Effects Of Eyewitness Misidentification

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Eyewitness Misidentification

Under state law, perjury is defined as knowingly giving a false statement before a court of law, after taking an oath. However, what happens when an eyewitness unknowingly presents false information during trial? By law, this is legal and according to the Innocence Project, 73% of overturned convictions due to DNA testing were based on false eyewitness accounts. False eyewitness accounts are caused by a variety of effects related to memory distortion/manipulation; one of the most common being the misidentification effect. Nevertheless, there are precautionary measures that can be taken in order to preserve eyewitness memory and improve eyewitness identification all together.
With attention to discussing the solutions
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For starters, misidentification is caused by a vague sense of familiarity that creates source confusion. Source confusion can be considered as misattributing where a source of memory came from. For example, let’s say a local news channel showed footage of the county fair on television and you happened to be watching the coverage. Later that month, you recall going to the fair, riding on the Ferris wheel while munching on some cotton candy. Despite your confidence of attending the event, and your vivid recollection of it, you never actually attended the fair. Instead, what you claimed had happened was really just the coverage of the fair that you previously saw on TV. In regards to real-life situations, there are hundreds of cases where misidentification has led to wrongful convictions, only to be exonerated by DNA testing several years later. In a Ted Talk lead by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, she mentions Steve Titus, one of many victims of the misidentification effect. One night, while he was driving, he was pulled over by a police…show more content…
He was presented to a witness in a lineup where no other fillers looked like the culprit. With all odds against him, the witness couldn’t help but guess which man looked like her rapist. She thought the answer to her question was in the lineup, thus chose the “closest” option. If the victim had been cautioned against guessing, informed that the offender may or may not be present in the lineup, and was presented before a lineup that contained similar fillers, Steve Titus and others, would have never been wrongfully convicted. These victims of the misidentification effect would have been declared not guilty, and would have lived their lives freely, as innocent human beings deserve to
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