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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Witnessing a Serious Event

When a witness sees a serious event such as a crime or traffic accident and then must recall it later, three major stages can be identified: the acquisition state, the retention stage, and the retrieval stage. In the acquisition stage, there are numerous factors that will affect the accuracy of the initial perception. Some of these factors, such as the amount of time the witness had to look at whatever is going to be remembered, are inherent in the situation itself. Other factors, such as the amount of stress a witness is experiencing, are inherent in the witness. Both event factors and witness factors can dramatically affect a witness's ability to perceive accurately.

Elizabeth Loftus, Eyewitness Testimony, 1979 

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