Essay on False Memories in the Courtroom

Essay on False Memories in the Courtroom

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Imagine spending twenty-four years in prison for a crime you did not commit. Furthermore, imagine that conviction is based on witness testimony and no valid forensic evidence. This is the case for Texas resident Steven Phillips and countless others whose unfortunate circumstances stem from the fallacious nature of human memory. Phillips was wrongly convicted in 1982 based on a few of the many inadequacies of human memory (“Know the Cases”). Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence due to the high malleability of episodic memory.

In episodic memory, sequences and events are encoded; it is how we remember (or misremember) our lives. It is much more subject to erosion, interferenc...


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Nelson, Kally J., et al. “Change Blindness Can Cause Mistaken Eyewitness Identification.” Legal and Criminological Psychology 16.1 (2011): 62-74. Wiley Online Library. The British Psychological Society, 17 Jan. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.

Wells, Gary L., and Elizabeth A. Olson. “Eyewitness Testimony.” InnocentProject.org. 27 Aug. 2002. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.

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