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What Psychologists Know and Believe about Memory: A Survey of Practitioners


Svein Magnussen, Center for the Study of Human Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Box 1094 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway.



We surveyed 858 licensed psychologists, members of the Norwegian Psychological Association, about their knowledge and beliefs about human memory. The results were compared to the results of parallel surveys of legal professionals and lay persons, and evaluated in the light of the results of current memory science. The results indicate that psychologists are not memory experts qua psychologists; as a group, psychologists do not score above the level of knowledge of lay persons or trial judges on issues of eyewitness memory, and a substantial minority of the sample of respondents harbours scientifically unproven ideas of memory. The implications of these findings for psychological practice, with special reference to the court room, are briefly discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.