Weakening the “illusion of memory knowledge” : a potential method for improving jurors' evaluation of eyewitness evidence.

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Many efforts have been made to educate jurors about factors that influence the reliability of eyewitness memory. However, most of them fail to improve jurors’ sensitivity to the quality of a particular memory and instead only induce skepticism of all eyewitness evidence. One potential method for improving a prospective juror’s understanding of memory may be to ask them to explain a concept before providing expert information. By forcing jurors to acknowledge the limitations of their knowledge about memory, they may be more attentive to new, more accurate information. Over three experiments, I assessed whether explanations lead to a reassessment of memory knowledge (Experiment 1), explored whether reassessing one’s understanding leads to improved metacognition and learning (Experiment 2), and investigated the applicability of this task to the courtroom (Experiment 3). The findings from this project provide initial evidence that engaging in explanations may be a low-cost method for improving jurors’ evaluation of eyewitness evidence.

Eyewitness. Learning.