The Slatest

Christine Blasey Ford Uses Psychology to Explain Why She’s “100 Percent” Sure It Was Brett Kavanaugh Who Assaulted Her

Christine Blasey Ford during her testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Christine Blasey Ford listens while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Jim Bourg/Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had a question for Christine Blasey Ford: She had very vividly described the attack, but how sure could she have been that “it was Brett Kavanaugh that covered your mouth to prevent you from screaming. And then you escaped. How are you so sure that it was he?”

Ford, a psychology professor who described speaking to reporters because she thought they were her students, gave a precise and scientific account of how memories are formed:

The same way that I’m sure that I’m talking to you right now. Just basic memory functions and also just the level of norepinephrine and the epinephrine in the brain that as you know encodes that neurotransmitter that codes memories into the hypocampus and so the trauma-related experience is locked there, whereas other details kind of drift.

While Ford may have been generous in assuming the judiciary panel knows how this works, Feinstein followed up: “So what you are telling us, this could not be a case of mistaken identity?”

Ford responded, “Absolutely not.”

When Sen. Patrick Leahy, another Senate Democrat, asked about the “strongest memory of the incident,” Ford said that, “indelible into the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and having fun at my expense.”

Feinstein’s colleague Sen. Dick Durbin asked again, “Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you.”

Ford responded: “100 percent”