A great deal of controversy has surrounded the phenomenon of “false memory syndrome” and the implications that it has had in our society, particularly in the legal realm. One of the most influential psychologists in the area of memory and eye witness testimony is Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, who has spent three decades as a research psychologist and memory expert in legal cases. To learn more about the controversy surrounding “false memory syndrome,” visit the online LA Weekly website at
Based on the points that the Loftus article brings up and your readings and research this week respond to the following:
What kind of implications do particular limitations of human memory have on the use of eye-witness testimony in criminal and civil court cases?
- After reading the article on Loftus, it really had me thinking about how much the justice system can rely on eyewitness memory. When you have an eye-witness who is in shock from the trauma they have seen or been through sometimes your memory could be going in many different directions. Just using a person's memory can have good and bad results, especially if it deals with a memory that can be from many years before. I believe memories come from not only actual things happening but also from what we think of subconsciously or maybe even dream of, I believe that things like that can sometimes harness memories that never happened. I have many different thoughts about using memory only in a courtroom setting, I think that if we are going to use memory then there needs to be more evidence to help support the memory. I agree with the study that was done on the five-year-old about getting lost from their parent while in the mall, It shows how easy our memory can be manipulated and I think even as an adult you can still have your memory manipulated If you think about when a cop interrogates someone that could be overly stressed and exhausted the investigator can easily spin the truth around to where after awhile the witness will begin to believe what they are saying or what they have seen. In lesson three reading I learned about Prosopagnosia - A neurological disorder that impairs one's ability to recognize faces. So if you were to do a photo line up or an in-person line up that could convict an innocent person. I really enjoyed reading and learning more about memory and all the different ways that is can be changed to represent something that may not be true be it by sight, hearing, or even smell this lesson was a great read.