Memory is a cognitive function of the brain that is often taken for granted. Memory may have many purposes, but most importantly it is essentially a record of an entire life span. From this perspective memory is the most important aspect of consciousness. Unfortunately, through formal experimentation it has been shown that memory is fairly inaccurate, inconsistent, and often influenced by our own experiences as well as the bias of others. Memory is not only affected during an observed event, but there are instances where memory can be influenced after an event as well. There are also instances where memory can be affected retroactively due to personal experiences and biases. Incorrectly recalling the memories of one’s life is usually not detrimental, but the flawed nature of long-term and short-term memory functions becomes a serious matter in regards to criminal eyewitness testimony. In the justice system eyewitness reports are legitimate and can be crucial in the judging process. The justice system was constructed to rely on testimony that is often inaccurate and inconstant in many ways. The manner in which memories are constructed lends itself to errors. According to the constructive approach to memory, what people remember is not only based on what actually happened, but also include other factors such as previous knowledge, experiences, and expectations (Goldstein, 2011, p. 249). This is troubling due to the fact that eyewitness testimony is the foundation of most criminal trials. The case of Mark Diaz Bravo is an example of how false testimony can not only destroy an individual’s life, but how eyewitness error can lead to the wrongfully convicted being falsely imprisoned. Mr. Bravo was accused of raping a psychiatric patie... ... middle of paper ... ...d on eyewitness error. Although the amount of error in eyewitness memory is currently being debated, the fact that there is error at all should be taken more seriously by the justice system. References Goldstein, E.B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: connecting mind, research and everyday experience. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. No Author. (2004). Innocense lost – not guilty afterall. The Sanfrancisco Magazine. Retreived May 19th, 2011 from www.sanfranmag.com Hudson, J.A. (1990). “Constructive processing in childrens event memory.” Developmental Psychology, 26(2), 180-187. Doi:10.1037/00120-1622.214.171.124 Loftus, E. F., Miller, D. G., & Burns, H. J. (1978). Semantic integration of verbal information into a visual memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 4(1), 19-31. doi:10.1037/0278-73126.96.36.199
Knowledge of how long-term memory works is crucial to structuring the process of a trial, especially in terms of how soon after an incident a trial can be held or what witnesses are reliable or not. In different articles written by psychologists, legal officials, and attorneys
Elizabeth Loftus, is a psychologist, mainly concerned with how subsequent information can affect an eyewitness’s testimony. Loftus has focused on misleading information in both the difference in wording of questions and how these questions can influence eyewitness testimony. This research is important because frequently, eyewitness testimony is a crucial element in criminal proceedings. Throughout Loftus’s career she has found a witness’s memory is highly flexible and subject to being influenced. The classic study by Loftus and Palmer (1974), illustrates that eyewitness testimony can be influenced by leading questions and ultimately proved unreliable.
The justice system depends on eyewitness evidence to convict offenders. Eyewitness is a difficult task to achieve in the justice system. According to Wise, Dauphinais, & Safer (2007), in 2002 one million offenders were convicted as felons in America. Out of those one million offenders, 5000 of them were innocent in 2002 (Dauphinais, 2007). The Ohio Criminal Justice survey states that 1 out of 200 felony criminal cases is a wrongful conviction (Dauphinais et al., 2007). According to Dauphinais et al., (2007), Dripps said that eyewitness error is a huge factor in cases of wrong convictions. A study conducted in 1987 indicated that in roughly 80,000 criminal cases, eyewitness error was the only sole evidence against the defendant
Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful conviction. It played a role in 75% of convictions that have been overturned since 1989 based on DNA evidence. Thousands of studies have confirmed that eyewitness testimony is shockingly inaccurate, with a mistaken identification rate of roughly 40%. This has led several courts to lament that eyewitness testimony is “hopelessly unreliable.” The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has even concluded that “mistaken eyewitness identifications are responsible for more wrongful convictions than all other causes
In the court of law, eyewitnesses are expected to present evidence based upon information they acquired visually. However, due to memory processing, presenting this information accurately is not always possible. This paper will discuss the reliability of eyewitness testimony, its use in a relevant court case, and how the reasonable person standard relates to eyewitness testimony.
