Tag Archives: eyewitnesses

January 12, 2016

Fixing the Eyewitness Problem — How a travesty led to criminal-justice innovation in Texas

Psychologists have long recognized that human memory is highly fallible. Hugo Münsterberg taught in one of the first American psychology departments, at Harvard. In a 1908 book called “On the Witness Stand,” he argued that, because people could not know when their memories had deceived them, the legal system’s safeguards against lying—oaths, penalties for perjury, and so on—were ineffective. He expected that teachers, doctors, and politicians would all be eager to reform their fields. “The lawyer alone is obdurate,” Münsterberg wrote.

It’s still early 2016, but this article may be one of the best pieces of journalism I’ll read all year. Exceptional.