Can you trust yourself?

Posted on April 13, 2015

Photo: flickr

Eyewitness testimony is crucial in many criminal cases presented in the court. It could significantly impact the victim and accused lives' and thus, it is extremely important for the testimony to be factually true.

Studies have been done to assess the accuracy of such testimony. Do we always remember what happen, exactly?

Their studies revealed two possibilities. One is that when we remember things, we recreate our memory based on fragments of actual memories from the past. This view of memory suggests that we may make mistakes when we do this reconstruction, but somehow the truth is still buried in our memories somewhere.

A second possibility is that when we are reminded of the initial situation, our initial memory is actually opened up again in ways that allow it to be altered. That is, over time the initial memory may be gone completely and replaced with a revised version.

An inaccurate testimony is indeed life-changing. Therefore, the legal system needs to treat eyewitness testimony carefully. After all, if old memories have been altered by new information, then the witness will believe deeply in their testimony, because it reflects their actual memory. Unfortunately, that actual memory is not an accurate reflection of the past it represents.

Category(s):Self-Doubt, Trust Issues

Source material from Psychology Today