Psychology and Law: Truthfulness, Accuracy and Credibility

By Amina Memon; Aldert Vrij et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
FALSE MEMORIES
Repression, Amnesia and Memory for Early Childhood Experiences128
Adults' Memories for Traumatic and Non-traumatic Events132
Implanting False Memories135
Mechanisms Responsible for the Creation of False Memories and Beliefs139
Verifying the Accuracy of Recovered Memories in the Courtroom143
Summary and Conclusion145

The 1990s saw an increasing number of reports of recovered memories from adults of childhood sexual abuse accompanied by a fierce debate as to the authenticity of these memories. It is a debate that has elicited considerable controversy in the courts, in academic circles and in professional practice due to its personal, social and political implications. A criminal case based on the recovered memory of a murder was instrumental in bringing the debate to the attention of the public and courts. In 1990, George Franklin was convicted of the murder of a child, primarily on the evidence of his daughter Eileen, who claimed she had repressed the murder of her friend for 20 years (Maclean, 1993). The conviction was overturned by a successful appeal in 1995, but the case nevertheless remains a poignant example of the impact of a recovered memory in the legal context. In the academic domain, recovered memories have presented memory researchers with some challenging questions. The debate has focused attention on conditions under which memories are recovered and the power of suggestion in the creation of false memories. False memories are typically defined as incorrect beliefs about past events that have been incorporated and experienced as genuine memories (Heaps & Nash, 1999; Lampinen, Neuschatz & Payne, 1998). In other words, what is a false memory may appear to us to be a true or accurate reflection of our past (Payne et al., 1997). That is not to say that all memories that are repressed or recovered after a period of being “unavailable”

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Psychology and Law: Truthfulness, Accuracy and Credibility
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • About the Authors ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Telling and Detecting Lies 7
  • Chapter 3 - Facial Appearance and Criminality 37
  • Chapter 4 - Interviewing Suspects 57
  • Chapter 5 - Interviewing Witnesses 87
  • Chapter 6 - Psychological Factors in Eyewitness Testimony 107
  • Chapter 7 - False Memories 127
  • Chapter 8 - Jury Decision Making 147
  • Chapter 9 - The Role of Expert Witnesses 169
  • References 181
  • Index 221
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