Giuliana Mazzoni

The Contribution of Cognitive Science, Memory and Eyewitness Psychology to Forensic Science

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In this commentary I review some of the research-based evidence on the importance of the contribution of cognitive science, and specifically research on memory, for the understanding of processes and phenomena involved in eyewitness testimony. I review some studies on memory distortions considering both distortions of existing memories and creation of completely new false memories. I conclude that the evidence provided by the research in this area represents a body of knowledge that cannot be ignored by those who are in charge of interviewing witnesses. In addition, the fallibility and malleability of memory shown by most of the results of memory research might cast doubts on the juridical principle according to which eyewitness testimony can constitute probing evidence even in the absence of corroborating external evidence.

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