Eye Witness Memory Problems

Eye Witness Memory Problems

Seven Dimensions
Updated Nov 13, 2019

A project on 300 cases of wrongful conviction found that over three quarters were due to faulty memory. Dr Elizabeth Loftus talks about how and why this occurs. 

Course Overview 

Dr Elizabeth Loftus explains to Eve Ash that eyewitness testimony can muddy the legal waters. In a New York study on 300 cases of wrongful conviction, more than three quarters were jailed because a witness’s faulty memory. The problem is compounded when an eyewitness is confident, compelling and detailed about what s/he saw, but it never actually happened. 

Key Learning Points 

An eyewitness to a crime is not necessarily a godsend because: 

• Their memory might be faulty 

• A confident witness who is wrong is more likely to be believed 

Interviewer: Eve Ash 

Interviewee: Elizabeth Loftus