Elizabeth Loftus is one of the most respected, but despised psychologists in America, reports the Orange County Journal.

Loftus’ groundbreaking work established that memory is often much less precise and reliable than we would like to believe. And that it can often be shaped, influenced and manipulated relatively easily.

What seems to anger some of her critics most, is that Elizabeth Loftus has repeatedly exposed so-called “repressed” or “recovered” memories, which are frequently the product of controversial therapy techniques.

This category of memory has largely come to be known as “false memories.”

In the late 80s there was something of a “witch hunt” concerning “Satanic ritual abuse,” that was later proven to be without any meaningful objective and factual foundation.

Much of the “evidence” cited to support claims of “Satanic ritual abuse” came from “survivors” with “repressed memories” that had supposedly been “recovered” through therapy.

The media, some professionals and experts were at times largely taken in by such sensational claims.

However, Elizabeth Loftus disputed these anecdotal stories on the scientific basis that memory really doesn’t work that way. That it cannot be “repressed” and then “recovered” as many therapists insisted. This earned her the contempt of “true believers,” active opposition and ultimately personal attacks.

However, Loftus survived and won the “memory wars,” though her opponents often appear to be sore losers. And though the courts have essentially turned the tide regarding such controversial therapies, many people who were falsely accused suffered needlessly.

A recent statement by the American Psychological Association acknowledged this saying, “Psychiatry still needs to help the main victims of RMT[Recovered Memory Therapy]: those falsely accused of heinous crimes, which never happened.”


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