For a pdf copy of this article,
Here is some of the
latest research on the so important subject of eyewitnesses and how they
remember---or at least how they think they do! There is also a
bibliography included so you may pinpoint your specific area of
interest. By the way, most of the journals cited are psychology or
medical journals. If you'd like help tracking any of them down,
just contact me (Vicky
Campagna, 650-368-8318 or email@example.com) and I'll be glad to help.
memories are not video cameras; we are not able to record an event in
our memory, to be retrieved later when we summon it.
more accurate to say that our memory is an imperfect mechanism that can
easily be distorted by external influences.
Remembering something is actually a 3-step process. First, we have to
store something in our memory. This is done selectively: no one is able
to remember every detail of his life. For example, can you recall what
is printed on the back of a $1 bill?
we store something in our memory, we then have to keep it there. Our
ability to do this is affected by how recent the memory is, how long we
paid attention to it while we were having the experience, and how much
new information we’ve since processed.
for faces is greatly influenced by how many times we’ve seen that face.
This explains why you may easily recognize an old school chum after 20
years, but fail to recognize your new neighbor. The school friend was
seen daily for a long period of time, whereas the new neighbor has been
seen only a few times. Brief exposure to an event or person greatly
reduces the probability of accurate recall.
the above helps to explain why eyewitness testimony is not as reliable
as it would appear to be. Simultaneous line-ups are particularly
troublesome, because witnesses are likely to make a “relative
identification”: which of the people in the line-up looks most like the
person the witness “remembers” seeing, relative to each other.
more preferable are sequential line-ups, in which the witness
looks at each person individually and asks himself “does this person
look like the one that I saw?” Sequential line-ups thereby result in
fewer misidentifications, as opposed to the simultaneous line-up
Partial Bibliography of Eye Witness
Behrman, B.W. Eyewitness identification
in actual criminal cases: an archival analysis. (Law Hum Behavior, 2001
Oct; Vol. 25 (5)
Brodsky, Stanley L.; Hooper, Nicole E.;
Tipper, Donald G.; Attorney invasion of witness space. Law & Psychology
Review, Vol 23, Spr 1999
Clark, S. E. A memory and decision
model for eyewitness identification. Applied Cognitive Psychology,
Sep2003, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p629
Cutler, B. & S. Penrod (1995)
Mistaken Identification: The Eyewitness,
Psychology and the Law. NY: Oxford University Press.
Durham, M., Dane,
Francis. Juror knowledge of eyewitness behavior: Evidence for
the necessity of expert testimony. Journal of Social Behavior &
Personality, Jun99, Vol. 14 Issue 2
Klotter, J. (1996) Criminal
Evidence. 6th edition. Cincinnati: Anderson Press.
Koehnken, G., R. Malpass, & M.
Wogalter (1996) "Forensic Applications of Line-Up Research" Pp. 205-232
in Sporer et al. Psychological Issues in Eyewitness
Lahey, B. (1998) Psychology: An
Introduction. Chapter 6: Memory, Pp. 211-241.
Liepe, M.R., Eisenstadt, D., Rauch,
S.M., Sieb, M.R. Timing of Eyewitness Expert Testimony, Jurors' Need for
Cognition, and Case Strength as Determinants of Trial Verdicts. Journal
of Applied Psychology. Vol. 89 (3) June 2004, pp. 524-541
Loftus, E. (1980) Memory: Surprising
New Insights into How We Remember and Why. MA: Addison-Wesley
Loftus, E. (1994) The Myth of
Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse. NY:
St. Martin's Press.
Loftus, E. (1996) Eyewitness
Testimony. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Malpass, R. & J. Kravitz (1987)
"Recognition for Faces of Own and Other Races"
Pp. 178-86 in Wrightsman et. al. On the Witness Stand. CA: Sage.
Malpass, R. (1996) "Enhancing
Eyewitness Testimony" Pp. 177-204 in Sporer et al.
Psychological Issues in Eyewitness Identification. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
McCloskey, M. & H. Egeth (1987)
"Eyewitness Identification: What Can a
Psychologist Tell a Jury?" Pp. 194-222 in Wrightsman et. al. On the
Stand. CA: Sage.
Putnam, W. (1987) "Hypnosis and
Distortions in Eyewitness Memory" Pp. 66-77 in Wrightsman et. al. On
the Witness Stand. CA: Sage.
Rutledge, D. (1993) Courtroom
Survival: The Officer's Guide to Better Testimony.
CA: Copperhouse Publishing.
Sigler, J.N.; Couch, J.V. Eyewitness
testimony and the jury verdict. North American Journal of Psychology,
Vol 4(1), 2002
Skolnick, Paul; Shaw, Jerry I. A
comparison of eyewitness and physical evidence on mock-juror decision
making. Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 28(5), Oct 2001
Sporer, S., R. Malpass, Guenter
Koehnken (1996) (eds.) Psychological Issues in
Eyewitness Identification. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Smith, S.M., Lindsay, R.C.L. Pryke,
Sean; Dysart, Jennifer E. POSTDICTORS OF EYEWITNESS ERRORS Can False
Identifications Be Diagnosed in the Cross-Race Situation?. Psychology,
Public Policy, and Law. Vol. 7 (1) March 2001,
Valentine, T., Pickering, A., Darling,
S. Characteristics of eyewitness identification that predict the outcome
of real lineups. Applied Cognitive Psychology, Dec 2003, Vol. 17 Issue 8
Wall, P. (1965) Eyewitness
Identification in Criminal Cases. Springfield, IL:
Charles C. Thomas Books.
Wellman, F. (1992) The Art of
Cross-Examination. NY: Barnes and Noble Books.
Wells, G., Olson, E. EYEWITNESS
TESTIMONY. By: Wells, Gary L.; Olson, Elizabeth A.. Annual Review of
Psychology, 2003, Vol. 54 Issue 1, p277,
Wells, G. (1987) "Applied Eyewitness
Testimony Research: System Variables and
Estimator Variables" Pp. 139-56 in Wrightsman et. al. On the Witness
Wise, R.A., Safer, M.A. What US judges
know and believe about eyewitness testimony. Applied Cognitive
Psychology, May2004, Vol. 18 Issue 4
Wrightsman, L., C. Willis, and S.
Kassin (1987) (eds.) On the Witness Stand:
Controversies in the Courtroom. CA: Sage Publications.