Alyssa Ellis Killebrew
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). She reported that when she was 6, a baby-sitter molested her, and then when she was 14 years old her uncle found her mother dead in a swimming pool, (Neimark, 1996). Because “her mother had earlier been sent away for treatment for depression”, Neimark (1996) wrote, “There is still family speculation about whether her mother’s death was a suicide, and family questions about how her father’s emotional coldness could have contributed to it”. In the interview by Neimark (1996), Elizabeth indicated that her father believed it was suicide even though her mother’s death was listed as accidental (Neimark, 1996). According to Boss (1994), Elizabeth said, “I do remember, when my mother died, deciding there was no God” (Boss, 1994). The tragic death of her mother and molestation as a child may have helped to shape her career as a psychologist.
Her father remarried two years after her mother’s death, to a woman who also had three children (Boss, 1994). In her interview, Neimark (1996) reported that Elizabeth described her stepmother as being “nicer to her own kids (Neimark, 1996)”. Beth also said that she “really had to fight and claw to get attention of any sort (Neimark, 1996)”. Before college, she had plans to be a... [continues]
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