Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of psychology & social behavior and criminology, law & society at the University of California, Irvine, was awarded the international John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science today in London. Best known for her groundbreaking work on the “misinformation effect” – in which the memories of eyewitnesses are altered by exposure to incorrect information about events – she was also honored for her pioneering research on the creation and nature of false memories.
“I could hardly contain my excitement when I first learned that I would receive the prize, especially since it recognizes the work of people who promote sound, credible science that bears on a matter of public interest and who have faced tough challenges in the process,” Loftus said.
Now in its fifth year, the John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science is a joint initiative of the international scientific journal Nature, of which Maddox was editor for 22 years; the Kohn Foundation, whose founder, Sir Ralph Kohn, was a personal friend of Maddox’s; and the charity Sense about Science, where Maddox served as a trustee until his death in 2009.
“Standing up for psychological science in general and research on memory in particular has brought a good deal of antagonism my way,” Loftus said. “Receiving this award helps to erase the pain of insults, death threats and lawsuits. And I love the idea that my CV will forever contain the name of the late Sir John Maddox, respected by all for his tireless defense of science.”