Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Faculty News Psychology

When memory and justice fail us

The Hill

Originally Post: June 20, 2020

Holly Bowen is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at SMU Dallas where she teaches and directs research on topics including memory, emotion, motivation and aging.

Think back to the last time you went on a mission to stock up on supplies due to COVID-19. What route did you take around the store? Can you describe the employee who bagged your groceries? What was the make and model of the car parked next to you?

It’s likely this memory is difficult to retrieve and the details surrounding it have faded. After all, this was a stressful and uncertain time and your focus might have been elsewhere. It was some time ago and you have probably forgotten.

Now, consider that these are the exact situations that eyewitnesses often find themselves in when being expected to make accurate and confident judgments about what they saw during a courtroom examination or a police interview. READ MORE