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Psychology is known as the science of behavior and mental process. In Greek psychology

has been define as a study that will talk about the soul where, the psyche and logos is

both an academic and applied discipline that involving the scientific study of mental

process and behavior. In other terms, psychologies also know as a study of the thought

processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interaction with the

environment. Psychologists study processes such as perception, cognition, emotion and

motivations, personality, abnormal behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Its also

refers to the application of knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including

issues related to daily life, such as family, education, work, and the treatment of mental

health problem.

Memory of human was a part of the psychology study, Memory refers to the process that

are used acquire, store, retain, and letter retrieve information. There are three major

process involve in memory; encoding, storage and retrieval. In order to form new

memories, information must be changed to usable form, which occurs through the

process know as encoding. Once information has been successfully encoded, it must be

stored in memory for later use. Much of this stored memory lies outside of our awareness

most of the time, except when we actually need to use it. The retrieval process allows us

to bring stored memories into conscious awareness. The interest of psychologists in how

human memory works and how human brains can be improve have give the

psychologists an inspirations to develop theories of memory using the computer as a

model. These information processing theories of memory are just based on similarity of

human brain operation and the computer. According to the stage theory of memory based

on Atkinson & Shiffrin.1968; Baddeley, 1999, assume that humans have a three-stage

memory that meets our need to store information for different lengths of time. The three

stages are known as the sensory register, short-term memory, and long-term memory.

Sensory Register

The first stage of memory was the sensory register, defined as an exact image of each

sensory experience is held briefly until it can be processed (Psychology an introduction,

Benjamin B. Lahey, Ninth Edition). In this stage the sensory memory retains an exact

copy of what it’s seen and or heard. The information that had been stored in this stage is

not last long where it only can lasts for a few seconds.

“The copy of each sensory experience in the sensory registers long enough to locate and

focus on relevant bits of information and transfer them into the next stage of memory. For

visual information, this “snapshot” fades very quickly, probably lasting about one-quarter

of a second in most case. For auditory information, a vivid image of what we hear is

retained for about the same length of time, one-quarter of a second (Cowan, 1987).”

Short-term Memory (STM)

Second stage was short-terms memory which five to nine bits of information can be

stored for brief periods of time (Psychology an introduction, Benjamin B. Lahey, Ninth

Edition). The objective in this stage was to encode sensory register information into a
form suitable for storage in long-term memory and also known as working memory,

where the information we are currently aware of or thinking about. In Freudian

psychology, this memory would be referred to as the conscious mind. Paying attention to

sensory memories generates the information in short-term memory. Most of the

information stored in working memory will be stored for approximately 20 to 30 seconds.

While many of our short-term memories are quickly forgotten, attending to this

information allows it to continue on the next stage, long-term memory.

Once the information is transferred into the short-term memory or STM, a variety of

control processes may be applied; rehearsal and chunking are two important examples of

these control processes. Rehearsal was the mental repetition of information to retain

longer in short-term memory. This process was the way to refresh information in short-

term memory, where the memory can be held in STM for relatively long period of time if

we keep rehearsed the information. Chunking was a unit of memory, where overcoming

short-terms memories that can be remembered are five to nine information. In this

process, it’s difficult to us to remembering data with more than nine, this because the

STM desktop capacity are limited.

Long-term memory

Long-term memory refers to the continuing storage of information. In Freudian

psychology, long-term memory would be call the preconscious and unconscious. This

information is largely outside of our awareness, but can be called into working memory

to be used. Some of this information is fairly easy to recall, while other memories are
much more difficult to access. In long-term memory, Tulving (1972, 2000) has proposed

the existence of three kinds of long-term memory storage, which have different

properties, and based on different brain mechanisms. The three long-term memory

storage are; procedural memory, semantic memory and episodic memory.

Procedural memory is used to storage the memory of movement and skills, such as

writing, cook or other movement and skills that related to our daily life. Semantic

memory is memory for meaning without reference to the time and place of learning, and

episodic memory refers to memory for specific experience that can be define in terms of

time and space.

Mistaken Identity Eyewitness Testimony

In this case, a major problem for the defense attorney is that the witnesses all viewed the

criminal in the daylight and he was wearing no disguise or hat. Karl Vance's girlfriend

lived in the housing project in which Tyrone lived. In fact, she was Tyrone's next door

neighbor. It is possible that Tyrone was familiar to Karl because they had seen each other

in the hallways of the apartment complex. Thus, when Karl Vance saw the picture of

Tyrone in the lineup it is possible that he misattributed the familiarity he felt for the

picture to the crime scene rather than accurately attributing it to seeing Tyrone around the

apartment complex.

At the time the police was taking evidence from the witness, they having a misleading

questioning, by doing the photo lineup using the standard producer by having a similarity
on the photos to make sure the defendant are not of the line. The fact that during the

photo lineup all the photos had a person with a mole was a subtle cue to the witnesses

that the suspect the police had in mind had a mole. In the live lineup, only Tyrone had a

mole and the witnesses picked him out as the criminal. The suggestion that the accused

had a mole in the photo lineup may have decreased the accuracy at the time of the live


In this case, Tyrone stood out because he was the only one with a mole at the live lineup.

He may also have stood out because he was the only one with a stutter when asked to

speak during the lineup.

. This is similar to the findings of other studies on memory that demonstrate people use

varying criteria to determine whether they remember something depending on the

circumstances of the recall task.

