This may have witnessed a car accident which

This essay will introduce us the definitions of false
memories and eyewitness testimonies as well as what they are and also what
literature has told us about them. The aim of this essay is assessing how reliable
the eye witness testimony and explained how false memories can be created and
implemented in the memory, this would also be backed by studies conducted by


An eye witness testimony is a legal expression, which refers
to an occasion witnessed by any individual. For instance, they may have
witnessed a car accident which they might be required to give a portrayal at a trial.
False memories are the psychological event where an individual remembers
something that did not occur or in extreme cases constructing memories that has
never happened, for example misremembering inaccurate recall of previous events.
This topic is important as eye witness testimony and false memories are used in
courts as evidence so the information given by the person must be precise and
accurate, as in court their remembrance will affect the jurors greatly. The use
of research on eyewitness testimony and false memory have shown that it should
not be relied on as much in court as evidence shows the amount of inaccurate statements
made by witnesses. The areas that will be covered in this essay are Loftus and
Palmers Study on eyewitness testimony and Loftus and Pickrell’s study on false
memories and this would conclude how reliable both eye witness testimony and
false memories are. Eye witness testimony is a crucial topic of research in
cognitive psychology as the
use of eye witness testimony in court has brought up numerous questions as to
its reliability, this is because Juries tend to use eye witness testimony as a valid
type of information however, research has shown that eye witness testimony
could be affected by various factors, such as reconstructive memory, leading
questions and effects from stress or anxiety.

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Loftus and Palmer (1974) demonstrated that the
type of wording or language used to witness people may have an impact on their memory,
meaning their original memory can be changed. The results of this study show
that eye witness testimony can be unreliable and influenced by leading
questions. In the study conducted by Loftus and Palmer they showed
45 participants, 7 clips which were presented in a random order to each group,
the clips were varied between 5 to 30 seconds long and it was about traffic
accidents. After watching the clips, the participants were then questioned like
they were eye witnesses, however one question Loftus and Palmer were interested
in was about the speed of the cars, they asked each participant “how fast were
the cars going when they (smashed / collided/ bumped / hit / contacted) each other”? The results concluded that the
verb used modified the speed of the vehicles, which influenced the memory of
the individuals. For example, the individuals who answered the ‘smashed’
question assumed the vehicles
were going quicker than individuals who answered about the ‘hit’ question.
Overall this showed that specific questions and verbs can be misleading which
can influenced an individual’s memories and this can lead to exaggerated and
biased eye witness testimonies.




False memory is a recollection of memories that
did not happen for example imagining something that has not happened. Loftus
and Pickrell (1995) examined how false memories can be formed in a study known
as ‘Lost in the mall’ study. Loftus and Pickrell wanted to test out whether
false memories can be created by recommendation, in individuals. This study observed
24 participants in which 3 of them were males and 21 of them were females all varying
from ages between 18 to 52. Loftus and Pickrell contacted all the participants
relatives and were asked to provide information about any of their childhood
memories. The participants were then asked to read 4 stories in which 3 of them
were accurate and one of them being an untrue story about being lost in a mall,
they were then told to write down any information they have recalled about each
story. The results of this study concluded that false memories can be imprinted
in an individual by just visualising an occasion as only 19 of 24 individuals
were able to notice that the lost in the mall event was incorrect and the rest
of the individuals remembered the untrue story completely. This presumes false
recollections are a case of condensed accuracy in memory, constructed on the
idea of reconstructive memory.


These examples have helped researchers to understand false
memory in a more detailed way and this have also shown researchers the reliability
of eyewitness testimony’s. They have shown that eyewitness testimonies are not
always a reliable source of information and this has helped change the justice
system to make eyewitnesses more accurate for example being more careful about
the words used when questioning an eyewitness. The results from the studies have
shown that false memory is possible to happen which is a risk as they recall
information from their imagination, making it fake and untrue.




conclusion, these studies have shown researchers how easily
memory can be triggered and changed, this can affect eyewitness testimony’s as
it could create inaccurate information which can lead to false to eyewitness testimony’s
and overall it can make eyewitness testimonies seem less reliable and
untrustworthy. These studies have shown how memory can be easily impacted and
influenced such as using specific verbs for example using the word fast can
imply and affect the speed of anything of the event they are asked to recall and
also the questions being asked can create false memories for example if they’re
asked questions about a crime scene instead of asking them “which hand was the
person holding the gun” it should be worded out  as “what was the person holding” as the first
question implies and creates a false memory of gun which may have not even been
there at the scene. Overall The results from the studies have proven to the
society not to rely too much on eyewitness testimony as they can be unreliable
due to many factors.