Human memory is a tricky subject as it can be easily distorted or modified. Courts, lawyers, and police officers usually bear it in mind while working with eyewitnesses. Taking into account the ability of skillful psychologists to introduce false memories to a witness, the latter may be of no assistance to the law enforcement organs. But how is it possible to distinguish between the false memories and the testimony that reflects things exactly as they were?
Original memory is elusive, and it can be a riddle even to the witness who retells the story. Clearly, people can forget minor details or replace them with the suspicions which cannot be proven by anybody. Every time they retell the story, witnesses try to adapt it to the target audience, whether it is the law enforcement officer or their family members. And false memories are inevitable not only because the third party may have interrupted in the fragile trace in the witness head – the latter may easily misinterpret memories themselves. As soon as the eyewitness suspicion grows to the facts, they can be mistaken while identifying the perpetrator.
According to the recent studies of psychologists, witness confidence is usually higher for the misleading information on the case. Judges frequently question credibility of the average person who happened to eyewitness some part of a crime. For this reason, credibility would rather be given to juries. In this case, however, it is still unclear whether juries are able to restore the precise information. Expert’s testimony may not be helpful, and the evidence provided by the witness can be biased. To solve this controversy, courts shall keep the balance between the findings juries and witness testimony.