n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Perception and memory : implications for eyewitness testimony

Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



Eyewitness accounts often play a crucial role in solving a case in a court of law. The widely held belief in the `ultimate accuracy' of human perception and memory however, is often without the necessary scientific substantiation. Consequently, it is not surprising that legal history is often tainted with tragic miscarriages of justice, which have resulted in financial ruin, loss of reputation, imprisonment and even execution. It is, therefore, regrettable that legal professionals and decision-makers have received `almost no training' in the basic psychological processes of information processing. This article aims to provide professionals in the legal system with an overview of the role that perception and memory play in eyewitness testimony.

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