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St Mary’s to Host Seminar on Eyewitness Memory

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St Mary’s to Host Seminar on Eyewitness Memory

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On Wednesday 5th November, the School of Management and Social Sciences at St Mary’s University, Twickenham will host a free public research seminar exploring the significance of appropriate interviewing procedures for gaining accurate eyewitness testimonies. Titled ‘Counterintuitive effects of incomplete questioning on eyewitness recall’, the seminar will be delivered by St Mary’s Psychology Lecturer Dr Marcelle Fernandes. In criminal settings, the nature of questioning is typically selective, as investigating officers rarely possess comprehensive records of all that occurred. This selective questioning can result in retrieval-induced forgetting, a memory phenomenon where remembering causes forgetting of other information in the memory. Dr Fernandes will present two studies that show how the effects of retrieval-induced forgetting influence witness memory. The first study demonstrates that imagination can distort memory for an event, where specifically imagining certain aspects of events can lead to forgetting the real parts. The second study demonstrates how selective questioning for an event causes the forgetting of the more important or noticeable information. Dr Fernandes, who attained a PhD examining the relationship between memory and social judgements at Swansea University, commented “The reliability of eyewitness memory is over 100 years old and yet we have only scratched the surface as to the factors that affect it. Police questioning is one such factor that, counterintuitively, it is just as likely to impair an eyewitness’s memory as improve it”. The free public lecture will take place on Wednesday 5th November from 3pm in B13 at St Mary’s Strawberry Hill campus. For more information please contact Dr Fernandes at marcelle.fernandes@stmarys.ac.uk.
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