This paper will consider eye witness testimony and its place in convicting accused criminals. Psychology online (2013) defines “eye witness testimony” as a statement from a person who has witnessed a crime, and is capable of communicating what they have seen, to a court of law under oath. Eye witness testimonies are used to convict accused criminals due to the first hand nature of the eye witnesses’ observations. There are however many faults within this system of identification. Characteristics of the crime is the first issue that will be discussed in this paper, and the flaws that have been identified. The second issue to be discussed will be the stress impact and the inability to correctly identify the accused in a violent or weapon focused crime. The third issue to be discussed is inter racial identification and the problems faced when this becomes a prominent issue. The fourth issue will be time lapse, meaning, the time between the crime and the eye witness making a statement and how the memory can be misconstrued in this time frame. To follow this will be the issue of how much trust jurors-who have no legal training-put on to the eye witness testimony, which may be faltered. This paper references the works of primarily Wells and Olsen (2003) and Rodin (1987) and Schmechel et al. (2006) it will be argued that eye witness testimony is not always accurate, due to many features; inter racial identification, characteristics of the crime, response latency, and line up procedures therefore this paper will confirm that eyewitness testimonies should not be utilised in the criminal ju...
Psychological research shows, a witness's memory of details during the commission of a crime, has a high probability of containing significant errors. In response to these findings, the question is should witness testimony still be permissible in a court of law? Obviously, the answer to this question is an important one and is debatable. Consequently, what we know is many innocent people go to jail due to eyewitness misidentification. Therefore, it is imperative that all defense attorneys thoroughly evaluate the validity of eyewitness recollection events. Any defense attorney who does anything less is ignoring the findings of the psychological community and its’ study of how the brain functions. As a result, an intense analysis of an
Truth be told, eyewitnesses always play a crucial role in the judgment process. In the present justice system, the testimony from eyewitnesses could possibly be one of the most reliable evidences and influence jurors on judging corresponding perpetrator. In psychology, researchers use eyewitness memory instead of any other expressions.
However, I did not know that people’s memories could change because of how someone was interrogated. I also did not know that this was called the misinformation effect. I do know that judicial cases use eyewitness testimonies because it can be very effective if accurate. I also did know that people have been mistakenly convicted of a crime because of inaccurate or insufficient evidence, like eyewitness testimonies or fraudulent DNA
Eyewitnesses are often needed to help solve a crime and find the identity of a culprit. Eyewitness testimony is used in the legal system and refers to people recalling an event they have witnessed. However research that I will mention in this essay, has shown that we should not rely on only eyewitnesses to identify a culprit. “I saw it with my own two eyes” is a common expression used to underline that someone has witnessed something and can recall it exactly like it happened. Memories are commonly mistaken for exact scripts of previous events. What most people do not seem to realise, is that memories can be reformed. This means, that you might think you remember something accurately, but it turns out that it actually did not even happen.
Eyewitnesses of an event, whether it is traumatic or not, can create false memories and insist a specific event happened when in reality, it did not happen. Their memories are vulnerable to an assortment of errors in remembering precise details and their memories can be manipulated, causing a distorted occurrence that on no occasion happened. After reading three research papers on memory blindness with eyewitnesses, it has been proven that eyewitness accounts are not completely accurate and also shows how attributions, choice blindness, and certain circumstances play a role when they are asked to recall the event.
The malleability of memories has long been established through research conducted in a variety of context. The most well known context that individual predisposition for false memory development has been chronicled in is in the realm of eyewitness testimony. However, research into false memories has also focused on its implications in everyday life and in a variety of clinical settings as well. This background research is important beca...
Memory is the tool we use to learn and think. We all use memory in our everyday lives. Memory is the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experiences. We all reassure ourselves that our memories are accurate and precise. Many people believe that they would be able to remember anything from the event and the different features of the situation. Yet, people don’t realize the fact that the more you think about a situation the more likely the story will change. Our memories are not a camcorder or a camera. Our memory tends to be very selective and reconstructive.
The human mind is such a complex entity in which it can change one’s concept of extreme situational memories as well as even simple memories. I feel that this has a huge impact upon the judicial system and the type of testimonies that are relied upon for court trials. So many lives are impacted over the result of memory errors that there ought to be more research studies devoted specifically to this topic which deals with false eyewitness testimonies concerning memory errors, and court cases.
Loftus has focused the bulk of her career on both the psychological and legal aspects of distorted or false memories, and her work demonstrates the facility with which memories and beliefs can be molded. Her findings regarding the strength of eyewitness testimony and repressed traumatic memories have helped change the notion that such testimony is absolutely reliable (Zagorski, N., 2005).”