- Published: October 24, 2012
Courtroom dramas are a staple in the American TV lineup. And there is no better way to add drama to a case than to have a “star witness.” The defense brings forth a person who the jury feels they can trust. The witness’s opinion is weighted heavier than any of the forensic evidence. The witness’s word is law. However, should eyewitness testimony really be held in such a high regard? Scientific evidence suggests that while someone may have experienced the event first hand, that person’s memories of the even are far from accurate.
In the majority of cases, false eyewitness testimony is the main cause of a person being unrightfully accused of a crime. Human memory is just not reliable enough. Some people would believe that memory is like a video recorder, however it is found that we are susceptible to forgetting and misremembering details. A large number of factors many influence the encoding of a memory. A study by Wells and Olson isolated specific factors that may influence a person’s memory of an event. One factor is age of the witness. Young children and elderly adults are more likely to incorrectly recall an event. The appearance of…