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Unconscious Transference

Unconscious transference is a memory error that occurs when an eyewitness to a crime misidentifies a familiar but innocent person from a police lineup. Historically, the use of the term unconscious refers to the idea that the witness who misidentifies the familiar foil (an innocent person in a police lineup) has no conscious recollection of the previous encounter with the person. A classic real world example involved a case where a ticket agent at a train station was robbed and misidentified a former customer from a lineup. While the customer had an ironclad alibi, the ticket agent maintained that the person appeared all too familiar to him. Failing to recollect that he was a former customer, the ticket agent apparently based his identification on a ...

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