‘Eyewitness Testimony’

Eyewitness Testimony and Memory Biases

Eyewitness Testimony – What Is It? If two individuals stand as witnesses of the same event, will their testimonies be the same? Will they tell and describe the event that transpired without any contradictions? When a person witnessed a crime, untoward incident, or other events that need legal support, a testimony from the eyewitness is necessary. The eyewitness will later appear before the court and tell the details of what he/she witnessed on that fateful day. The entire process may be more complicated than initially presumed. It involves describing the things that happened while the crime was in progress. It also includes everything that happened between the time the event or crime concluded and the time that the witness made an appearance in the courtroom. The policemen and lawyers may interview the eyewitness, who should describe the perpetrator to several people. The eyewitness is expected to identify the perpetrator and other things that the policemen and lawyers may require from him.  The Testimony of an Eyewitness Is Vital in Psychological Research – Why? The eyewitness must stand before the court and narrate what transpired on the day… Read More

Eyewitness Memory and Misidentification at Trial

When forensic psychology was being established in the late 1870s, among the top topics that got scrutinized was the examination of eyewitness memory. According to the website of History of Forensic Psychology, Albert Von Schrenk-Notzing was the first psychologist to play the role of expert witness during a court hearing in 1896. The case being tried was about a man who allegedly murdered three women. Based on his research on memory and the human mind’s inclination to suggestions of others, Von Schrenk-Notzing claimed that publicity before the trial had a significant effect on witness memory which made it difficult to differentiate what the press reported and what was actually witnessed. Cognitive Processes Documented research on eyewitness memory often falls within the more comprehensive cognitive processes category. The cognitive process pertains to the various means the human mind interprets the world surrounding it. This is done by perusing different mental skills such as perception, thinking, awareness, memory, judgment, and reasoning. Although we can only infer cognitive processes and we can’t see them directly, they can have practical associations from a legal perspective. If we admit that the process… Read More

Eyewitness Testimony | Is Identification Reliable?

Eyewitness Testimony : Identification One of the main goals for law enforcement is to solve crimes; police strive to “clear” these crimes. They have a much higher chances of clearing the crime if the offender is caught within a few minutes, or an eyewitness provides specific information that is considered relevant to the case. Researchers have shown that if neither of these are available to police, there is less than a 10% chance that the crime will be solved, or “cleared”. This is the first of many future posts which will be exploring the problems with allowing eyewitness identification testimony into evidence during a criminal trial. Eyewitness testimony that incriminates the defendant is arguably one of the most valuable and influential pieces of evidence that the prosecution can attain, aside from a confession. Even when there is a seemingly large amount of evidence favoring the defendant’s claim of innocence, there have been cases where the individual is convicted solely based on the testimony. In the field of psychology, it has been concluded that errors in eyewitness testimony are the leading cause of wrongful convictions. In 2000, it was estimated that… Read More