Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Testimony: Memory is fallible, study confirms

Cosmos (Australian, popular-science magazine) has an article on research by James Ost, University of Portsmouth (UK) into the accuracy of recall, in this case, of video news reports seen some three months prior. There were a couple of interesting statements that popped out at me:
"Ost said that people who were more likely to come up with false memories scored higher on a scale of "fantasy proneness" than those that did not." (My comment - "fantasy proneness" appears to mean "creative" in this context.)

"Ost said that when DNA testing became available in the U.S. in the early 90s, 80 per cent of death row cases that were exonerated, were found to have been wrongly convicted on the strength of mistaken identity."
Although the article doesn't address it directly, previous studies have shown that accuracy of recall also depends greatly on the amount of time that has past since the event, which gives all the more reason to get witness statements soonest.

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