A False Memories Of Criminal Action Essay

926 Words Oct 20th, 2016 4 Pages
Confessions are one of the most damning types of evidence in criminal trials. While convictions cannot be based on confessions alone, they are still relied on in litigation (Schwartzbach, 2016). Not all confessions are true, however, even if a person remembers committing the crime. Julia Shaw and Stephen Porter published a study in 2015 that examined the general hypothesis: It is possible to create a false memory of committing a crime. They used a sample of 60 undergraduate students to test the following specific hypothesis: False memories of committing a crime along with police contact while in adolescence can be developed by young adults in an experimental setting. The purpose of this study was to determine if certain tactics by an interviewer (i.e. social pressure, guided visualization, etc.) can cause the development of false memories of criminal action. Shaw and Porter were also interested in the strength of these memories, the ability to distinguish between true and false memories, and the effect of corroboration of the crime by a caregiver.
The researchers sent questionnaires to one caregiver of each of the participants to gather information about emotional events between the ages of 11 and 14. Some type of highly emotional event in that age range as well as the lack of criminal activity (theft, assault, assault with a weapon) was required for participation. The researches then used a selection of information from these questionnaires in interviews with the…

Related Documents