Memory and Suggestibility in the Forensic Interview

Memory and Suggestibility in the Forensic Interview

Memory and Suggestibility in the Forensic Interview

Memory and Suggestibility in the Forensic Interview

Synopsis

Memories are the ultimate foundation of testimony in legal settings ranging from criminal trials to divorce mediations and custody hearings. Yet the last decade has seen mounting evidence of various ways in which the accuracy of memories can be distorted on the one hand and enhanced on the other. This book offers a long-awaited comprehensive and balanced overview of what we now understand about children's and adults' eyewitness capabilities--and of the important practical and theoretical implications of this new understanding. The authors, leading clinicians and behavioral scientists with diverse training experiences and points of view, provide insight into the social, cognitive, developmental, and legal factors that affect the accuracy and quality of information obtained in forensic interviews. Armed with the knowledge these chapters convey, practitioners in psychology, psychiatry, social work, criminology, law, and other relevant fields will be better informed about the strengths and limitations of witnesses' accounts; researchers will be better poised to design powerful new studies. Memory and Suggestibility in the Forensic Interview will be a crucial resource for anyone involved in elucidating, interpreting, and reporting the memories of others.

Excerpt

Our goals in developing this book were straightforward. We wanted to provide researchers and practitioners with a review of state-of-the-art research and thinking on memory and suggestibility in the forensic context. We wanted the chapters to cover the exciting domains of both child and adult eyewitness testimony. And, importantly, we wanted to bring together a distinguished group of psychologists representing diverse points of view and diverse backgrounds to write chapters in their areas of expertise. Thanks to the contributors—and much to our delight—all of these goals have been achieved.

As will be evident to readers, the study of memory and suggestibility in the forensic interview has much to offer both scientists and practitioners. For scientists, it elucidates the nature of memory—its malleability and strengths—as well as the mechanisms that underlie its complex workings and development. For practitioners, it has the potential to educate interviewers of all sorts (e.g., law enforcement personnel, social workers, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, judges, and “even” parents) about how to obtain the most accurate and credible information from children and adults. Clearly, the book will be of interest to researchers and practitioners spanning a broad range of disciplines. It will also serve as a useful overview for legal scholars and students of psychology and law who wish to gain insight into current debates and empirical findings.

Although the book is relatively balanced in its coverage of the child and adult eyewitness literatures, for several reasons (e.g., the complexities of . . .

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