Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Minds are Tricky Things

Witnesses still hold sway in the courtroom, even as the reliability of human memory is called more and more into question. According to the Innocence Project, a legal group devoted to exonerating the wrongly incarcerated, mistaken eyewitnesses account for three quarters of convictions later overturned by DNA evidence. Now two new reports in the journal Psychological Science suggest that eyewitness reports may be even more prone to inaccuracy than previously thought, even when memories are fresh in one's mind, and especially when someone confesses.

Unfortunately, eye-witness testimony is probably both the least reliable, and most influential, type of evidence.

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