Eyewitness memory can be reliable and potential jurors get it

  • Tue 13 Oct 20

    16:00 - 17:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Professor Laura Mickes

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychology, Department of

  • Contact details

    Dr Giulia Poerio

Eyewitness evidence is widely considered unreliable. But is it? It turns out that if not contaminated, then it can be reliable.

One way to enhance reliability is to consider confidence in the identification from the initial identification procedure. If made with high confidence, it is likely to be accurate, and if made with low confidence, it is more likely to be in error.

The conclusion that eyewitness confidence is predictive of identification accuracy has only recently been appreciated. New policy recommendations are to video initial identification procedures for later consideration of the confidence expressed.

If the oft-made claim that laypeople share misconceptions about memory is valid, they will struggle to understand, interpret, and evaluate others’ memories. As this is often a fundamental duty of jurors, the policy recommendations may be for naught.

We investigated whether people would use indicators of accuracy to make decisions faced by jurors and queried their beliefs about memory. Participants’ insight about memory extended to using the eyewitness’s confidence to guide their decision-making. The results suggest that laypeople are well-placed to adjudicate eyewitness video-evidence that includes expressions of confidence.


Professor Laura Mickes is a Professor at the School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol.

How to attend

This seminar will be held on Zoom. To receive a Zoom link please email Dr Giulia Poerio (g.poerio@essex.ac.uk) or Dr Matteo Lisi (m.lisi@essex.ac.uk) with the date and title of the seminar you wish to attention.

Related events