Witness For The Defense Elizabeth Loftus

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Sydney Caparaso Mrs. Sherry AP Psychology 27 August 2015 Witness for the Defense: Elizabeth Loftus Human memory may not, as many think, resemble a permanent tape of our lives ' events, replayable at a whim. Elizabeth Loftus discusses her theories of memory and accuracy in her book, Witness for the Defense. Loftus has testified as an expert witness in more than 150 court cases, several of which she sites, discussing the different ways a memory can be fallible. She urges jurors to remain skeptical of eyewitness identifications of defendants, and demonstrates how mistakes have been made. This book is built around descriptions of cases in which Loftus has been involved as an expert witness for the defense. The book begins with a brief description…show more content…
Part One is very informational and contains the bulk of the book’s research. The information was presented in a thesis format; Loftus stated a claim and then supported her ideas with research and quotations from experts in the field of law and memory. Part One is helpful for psychologists, attorneys, and interested law people. The major principles concerning the errors in eyewitness testimony are supported by research and are accepted by psychologists (Kassin, Ellsworth, & Smith, 1989). Part One will contribute to the future of psychology by showcasing how the memory works and the different ways it is manipulated and changed: this will allow jurors and lawyers to become more wary when dealing with a traumatized…show more content…
As Loftus explains, we are so willing to accept unreliable eyewitness accounts because we do not understand how memory actually works. Most people believe the "video camera" scenario instead of the "evolutionary" scenario. Because of this misconception we are very strongly inclined to believe eyewitness accounts. “Why is eyewitness testimony so powerful and convincing? Because people in general and jurors in particular believe that our memories stamp the facts of our experiences on a permanent, non-erasable tape, like a computer disk or videotape that is write-protected,” (p. 21). This passage is important because it shows how much emphasis jurors put on eyewitness testimonies. This passage is important for research purposes as it explains why jurors find this form of testimony so reliable. People do not want to believe that memories can be changed or manipulated so it is easy to sympathize with a defendant. Within Part Two of the book, Loftus discusses her personal connections to memory and testimonies. This proves that Loftus is unbiased as she herself describes how easy it is to have memories change and be affected by outside

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