Eyewitness Testimony: Can We Trust It?.
The article explains research into eyewitness testimonies and their validity. In a .
certain experiment, a number of different people viewed a traffic accident on film and .
were questioned individually about what they had seen. When different phrasing was .
used, the subjects gave different accounts of what they witnessed. This led researchers to .
believe that testimony could be swayed, intentionally or unconsciously, in dissimilar .
directions by "leading" or using different phrasing during the questioning of witnesses. .
With many innocent people being wrongfully convicted, the study concludes that errors .
made by eyewitnesses were the most influential element in these convictions.
I feel that our memories are fallible and can de directly influenced to a certain degree. .
I think that the "source" and importance of the information we receive plays a major part .
in how and what we remember. Being human, we sometimes confuse the source of the .
information with information about the event itself. When we are subjected to "leading" .
questions where the information is implied from related items, we sometimes forget that .
the "source" of the information is what we concluded from the question, not the event .
itself. For instance, in the study, after some time had passed, certain subjects were asked .
if they saw any broken glass after the cars "smashed into" one another. As we know, .
heavy impact is usually associated with broken glass. Since the term "smashed into " was .
implied, it was presumed that glass was present; therefore, making "smashed into" the .
source of the information instead of the film. .
More often than not, eyewitness testimony is the bread-and-butter of a successful .
prosecution case, and can almost always be admitted as evidence without question. .
Indeed it is apparent to the general public that such evidence is very strong, especially .