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86 MIN READ TIME

Consensus: Could Two Hundred Scientists Be Wrong?

STUART VYSE

Stuart Vyse is a psychologist and author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, which won the William James Book Award of the American Psychological Association. He is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

An illustration of the human brain showing the hippocampus (red area), one of the structures removed from Henry Molaison’s brain.
(source: Wikimedia)

In August of 2016, publication of a book about neuroscience’s most famous amnesia patient—known for decades only as H.M.—stirred up a controversy in the world of science. On August 3, the New York Times Magazine released an article adapted from Luke Dittrich’s book, Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets (Dittrich 2016a; 2016b). Two days later, on August 5, more than two hundred neuroscientists from around the world had signed a letter to the Times in support of Professor Suzanne Corkin, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who did most of the research with H.M (DiCarlo et al. 2016).

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