In a situation where it is called to the witness's attention that the actual perpetrator may

not be there, eyewitnesses are likely to adopt a more stringent criterion and to recognize

that the person in the lineup who most closely matches the suspect may not actually be

the suspect. In the example in the case study, however, the police gave cues that indicated

they believed the right person was in custody. For example, the investigator initially said

that "we can't get enough people to ensure a fair lineup to the person in custody" and at

the second lineup the investigator warned the victims that they might have an emotional

response upon seeing the assailant again.


1. Psychology An Introduction, Benjamin B. Lahey, Ninth Edition, pp235-240.

2. Psychology – wikipedia, 3 November

3. The Colombia Encyclopedia, sixth edition 2007.

4. Sigmund Freud, 2006 C. George Boeree,

5. Memory, the Three Memory Storage System.

6. A case of mistaken identity? The psychology,

A Case of Mistaken Identity?

The Psychology of Eyewitness Memory
Karen Chambers
Department of Psychology
Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN

In the past few months there have been a series of attacks on white and Asian women in a
local neighborhood, and the police have been under pressure to solve the cases. You are
the defense attorney representing Tyrone Briggs, who has been charged with aggravated
assault in the crimes.

Tyrone is a 19-year-old high school basketball star who, at the time of the crimes, was
living at 412 Jervay Place, the local housing project. Tyrone is 6'1" tall, has long hair
processed in Jeri curls, a broad flat nose, a large mole on his lip, and a severe stutter. The
general description given by the witnesses (most of whom were the victims of the
assaults) at the time of the attacks was that the attacker was in his early 20's, light
skinned, between 170 and 200 pounds with a short afro and possibly a receding hairline.
None of the victims mentioned a mole or a stutter at the time of the attacks.

You have recently read a defense attorney newsletter that outlines some of the problems
with eyewitness identification and have looked at the National Institute of Justice's
guidelines for law enforcement commissioned by the U.S. Attorney General. Based on
your reading, you believe that Tyrone may be a victim of mistaken identification.
However, the five victims and an African American man who briefly held the assailant at
gunpoint have all identified Tyrone as the man who committed the crimes. You need to
decide whether to hire an expert in eyewitness memory to testify at the trial. Because it
costs money to hire the expert, you want to be reasonably certain that the expert witness
will indeed cast doubt on the veracity of the victims' testimony.

The first witness was a Seattle University pre-med student who was taking a run around
the campus track during the afternoon when she was attacked. As she was running, she
noticed a man standing near the public restrooms. As she neared him, he called out to her,
saying he had a question. As she got closer to him, he suddenly lunged at her with a
serrated knife and began dragging her toward the restroom. She wriggled out of her
sweatshirt and ran across the field toward the campus buildings while he yelled after her,
"I'm going to get you!"

The second witness, an attorney, was attacked at 8:00 a.m. as she was walking toward the
courthouse. A man jumped out of "nowhere," knocked her to the ground, and said
repeatedly, "Give me your money. I'm going to stab you." He held a serrated knife in his
hand. She fought back and he ran off, taking her purse and gym bag with him.
The third witness, a social worker, was attacked when she parked near the housing
project on her way to the hospital. A man came around the corner and walking quickly
pulled out a small steak knife and said, "Your purse or your money." She started
screaming and the man ran away. The encounter lasted about half a minute and was the
shortest attack.

The fourth witness, another social worker, was walking to work at the hospital when a
man jumped out of the bushes and grabbed her. In a low conversational tone of voice he
said, "I'm going to stab you in the head. Give me your money." She offered him the five
dollars that she had. He said it was not enough and began putting his hand up her skirt.
She started screaming, kicking, and scratching, and managed to get away. He ran off in
the opposite direction.

The fifth witness, an X-ray technician, was walking to work at the hospital when she saw
a man standing in the darkened entrance to an alleyway. She kept walking. Seconds later
she was lying on the ground dazed. The assailant had hit her in the back of the head with
a fence post. He then proceeded to punch her several times in the face and then dragged
her into a vacant apartment in Jervay Place, where he tore off her clothes and attempted
to rape her. Another man, Karl Vance, opened the door to the vacant apartment shouting,
"Hold it. I have a gun!" Mr. Vance then yelled to his girlfriend, who lived at 410 Jervay
Place, to call the cops. The attacker bolted through the back door.

Within two months of the first attack and a month after the last attack the police had
arrested Tyrone. The same day Tyrone was arrested, Karl Vance picked Tyrone's picture
out of a series of 21 photos and indicated that he was absolutely positive of his
identification. The next day the police obtained a search warrant and searched Tyrone's
home. They were unable to find any stolen property, knives, or distinctive clothing. Later
that day, the police brought four of the victims down to the precinct to view a lineup. The
police informed the women that it was to be expected that they might have an emotional
response to seeing their attacker again; however, the women were assured that the
attacker could not see them.

After an hour, the police informed the women that they could not get enough people
together to ensure that the person in custody would have a fair lineup so they would have
to do a photo lineup instead. Because Tyrone had a prominent mole on his lip, the police
followed standard procedure and made sure that all of the photos had a similar mole so
that Tyrone would not stand out. All four of the victims looked at the photo lineup and
selected Tyrone's picture. However, they indicated that they were uncertain and chose the
person who looked most like their attacker. The fifth victim selected Tyrone from the
same photo lineup a week later.

One week later the victims were brought back in for a live lineup. Tyrone was in the
lineup with six other African American men who looked similar to him. The officer who
conducted the lineup did not conceal Tyrone's mole or ensure everyone had a similar
feature. The officer who conducted the lineup had members of the lineup repeat phrases
that were said at the time of the crimes. One of the victims noted in her written statement
that the man in the lineup stuttered and her attacker did not. Several others noted that he
seemed "nervous" because of the stutter. However, all of the victims as well as Karl
Vance selected Tyrone.