i Newspaper Article on False Memory February 2022

Dr Kevin Felstead, Director of Communications, BFMS, was interviewed about false memory by journalist Poppy Wood of the i Newspaper.

From inews:

Professor Elizabeth Loftus, who testified about the ‘malleability of memories’ for Harvey Weinstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, says the Duke’s team may call a false memory expert in his civil trial against Virginia Giuffre.

Prince Andrew remembers what he did on 10 March 2001. In his famous Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis three years ago, the Duke of York says he remembers taking his daughter Beatrice to a birthday party at a Pizza Express in Woking somewhere between 4pm and 5pm that day. “I remember it weirdly distinctly,” he says. “Going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do.”

What he doesn’t remember is meeting Virginia Giuffre, who has accused the Duke of sexually assaulting her that night and on two other occasions when she was 17.

In fact, Prince Andrew mentions his own memory 18 times during the 50-minute Newsnight interview, mostly to describe things he does not remember about Ms Giuffre. “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady – none whatsoever,” he says at one point.

Presented with a photo appearing to show him with his arm around Ms Giuffre, the royal insists that “we can’t be certain as to whether or not that’s my hand on her… because I have no recollection of that photograph ever being taken.”

As far as his own powers of recall are concerned, memory appears to be black and white for Prince Andrew. If you remember things, they happened. If you don’t, they didn’t.

…. To Elizabeth Loftus, a distinguished professor at the University of California, Irvine, this is a strong indication that Prince Andrew is laying the groundwork for two possible defences in the potential trial: that Ms Giuffre is a liar, or that her memories have been corrupted.

She says: “With Prince Andrew, I do have to say that if Virginia’s memories are not accurate, and do not reflect some authentic truth, then how come she’s saying it? She could be saying it because she’s just a complete liar. Or she could be saying it because she’s come to believe in what she’s saying.”