The biological approach to the basis of memory is explained in terms of underlying biological factors such as the activity of the nervous system, genetic factors, biochemical and neurochemicals. In general terms memory is our ability to encode, store, retain and recall information and past experiences afterwards in the human brain. In biological terms, memory is the recreation of past experiences by simultaneous activation or firing of neurons. Some of the major biopsychological research questions on memory are what are the biological substrates of memory, where are memories stored in the brain, how are memories assessed during recall and what is the mechanism of forgetting. The two main reasons that gave rise to the interest in biological basis of memory are that researchers became aware of the fact that many memory deficits arise from injuries to the brain. And the other reason was that they realized that psychological processes must have a physiological basis.
First, the factor that leading innocent people be charged is flawed eyewitness identification. Eyewitness is one of principal evidences that policies are looking because someone has knowledge about the crime. A study of contributing causes of wrongful convictions show us that 72% are eyewitness because of misidentification ( The causes of wrongful conviction, 1). This study demonstrated that eyewitness is the highest in wrongful convictions. For example, in the documentary Mr Stephens was the eyewitness which, it is the strong evidence that Detective Williams used against Butler. Mr Stephens told the police that he saw a 6-feet tall men between 20 to 25 years-old. Even though the description given by Mr Stephens did not match with
Unless observed from the onset of the investigation, studies show that the confidence level of the witness has a “poor relationship” with the accuracy of the identification (Stenzel 2017). Because memory can be easily altered and misleading, high levels of confidence do not indicate that the witness has correctly identified the suspect (Stenzel 2017). Initially, Thompson-Cannino identified Cotton, saying, “I think this is him,” but by the time she got to her second round of identifications, she said “Bingo! I did it right!” (Stenzel 2017). Studies show that confidence in the witness’ confidence in their memory increases with time (Hughes 2014). However, there is usually an extended period of time between when the crime took place and the trial, and therefore, the witness’ confidence statement should be given little to no weight in the
For instance, if an eyewitness misidentifies a person whom they believe to be the suspect and report that person to the police and the “suspect” reacts out of anger when stopped by police causing an altercation to take place, which often times may be physical. Now that person may be facing charges for a crime they didn’t commit and also may be facing charges for the altercation that occurred during the arrest for the crime they didn’t commit. It is extremely important for eyewitnesses to have a clear and convincing description of the suspect because it can easily cause further complications. It can also ruin an innocent persons life if they are wrongfully convicted of the crime because of the
Many news stories, reports, and books fairly describe wrongful convictions in detail, although not all of these wrongful convictions resulted in formal exonerations. Most witness misidentifications were made in good faith with the witness attempting to help officials find the real perpetrator of a crime, although this explanation does not examine the conditions under which these identifications were made. Some of the conditions that need to be taken into account are whether a photo was shown to a victim by the police before a lineup, whether the identification by the witness was hesitant, or if the victim was urged to be positive when testifying. Additionally, was the identification from the same race; was there prejudice, how much distance and duration of interaction was there between victim and suspect prior to identification and what were the viewing conditions; darkness or day light? With so many factors involved, it should be obvious to some why eye-witness misidentification can happen so frequently. Moreover, the testimony of an eyewitness relies on how accurate their memory of an event actually is. Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing, playing a role in more than 70% of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide (“Eyewitness Misidentification,”
Wells and C.A. Elizabeth Luus to maintain impartiality and the witness’s autonomy in his identification. First, it is recommended that witnesses should be separated as soon as possible to prevent the misinformation effect where information obtained post event, such as the perspectives of others, distorts and is falsely incorporated into memories. Secondly, it is imperative that the suspect is made aware that the witness is explicitly told that the suspect may or may not be present in the lineup. This is to ensure the witness does not feel compelled to select someone, or falsely believe that a suspect is guaranteed to be present. Third, the officer conducting the lineup should be independent of the investigation to prevent any personal or information induced biases towards any particular individual in the lineup. Fourth, if there is more than one witness, the position of the suspect in the lineup should be changed in each lineup so as to prevent communication of the suspects position between witnesses influencing identifications. Finally, it is recommended that no cues of any kind should be given to the witness concerning whether or not the identified person is the suspect in the case as doing so can
At that precise moment, I know for a fact that I will tell the truth because that is my character and what I believe in. Nonetheless, a sudden fear crosses my mind; the doubt that I will not remember what I witnessed frightens me. Although it has never happened before, at every new trial, I am troubled about the thought that I will not recall exactly what happened during the situation that brought me to trial. Moreover, I believe that the offender that is on trial can easily withhold the truth about their part in the situation. As police officers, we have body cameras that record what we say and what we do during our course of duty; therefore, to see an offender falsely state what happened, sickens me. We swear to God to tell the truth and to not do just that is not appropriate.
