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Eyewitness Memory, Lay Beliefs About

Lay beliefs about factors that influence the reliability of eyewitness testimony have been assessed with a variety of survey and experimental methods. When compared with expert opinion about the effects of these factors, the lay public frequently holds beliefs that would be considered incorrect in the light of psychological research on eyewitness memory.

A brief example provides the framework for understanding the relevance of lay beliefs about eyewitness memory to legal decision making and criminal justice procedures: A man presents a note to a bank teller and tells everyone to get on the floor. A security agent rushes the robber and is shot, but the thief escapes. Six weeks later, a man named Simon Chung is apprehended. His picture is included in a collection of photos ...

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