Münsterberg's legacy: What does eyewitness research tell us about the reliability of eyewitness testimony?

Amina Memon, Serena Mastroberardino, Joanne Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Münsterberg alerted us about the fallibility of eyewitness memory 100 years ago and we have come far in our understanding of the factors contributing to eyewitness error. A healthy empirical literature, including several meta-analytic reviews, suggests progress has been made in understanding the impact of various estimator and system variables on eyewitness performance. We begin by acknowledging Münsterberg's pioneering studies of eyewitness fallibility. We then turn to the methodological contribution of Buckhout (1974), a follower of Münsterberg. A selective review of research then highlights the scientific merits and pitfalls of the laboratory and archival approach to studying eyewitness behaviour. We end with a discussion of what experts can really tell the courts about the causal and associative relationships between various estimator and system variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-851
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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