How reliable is memory?

Troy Anthony Davis, a former sports coach from the U.S. state of Georgia, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991 for the August 19, 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail solely on the basis of eyewitness testimonies. No physical evidence linked him to the murder, and the weapon used in the crime was never found.

AS it turns out, 7 out of 9 of those witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony. (on a side note, if you are interested you can go here to learn more and sign a petition about this. )

Is eyewitness testimony enough evidence to send someone to their death?

How good is your memory? (ok, this guy is a bit cheesy, but he makes a good point…) Watch this video and play the memory game they do. Play the game as you watch. You can’t play after you watch the video.

So, how prevalent are false memories? How often do they occur? Well ultimately it depends on the situation and whether or not you were lead into it. However…

On July 7, 2005, London experienced a series of bombings. A follow-up study found that 4 out of 10 people have false memories of the event because they claimed to have seen nonexistent television footage.

CLick here to see the research article about that study.

Also, here is an easy to read science article reviewing all the recent research findings on false memory.

It’s just too easy to delude yourself.


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