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Tall Tales about the Mind and BrainSeparating fact from fiction$
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Sergio Della Sala

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198568773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.001.0001

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The myth of the incredible eyewitness

The myth of the incredible eyewitness

(p.76) Chapter 6 The myth of the incredible eyewitness
Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain

Amina Memon

Don Thomson

Oxford University Press

Research shows that one in five witnesses mistakenly identifies a volunteer at identity parades, despite warnings that the culprit may not be present. Mistaken eyewitness testimony from victims and bystanders has to date been held responsible for two-thirds of the cases of wrongful convictions in the USA following new DNA evidence. Further cases are pending examination. This chapter examines whether research on the factors that influence the quality of visual evidence from eyewitnesses can inform police investigators and the courts about the reliability of witness evidence under different conditions. It also considers the extent to which there is a consensus in the research findings and in expert opinion. Finally, it briefly examines what laypersons or potential jurors know about the factors influencing eyewitness evidence.

Keywords:   eyewitnesses, jurors, identity parades, wrong convictions, mistaken identity, eyewitness testimony

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