? And again, we don’t know, and I know she’s a psychology professor and seems to have done a lot of good work in statistics and biostatistics. You can have intelligent, educated people who develop distorted memories. It could happen to any of us.”More.

Reality check: Indeed. Loftus was instrumental in stopping the horrifying “recovered memory” moral panic back when therapists stalked the land, making bizarre claims that bear no relationship to how actual human memory works.

See also: Unraveling recovered memories

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