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Retention Interval and Eyewitness Memory

Retention interval refers to the amount of time that elapses between the end of a witness's encounter with a perpetrator and any subsequent testing of the witness's memory for that encounter. Testing of a witness's memory for a perpetrator's identity is obviously important whenever the prosecution seeks to prove that the perpetrator and the defendant are indeed the same person. When eyewitness testimony is provided, the trier of fact must decide whether the testimony is accurate. Unless the trier of fact believes that human memory operates with the fidelity of a video camera, he or she will need to estimate the strength of the witness's memory at the time of his or her memory being tested. To increase the precision of the estimate, the ...

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