The criminal justice system depends majorly on eyewitness identification for investigating and prosecuting crimes. Psychologists have been the only ones who have warned the justice system of problems with eyewitness identification evidence. Recent DNA exoneration cases have corrupted the warnings of eyewitness identification researchers by showing that mistaken eyewitness identification was the largest factor contributing to the conviction of many innocent people eyewitness testimonies are not reliable therefor you would assume they would be taken out of court, but instead
There are many factors that contribute to a wrongful conviction. Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest cause. The mind is not a tape recorder; it does not record events exactly as it’s seen. Sometimes the witness or victim would choose the wrong person at photo arrays and lineups. The memory of a witness in a crime scene is like any other evidence it must be preserved carefully.
Witness misidentification makes up for most known wrongful convictions. Evidence shows that in approximately 75% of all wrongful convictions, erroneous eyewitness identifications play a key role. (Thompson, 2009) Multiple issues factor into why an eyewitness may misidentify a suspect. The psychological stress of a critical incident
She “studied every detail on the rapist’s face. [She] looked at his hairline; [she] looked for scars, for tattoos, for anything that would help [her] identify him” (New York Times). She put so much effort to stay conscious and study this much detail of her attacker, yet when Bobby Poole stood in front of her in the courthouse, she did not recognize him claiming “that she’s never seen that man before in her life”. This shows that there are other contributing factors that could lead a witness to misidentify an attacker and that even the “best” eyewitnesses are not perfect. Thompson shared the statistic that eyewitness error is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in America. This supports her argument by claiming that she is not the only case of misidentification. Errors like this occur in trial and investigation considerably often. Thompson brings up another case in Texas where there is another man on death row because of a flimsy eyewitness identification. This goes to show that eyewitness misidentifications can have heavy consequences to the wrongfully convicted as well as how common misidentifications are. Overall, Thompson claims that even the most confident witnesses can be
In 2015, Smalarz found that a misidentification testimony by very confident eyewitnesses has happened in about seventy-two percent of cases where innocent people have been accused and were later found innocent by DNA testing. Someone can tell you a story with details, confidence, and passion yet it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true. In correspondence with Smalarz, in 1977, Randall Adams was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer in Dallas, Texas. An alleged eyewitness, who in fact was the actual killer, framed Mr. Adams; he received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony. Mr. Adams was in fact not involved in the crime. Errol Morris took interest in the film and produced the famous documentary: The Thin Blue Line. In total, it took detectives twelve years and four months for them to figure out that Mr. Adams was the wrong suspect (Martin, 2011). Therefore, proving that Smalarz’s theory was correct; the actual killer appeared confident and passionate that Mr. Adams was the killer and got away with the crime. Martin shows bias in his article by stating that eyewitness testimonies are not reliable; he favors the idea that eyewitness testimonies should not be used in court cases and doesn’t not provide different perceptions in the
It’s not easy to reconstruct your memory and we always rely on our knowledge and attitudes to fill in the gaps. Eyewitness can be right but not always. In Zimmerman trial the witnesses were saying something totally different and it’s really hard to know which one is right. Although they saw the same thing they explained it differently. One witness said she saw two people and then the second time she said she only saw one person that explains to us that we can’t always rely on eyewitness. The innocence project has proposed to legislation to improve the accuracy of eyewitness ID’s. These proposals include recording the proof of identity technique so that the juries can regulate if it was accompanied properly, putting characters in the lineup
Eyewitness identification is ineffective and unjust. Studies have shown that 40% of eyewitness identifications are wrong (Vrij, 1998). Eyewitness identification has great importance in the legal system. This requires the best eyewitness testimony procedure. This essay examines the three main types of eyewitness line-ups; the showup, the sequential and the simultaneous line-up. This essay draws conclusions as to which method the legal system should implement.
Eye witness identification involves selecting an accused perpetrator from a police line up, sketch or being at the crime scene during the murder time. After selecting a suspect, witnesses are asked to make a formal statement confirming the ID of the suspect (s) or other surrounding details which the eyewitness can testify in court. Eyewitnesses are always required to testify in court but eyewitnesses with psychological disorders, substance dependancy are at a higher chance of identifying the wrong suspect therefore wrongfully assisting convict the perpetrator in the wrong (Hal Arkowitz, Scott O. Lilienfeld, January 1, 2010).