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The 'Common Sense' Memory Belief System and Its Implications

Akhtar, S., Justice, L., Knott, L. ORCID: 0000-0003-2897-3245, Kibowski, F. and Conway, M. A. (2018). The 'Common Sense' Memory Belief System and Its Implications. The International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 22(3), pp. 289-304. doi: 10.1177/1365712718784045

Abstract

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 and 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 CSMBS, 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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Akhtar, S., Justice, L., Knott, L. , Kibowski, F. and Conway, M. A. (2018). The 'Common Sense' Memory Belief System and Its Implications. The International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 22(3), pp. 289-304. doi:10.1177/1365712718784045. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20988
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