Eyewitness testimony and memory distortion

Abstract Memory is prone to distortions that can have serious consequences in everyday life. Here we integrate emerging evidence that several types of memory distortions — imagination inflation, gist-based and associative memory errors, and post-event misinformation — reflect adaptive cognitive processes that contribute to the efficient functioning of memory, but produce distortions as a consequence of doing so.

Eyewitness testimony and memory distortion

Reconstructive Memory

Deffenbacher reviewed 21 studies and found that the stress-performance relationship followed an inverted-U function proposed by the Yerkes Dodson Curve This means that for tasks of moderate complexity such as EWTperformances increases with stress up to an optimal point where it starts to decline.

Clifford and Scott found that people who saw a film of a violent attack remembered fewer of the 40 items of information about the event than a control group who saw a less stressful version. As witnessing a real crime is probably more stressful than taking part in an experiment, memory accuracy may well be even more affected in real life.

However, a study by Yuille and Cutshall contradicts the importance of stress in influencing eyewitness memory. They showed that witnesses of a real life incident a gun shooting outside a gun shop in Canada had remarkable accurate memories of a stressful event involving weapons. A thief stole guns and money, but was shot six times and died.

The police interviewed witnesses, and thirteen of them were re-interviewed five months later. Recall was found to be accurate, even after a long time, and two misleading questions inserted by the research team had no effect on recall accuracy.

One weakness of this study was that the witnesses who experienced the highest levels of stress where actually closer to the event, and this may have helped with the accuracy of their memory recall. The Yuille and Cutshall study illustrates two important points: Misleading questions need not have the same effect as has been found in laboratory studies e.

Many people believe that memory works something like a videotape. Storing information is like recording and remembering is like playing back what was recorded. With information being retrieved in much the same form as it was encoded. However, memory does not work in this way.

It is a feature of human memory that we do not store information exactly as it is presented to us. Rather, people extract from information the gist, or underlying meaning.

In other words, people store information in the way that makes the most sense to them. We make sense of information by trying to fit it into schemas, which are a way of organizing information.

They allow us to make sense of what we encounter in order that we can predict what is going to happen and what we should do in any given situation. These schemas may, in part, be determined by social values and therefore prejudice.Eyewitness testimony and memory distortion Recent research on memory distortion using implicit tests along with research using confidence is reviewed and new studies are presented.

Two new studies asked misinformed subjects to provide reasons for their answers. Eyewitness testimony is a specialized focus within cognitive psychology Reliability.

Eyewitness testimony and memory distortion

Psychologists have probed the reliability of eyewitness tend to be more susceptible to memory distortion brought about by misleading post-event information, compared to young adults. Reconstructive memory. Many of the early studies of memory demonstrated. Eyewitness testimony can make a deep impression on a jury, which is often exclusively assigned the role of sorting out credibility issues and making judgments about the truth of witness statements.

1 Perjury is a crime, because lying under oath can subvert the integrity . from “refreshing” witness A’s memory by showing her witness B’s testimony, the mere act of telling prosecutors what happened may bias and distort the witness’ memory.

Eyewitness testimony, then, . Eyewitness testimony has been considered a credible source in the past, but its reliability has recently come into question. Research and evidence have shown that memories and individual perceptions are unreliable, often biased, and can be manipulated. The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom.

even though these findings have implications not only for eyewitness testimony, but also for how jurors remember and weigh evidence. as judges and jurors often use these factors as indications of the accuracy and reliability of a witness's testimony.

Memory distortions can even.

Eyewitness testimony - Wikipedia