Essay On Eyewitness Testimonies

1385 Words 6 Pages
Memory is a cognitive process whose reliability is often questioned, especially in its importance in eyewitness testimonies. Eyewitness testimonies refers to an account given by people who have witnessed a specific event. Eyewitness testimonies are also one of the major areas of research for cognitive psychology and memory. Eyewitness testimonies are vital factors used, in legal systems, as evidence for criminal trials. These testimonies rely on the accuracy of human memory to decide whether a person is guilty for a crime or not. This is a very important part of criminal trials since it is a major factor on the fate and future of a person's life. Quite noticeably, memory is an important, and significant, factor in eyewitness testimonies. At …show more content…
Based on this statement, this essay will investigate the reliability of memory on eyewitness testimonies, considering points from both sides of the argument. This argument will be discussed by talking about two different studies related to the reliability of memory on eyewitness testimonies, where one supports the idea that eyewitness testimonies are reliable, while the other opposes it. This will then end up with a conclusion that shows the extent of which memory is reliable in eyewitness testimonies.

The first study that will be seen is Loftus and Palmer's (1974). Loftus and Palmer claim that the nature of questions can influence witnesses' memory of an experience. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of leading questions on an eyewitness testimony of the event. This was done using the following method; Participants were shown several videos of car accidents, which ranged from five to thirty seconds. After each video, the participants were given a questionnaire which asked them to give an account of the accident. There were a number of questions which included the critical question, "How fast were the cars going when they

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