Eyewitness Identification

  • Lenore E. WalkerEmail author
  • David Shapiro
  • Stephanie Akl


In the minds of most laypersons, an eyewitness reporting that they have observed a crime takes place and they can identify the perpetrator is one of the more resounding pieces of evidence against a criminal defendant. However, research suggests there are numerous important factors to consider when assessing the reliability of eyewitness testimony. These can include estimator variables, or those that influence reconstructive memory because of the individual’s tendency to estimate the scene from memory, as well as system variables, which refer to the type of police procedures used that can negatively impact on the reliability of a witness’ memory. Although the study of memory is complex, a strong understanding of memory and how we encode, store, and retrieve memories is important for the forensic psychologist. In many cases involving eyewitness testimony, a forensic psychologist may serve in the role of consultant or as an expert witness who can provide education on memory and eyewitness testimony to the triers of fact.


Eyewitness identification Memory Cognitive memory Emotional memory Testimony 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lenore E. Walker
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Shapiro
    • 2
  • Stephanie Akl
    • 3
  1. 1.Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  3. 3.Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA

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