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Postevent Information and Eyewitness Memory

Human memory, however accurate generally, is not a perfect processing system. Over time, our memory becomes less accurate, primarily for two reasons. First, our memory is not permanent, and information fades from memory over time. Most people are familiar from experience with this unfortunate feature of memory but are less familiar with the second factor that influences the accuracy of memory—memory can be distorted by the influence of postevent information. Although memory can be influenced by subsequent experiences, there are constraints on the conditions under which this is likely to occur. Nonetheless, when memory accuracy is a premium, such as in forensic situations involving eyewitness memory, it is important to recognize that eyewitness memory can be suggestively influenced. In these situations, the impact of postevent ...

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