Elizabeth Loftus and Repressed Memories

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Elizabeth F. Loftus: The Reality of Repressed Memories Alyssa Ellis Killebrew 11/9/2010 Elizabeth Loftus Brief Biography Childhood & Personal Recollections Elizabeth (fondly known as Beth) Fishman Loftus ' parents met and married while stationed at Fort Ord, during World War II. Sidney Fishman, Elizabeth’s father, was an Army doctor and her mother, Rebecca was an army base librarian. Beth was the oldest of three children. In 1944, Elizabeth Fishman was born and then her two brothers followed. After the war, Dr. Fishman opened a general practice in Santa Monica, Calif. (Boss, 1994). Elizabeth described two personal and traumatic events during her youth that impacted her greatly, in an interview with Neimark (1996).…show more content…
Beth learned first-hand about repressed, false memory 30-years ago, when her uncle informed her that she was the first person to find her mother in the swimming pool. The memories and pictures began to drift back quickly and vividly. Yet, soon afterward, her uncle called and said that he had made a mistake and it was her aunt who had found her mother first in the pool (Hoult, 2005). Loftus has done an inordinate amount of research with over 20,000 subjects, showing that eyewitness testimonies and repressed memories are often unreliable (Niemark, 1996). Loftus has served as the expert witness/consultant in hundreds of cases, including the Abscam case, the trial of Oliver North, the Rodney King beating, the Menendez brothers trial, the Bosnian War trials in the Hague, the Oklahoma Bombing case, and litigation involving Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, and the Duke University Lacrosse players (Neimark, 1996). Loftus testifies in court for “as much as $2,500 for a 10-hour day and for as little as nothing” (Hunt, 1991, para. 27). Elizabeth’s research and the publicity surrounding these notorious court cases has triggered threatening letters and public and professional criticism. At some universities, armed guards were provided for her when she spoke on her memory research (Loftus, 2002). However, Loftus has served as the 1984 and 2004 President of the Western Psychological Association and in 1998 she became president of the Association for

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