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Can Eyewitnesses Create Memories?

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
May 24, 2013

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Memory Games.

About Scott Fraser’s TEDTalk

Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser studies how we remember crimes. He describes a deadly shooting and explains how eyewitnesses can create memories that they haven’t seen. Why? Because the brain is always trying to fill in the blanks.

About Scott Fraser

When it comes to witnesses in criminal trials, the accuracy of human memory can mean the difference between life and death. Scott Fraser is a forensic psychologist who researches what’s real and what’s selective when it comes to human memory and crime. He focuses on the fallibility of human memory and encourages a more scientific approach to trial evidence. He has testified in criminal and civil cases throughout the U.S. in state and federal courts.

In 2011 Fraser was involved in the retrial of a 1992 murder case in which Francisco Carrillo was found guilty and sentenced to two life sentences in prison. Fraser and the team that hired him staged a re-enactment of the night in question, and they showed the testimonies that had put Carrillo in jail were unreliable. After 20 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Carrillo was freed. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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