Eyewitness Testimony: A Psychological And Legal Perspective

Main Article Content

Anjali Nandan


Eyewitness testimony is very powerful and convincing to jurors, even though it is not particularly reliable. Identification errors occur, and these errors can lead to people being falsely accused and even convicted. Likewise, eyewitness memory can be corrupted by leading questions, misinterpretations of events, conversations with co-witnesses, and their own expectations for what should have happened. People can even come to remember whole events that never occurred. The problems with memory in the legal system are real. A number of specific recommendations have already been made, and many of these are in the process of being implemented. Eyewitness testimony can be of great value to the legal system, but decade of research now argues that this testimony is often given far more weight than its accuracy justifies. The present study consists of 100 subjects were selected between the age range 20–30-year-old. Almost from every profession.  Their education level was graduate and post graduate. In this study disproportionate stratified random sampling technique was used for data collection. The calculation depicts that 41.17% subject’s response matched with their own response when asked for the first time. Whereas 58.82% subject’s response didn’t match with their own response due to many external factors like reconstructive memory, anxiety, stress or leading questions. The claim that eyewitness testimony is reliable and accurate is testable, and the research is clear that eyewitness identification is vulnerable to distortion without the witness’s awareness. More specifically, the assumption that memory provides an accurate recording of experience, much like a video camera is incorrect. Memory evolved to give us a personal sense of identity and to guide our actions. We are biased to notice and exaggerate and to minimize or overlook others. Memory is malleable.

Article Details