Join Faye Skelton at 8.20pm, Monday 14th August and at 1.50pm, Thursday 17th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss whether or not we can rely on eyewitness testimony in criminal cases.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a lecturer in cognitive psychology at Edinburgh Napier University with a particular interest in cognition applied to forensic settings. With a background in face recognition, I’m predominantly interested in identification of offenders and police facial composites.
How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?
My research is focused on face recognition and construction of police facial composites, so it directly feeds in to Fitness to Witness, which will explore factors affecting our memory for faces and events, and what happens when it goes wrong.
Why is the topic ‘dangerous’ ?
Witnesses to, and victims of, crime are often extremely confident in their identification of an offender. This show will challenge people’s perceptions of the accuracy of their memory and hopefully persuade them that even their very clear and confidently recalled memories are likely to contain inaccuracies. For this reason we cannot have confidence in the reliability of witness testimony.
Why is the topic important to you?
The majority of miscarriages of justice involve mistaken eyewitness evidence, and jurors are largely unaware of factors that can affect a witness’ memory of an event and perpetrator(s). It’s incredibly important to increase awareness so that fewer innocent people are wrongfully convicted.
Describe your show in 3 words
Remembering is hard
Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?
I hope that everybody who attends will learn something new. Some people might be particularly interested in forensic psychology, while others might want to know more about face recognition and those who perform very well (so-called ‘Super-Recognisers’) or very poorly. I’d like people to learn about the limitations of memory generally, and why it’s so difficult to establish truth.
Get your tickets here!: