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Suggestion and Memory

On 1 August 1984, Ronald Cotton was arrested for sexual assault and was convicted in January 1985 on two counts of rape and one count of burglary based upon the eyewitness testimony of the victim, Jennifer Thompson. He was sentenced to life plus 54 years; however, in 1994, Cotton was exonerated based upon subsequent DNA testing that demonstrated that Cotton's DNA was not that of the assailant.

1) What is the most important information one can learned about memory when reviewing this particular case of Ronald Cotton and his accuser?

2) What was the most interesting thing involving memory?

3) Why is it that an eyewitness is especially likely to make mistaken identification when the suspect's ethnicity differs from their own?

4) Do you think that happen in this case that it was due to (mistaken identification)? Why or why not

5) In a program of research nearly four decades Elizabeth Loftus and her colleagues have shown that memories are influence by the way in which questions are put to eyewitness and suggestive comments made during an interrogation or interview.

How does the research done by Elizabeth Loftus name the Power of Suggestion may have affected Jennifer Thompson testimony?

Use scholarly sources to support your answers. Cite your sources using APA format.

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Solution Preview

1) One of the most interesting things that can be learned about memory when reviewing this case, is the fact that memory can be heavily influenced by the suggestion of law-enforcement, prosecutors, and other individuals that are in authority. In addition, influences, such as repeatedly placing the pictures of particular suspects on each and every page of a document, containing pictures of various aspects, can also heavily influence an individual's memory.

2) The most interesting thing involving memory in this case, is the fact that the more that an individual is told what they should actually remember, the more an individual's memory is shaped by these outside influences. It was amazing how the power of suggestion is ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes the detrimental impact that suggestion can have on memory.