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Would you be a good witness

  1. Jul 6, 2006 #1

    wolram

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    Would you be a good witness.

    http://agora.stanford.edu/sjls/Issue One/fisher&tversky.htm

    This is one study that suggests eye witnesses can be unreliable, and i guess unless you have a uncoruptable photographic memory i would not stake my life on you remembering an event that could have happened weeks months
    ago correctly.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2006 #2

    wolram

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    So falls the western legal system.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2006 #3
    Darn, ohh well.. better let out all the crinimals
     
  5. Jul 6, 2006 #4

    wolram

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    And if you were the one accused of a crime and your fate was dependant on eye witness evidence, would you be so flipant ?
     
  6. Jul 6, 2006 #5

    J77

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    I can never remember if I locked the door or not in the morning...
     
  7. Jul 6, 2006 #6

    wolram

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    So would will you testify in a court of law that your version of an event you saw is accurate?
     
  8. Jul 6, 2006 #7
    :rolleyes:

    I will presume that is a retorical question, and there is no need to give an answer. :smile:
     
  9. Jul 6, 2006 #8

    wolram

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    ?
    No if you can not rely on your memory why should i, if you have some image
    retetion cababillity that is uncorutptable i will trust you , but how can you show that your memory is undoubtable?
     
  10. Jul 6, 2006 #9
    So you say 'scrap the legal system' because of this?
    Are you claiming that the majority of eye witnesses are having to describe precisly what they saw down to the smallest detail?
    I hope not.
    Clearly the majority of cases an eye witness tells about what he saw. Ie:

    "A fight broke out, and I saw Wolram pull a knife from his pocket. He then went on to stab violently Mr Smith, there was blood everywhere."

    Not:
    "A fight broke out, in the corner of my eye the sun was at 9degrees above the horizons, 5 seaguls were flying past a tree which had 3425 brown leafs and 345 green leafs. Wolram put his right hand into his pocket and took a steal alloy knife of exactly 10cm long out, this whole movement took exactly 3.34s. 1 eyebrow then went up and a lip move 3 mm to the right....... etc etc
     
  11. Jul 6, 2006 #10

    wolram

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    A good analogy is the ref in foot ball, was he right in calling an foul, the TV
    proves him wrong, will the results be changed? NO.
     
  12. Jul 6, 2006 #11

    J77

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    I don't think I could.

    And the more I would think about the witnessed event, the more, I think, I would imagine parts which weren't there.

    My mind's not rigged for remembering things in great detail.
     
  13. Jul 6, 2006 #12

    wolram

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    For sure you think as i do, people must think how accurate they can recall events before they can condem another.
     
  14. Jul 6, 2006 #13

    Moonbear

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    This is definitely a problem with eyewitness accounts. I remember all the conflicting reports when the Maryland sniper was on the loose...it was a white van, no a white car, no a light colored car...I think it ended up being some old, dark-colored car, while all the police were on the lookout for a white van. :rolleyes:

    Then there's sorting out what did a person really saw, and what they've added in their mind to fill in after the fact. For example, you see someone in a hooded sweatshirt run from a bank as the alarms go off. They catch some kid around the corner with a hooded sweatshirt. Is that the person you saw running from the bank? And is he the person who just tried to rob the bank? A lot of people would jump to the conclusion that the person they saw running was the one who robbed the bank, and the kid wearing similar clothing is the same one they saw running, even if it's the popular clothing style every kid is wearing. Nevermind that the person trying to rob the bank walked out wearing slacks, a nice shirt, and tie, and the kid running from the bank was just running scared when he realized it was being robbed.
     
  15. Jul 6, 2006 #14
    Sure, but you wouldnt build a legal case on that would you?
     
  16. Jul 6, 2006 #15

    Moonbear

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    People do. Of course, the job of the defense attorney is to ferret out the impossibility of the eye witness having seen what they claim to have seen from where they were watching. But, as the article Wolram cited indicates, once someone starts to fill in details in their own memory, whether they were truly witnessed or not, it gets harder to sort out which ones they really saw and which they filled in from talking to others. This is one reason the cops try to separate witnesses and interview them before they've had a chance to talk to one another, because it's the only way they can sort out which details were really observed, and which they filled in for each other by discussing an incident.
     
  17. Jul 6, 2006 #16

    wolram

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    Look in S and D would you agree with what people said they saw, Very astute people can interpret things wrongly.
     
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