Eyewitness Testimony and Memory of the Resurrection

This course is an introduction to the application of psychology to legal issues. We will cover clinical psychology issues in the law, including the insanity defense. We'll then move to social and cognitive psychology topics such as jury selection and deliberation, as well as eyewitness testimony and memory. Finally, we'll talk about children in the legal system, emphasizing relevant developmental psychology research, and the role of psychologists in the courtroom. Readings will consist primarily of psychological research, law review articles, and court cases. Grading will be based on class participation, a research paper, and a final exam.

As stated earlier, eyewitness testimony and memory is influenced by “event factors” (i.e

A large selection of high profile newspaper reports relating to eyewitness testimony and memory. Among the many items worth reading is a story on addressing the problems with traditional police lineups that appeared in the Chicago Tribune back in February 2005.

The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony

A large selection of high profile newspaper reports relating to eyewitness testimony and memory Eyewitness error is one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions. In fact, the American Psychological Association estimates that one in three eyewitnesses make an erroneous identification. In this review, we look briefly at some of the causes of eyewitness error. We examine what jurors, judges, attorneys, law officers, and experts from various countries know about eyewitness testimony and memory, and if they have the requisite knowledge and skills to accurately assess eyewitness testimony. We evaluate whether legal safeguards such as voir dire, motion-to-suppress an identification, cross-examination, jury instructions, and eyewitness expert testimony are effective in identifying eyewitness errors. Lastly, we discuss solutions to eyewitness error.

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In the following sections of this review, we examine what the principal participants in the criminal justice system and experts know about eyewitness testimony and memory, how effective legal safeguards are in detecting eyewitness error, and solutions that legal systems can implement to minimize eyewitness error.

a talk by Barbara Tversky, Professor of Psychology