Article

Eyewitness Testimony

Cara Laney and Elizabeth Loftus

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0086
Eyewitness Testimony

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Research into eyewitness testimony involves the psychological study of how crime witnesses perceive events, remember those events, and then report them within legal procedures. Research in this field is undertaken by cognitive psychologists, social psychologists, and specialized forensic or legal psychologists. Witnessing a crime can be complicated, and it can have extensive and long-term implications for the witness and the suspected perpetrator(s), among others. Eyewitness testimony research addresses all aspects of this process—from how events are perceived, to what happens when witnesses talk to one another and law enforcement professionals about what they have seen and heard, to making an identification of the perpetrator, and to the courtroom itself. There are also additional complexities when witnesses are children or psychologically disabled, or when they hear rather than see the crime. Eyewitness testimony research also addresses the suspect side of things—from suspect interviews, including the detection of deception in those interviews, to false confessions and the resulting miscarriages of justice. Memory for eyewitnessed events is an area of particular interest. Eyewitnesses and victims of crime have been shown to demonstrate an impressive variety of memory errors, which can result in effects as substantial as the conviction of factually innocent individuals.

Article.  9751 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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