Social Influence and Eyewitness Testimony


In my forensics class I spend a great deal of time at the beginning of the course exploring observational skills and the role that they play in forensic investigation, whether it be on the part of the crime scene investigators looking for evidence at the scene, the detectives working the case or the witnesses who will be questioned about what they saw.  One of the resources I use  is the University of Buffalo case study, A Case of Mistaken Identity? The Psychology of Memory ( ) This case will be downloaded as a PDF. Throughout the course I revisit this topic as I weave it into whatever subject area we’re studying.

Recently I came across this TED talk on the impact social influence has on eyewitness testimony and thought that it was worth sharing as it represents an additional resource for those of you that address this topic. ( Elizabeth Brimacombe discusses a number of the factors that influence the validity and reliability of eyewitness testimony and shares a number of the experiments that provide support for the argument that memories are fallible, even when the person feels confident.

Additional resources to explore: