Wait, my book did psychology ideas correctly? REALLY?

As I was reading through Let the Right One In today, there was a particular passage regarding eyewitnesses to a crime and their conversation with the police.  Quoted as follows:

“Yes, but I thought I’d wait until you got down here.  Apparently he’s not violent.” Holmberg turned kindly to the men and said, “We’ll be in touch.  The best thing you can do now is go home.  Oh, and one more thing.  I understand this may not be easy but try not to discuss this among yourselves.”

The man without pants on half-smiled, nodding in agreement.

“Someone could overhear us, you mean.”

“No, but you could start to imagine that you have seen something that you didn’t really see, only because someone else did.”

“Not me.  I saw what I saw and it was the most hellish…”

“Believe me.  It happens to the best of us.  And now you’ll have to excuse us.  Thank you for your help.”

Wait, did I see… Did I see the author write regarding the fallibility of eyewitness testimony?  The subject I’ve had to study over the course of the last few weeks for my Psych Law and Justice class?  AND DO IT CORRECTLY?  Yes, eyewitnesses speaking with one another after a crime occurs does taint testimony and people begin to believe that they saw things due to their conversations with others.  At least, that’s a really bare-bones version of what’s going on.  If you’re not aware, when it comes to juries and many laypersons, most do not realize that eyewitness testimony is not as strong as one would believe.  This is just one of the many reasons.  And it being pointed out by the author made me practically do a happy dance on my bed.

And turns me into Colbert, too, it seems.

Sorry for my Psychology major excitement, but it’s nice to see things done correctly in novels~

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5 thoughts on “Wait, my book did psychology ideas correctly? REALLY?

  1. That’s so funny, as in my most recent psychology class (this past Thursday) we *just* talked about the topic of eyewitness testimony, how it’s unreliable, and how people can create false memories due to input from other people.

    I blame movies and TV for making eyewitness testimony seem irrefutable. I mean, human memory is one of the most malleable and untrustworthy things but I guess it creates better drama for film to have a case hinging on what one person saw.

    • Unfortunately, most jurors see eyewitness testimony as one of the strongest sources of evidence, especially if the witness shows a lot of confidence. It is documented to have gotten innocent people behind bars, and I wish more people realized how human memory works and things such as suggestive questioning can taint it. :/

      And yeah, I had a Psych Law and Justice test this week that covered the subject in addition to an assignment regarding child eyewitness testimony for my Developmental Psychology class. So it was really fresh in my mind, haha.

      • I almost want to say we shouldn’t even have jurors if the lawyers are the ones who decide who stays and who goes. It’s so broken the way the system works. I’m with you, I wish more people on juries had some knowledge of psychology or just how to use common sense rather than relying on TV. But those people get vetoed pretty quickly, thus enduring the broken jury system.

      • Yeah… It’s really unfortunate and frustrating. The law system isn’t as much about finding justice as it is a boxing match with each side seeing it as a game. Ugh.

        We have studied some case laws regarding the judge giving jury instruction about eyewitness testimony as well as expert witnesses coming in and explaining the science behind it, but this really doesn’t happen as often as it should. It makes me sad. :<

      • That should happen EVERY TIME! I mean, it can’t take *that* long and even if it takes an hour or two, what’s that in comparison to someone being wrongfully imprisoned for years?

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