Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Eyewitness: How Accurate Is Visual Memory, Lesley Stahl Reports On Flaws In Eyewitness Testimony That Lead To Wrong Convictions, CBS 60 Minutes Report
Publication Date: 2009
It's a cliché of courtroom dramas - that moment when the witness is asked "Do you see the person who committed the crime here in this courtroom before you?" It happens in real courtrooms all the time, and to jurors, that point of the finger by a confident eyewitness is about as damning as evidence can get.
But there is one type of evidence that's even more persuasive: DNA. There have been 233 people exonerated by DNA in this country, and now a stunning pattern has emerged: more than three quarters of them were sent to prison at least in part because an eyewitness pointed a finger - an eyewitness we now know was wrong.
Eyewitness Testimony Doesn't Make It True, A Commentary by
Publication Date: 2006
The freeing of James Calvin Tillman after 18 years of wrongful imprisonment contains a lesson that has been told and retold thousands of times: Eyewitness identification of strangers is unreliable.
Frontline interview with psychology professor, Elizabeth Loftus
One of the things that we know about memory is that when you experience something extremely upsetting or traumatic, you don't just record the event like a video tape machine would work, the process is much more complex and what's happening is you're taking in bits and pieces of the experience, you're storing some information about the experience, but it's not some indelible image that you're going to be able to dig out and replay later on.
The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony, a talk by Barbara Tversky, Professor of Psychology and George Fisher, Professor of Law, Stanford Journal of Legal Studies
Publication Date: 1999
In a presentation sponsored by the Stanford Journal of Legal Studies, George Fisher placed Barbara Tversky’s research on memory fallibility into the context of police investigations and jury verdicts, discussing the relevance of such research to our system of justice.
When Our Eyes Deceive Us by
Publication Date: 2009
Our eyes deceive us. Social scientists have insisted for decades that our eyewitness-identification process is unreliable at best and can be the cause of grievous injustice. A study published last month by Gary Wells and Deah Quinlivan in Law and Human Behavior, the journal of the American Psychology-Law Society, reveals just how often those injustices occur: of the more than 230 people in the United States who were wrongfully convicted and later exonerated by DNA evidence, approximately 77 percent involved cases of mistaken eyewitness identification, more than any other single factor.