Memory processes in elderly eyewitnesses: What we know and what we don't know

Authors

  • Brian H. Bornstein Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. 236 Audubon Hall, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge LA 70803
    • 236 Audubon Hall, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge LA 70803
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Abstract

Research is reviewed on the memory abilities of elderly eyewitnesses. Two major issues are addressed: First, how credible are elderly witnesses? Second, how accurate are they? Despite negative stereotypes regarding elderly eyewitnesses, they do not necessarily lack credibility at trial. In terms of their memory performance, older witnesses are as accurate as young adults in many respects, but they are particularly vulnerable to misleading information that is presented after the witnessed event. Furthermore, their performance varies depending on the type of information that is sought and the manner in which their memory is assessed. Recommendations are made for improving the reliability of testimony that is offered by elderly eyewitnesses.

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