Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn't happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It's more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider.
Any witness, especially a child, is susceptible to influence through coercive, suggestive, or even benign questioning. An understanding of whether the questioning, interviews, interrogation or counseling of the child witness was unduly suggestive requires a highly nuanced inquiry into the atmosphere and demeanour surrounding verbal interactions between the child and adults.
It must be determined whether the interviewing, questioning and counselling techniques used with the child witness were so suggestive that they had the capacity to substantially alter the child's recollections of events and thus compromise the reliability of the child's personal knowledge.
TRUTH & CONSEQUENCE
Can a child witness be influenced by suggestive questioning from parents, interviewers or other individuals?
At Cornell University, renowned psychologist Stephen Ceci studies the accuracy of children's courtroom testimony, particularly in cases alleging physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.
"Truth and Consequence" is a short independent documentary that focuses on Professor Ceci's research and three court cases in which he testified as an expert witness.
Watch Dr. Lorandos as an Expert Witness on "Suggestibility"
NBC TV - Accused Falsely