The ‘common sense’ memory belief system and its implications

Akhtar, S., Justice, L.V. ORCID: 0000-0003-3394-2283, Knott, L., Kibowski, F. ORCID: 0000-0002-8852-1278 and Conway, M.A., 2018. The ‘common sense’ memory belief system and its implications. International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 22 (3), pp. 289-304. ISSN 1365-7127

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Memory experts, the police, and the public, completed a memory questionnaire containing a series of statements about autobiographical memory. The statements covered issues such as the nature of memory, determinants of accuracy, the relation of emotion and trauma to memory, and respondents indicated their agreement/disagreement with each of the statements. The police and public were found to share a ‘common sense’ memory belief system (CSMBS) in which memories were like videos/photographs, and accuracy was determined by the number of details recalled and also by their vividness. In direct contrast the scientific memory belief system, held by memory researchers, largely based on scientific evidence, was the opposite of the CSMBS and memories were judged to be fragmentary, number of details and their nature did not predict accuracy, and memories and their details could be in error and even false. The problematic nature of the CSBMS, which is pervasive in society, in raising the probability of flawed judgments of memory evidence is considered and, by way of illustration, applied to the (very high) attrition rate in complaints of rape.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Memory beliefs [running head]
Publication Title: International Journal of Evidence & Proof
Creators: Akhtar, S., Justice, L.V., Knott, L., Kibowski, F. and Conway, M.A.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date: 1 July 2018
Volume: 22
Number: 3
ISSN: 1365-7127
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 06 Jul 2018 13:09
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2018 13:50

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