Author Archives: Megan Garvin

Faulty Eyewitness Testimony

We discussed in class that eyewitness testimonies are unreliable because of memory errors like updating. Although, this article gives many reasons that someone may give a faulty eyewitness testimony. The author cites a study by the American Judicature Society stating that “if a person uninvolved in the case presents the photos one-by-one, rather than all at once, fewer mistakes are made.” This can be explained by updating. Updating is new information being folded into existing memories leading to updating effects. Misleading questions can cause updating of a memory, which leads the witness to a certain answer. The article says emotions can play a part in mistaken eyewitness testimony. The author recounts an incident in which her fear caused her to incorrectly identify the suspect not just once but three times. The author also cites the New Jersey Supreme Court for saying the witness can be influence by stress, the length of sighting, weapon involvement, and if the suspect is of a different race. Eyewitness testimony has the ability to sway a jury but it is not reliable. More and more studies are proving that eyewitness testimony is faulty, and the judicial system needs to recognize that and develop a solution.

 

Wexler, L. (2011, September 21). Eyewitness testimony often lies. Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/20/opinion/wexler-witness-memory-davis/

The Florida Man Who Only Speaks Swedish

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/24/amnesia-victim-dies-sweden/8088943/

Michael Boatwright was an American and a Vietnam War veteran. He was found unconscious in a Florida motel room with obvious injuries. When Michael awoke in a hospital room, he believed his name was Johan Ek and he could only speak Swedish. After several months living in the hospital, because he had no place to go or any family to help him, doctors began to question if he was faking his amnesia. They tried to trick him into speaking English but to no avail. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia.

This case of retrograde, transient amnesia is fascinating to me. People who suffer with brain damage can experience amnesia and may forget who they are, but the article about Michael Boatwright in USA Today leaves the reader with a lot more questions than answers. If the amnesia patient’s name is Johan Ek, why is Michael Boatwright the name of his id? How did the amnesia affect his ability to speak English? His case is definitely an interesting one that we may never fully understand.

A Look into the ’90s and Long-Term Memory

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikeynicholson/smash-hits-was-life#.ghe9vW9zmN

This Buzzfeed quiz tests how well people remember ‘90s magazine covers. Buzzfeed shows an image of a magazine cover from the 90s and asks the quiz taker what year it was circulated. Unfortunately, if I were graded on this quiz, I would have failed; I was only able to recognize 6 out of 15 magazine covers. Although for being born in 1996, that seems reasonable. Nevertheless, what about those people who grew up in the ‘90s? They would have received higher scores than me, right? If their long-term memory captured these magazine covers, that is.

Long-term memory is the element being tested in this quiz. Long-term memory is the last component of the Modal Model. It is the permanent storage of all of our knowledge and memories. In order for information to be recalled from long-term memory, which is necessary for this quiz, it must be encoded into the long-term memory by going through the working memory. Therefore there must be meaning added to the information before, pathways can be created for easier recognition later in life.

In conclusion, I would imagine that this quiz would be hard for people who grew up in the ‘90s, as well as people who were born in the ‘90s. While people may remember the magazine and celebrities on the covers they may not have encoded the specific date into their long-term memory. Therefore there would have been no meaning attached to the date in-question, causing it to be more difficult to recall when taking this Buzzfeed quiz.