Eyewitness Memory Expert Available to Discuss Police Use of Body Cameras

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Claremont Graduate University Psychology professor Kathy Pezdek says the investigative process fails when police are allowed to view video before giving statements from memory.

An officer’s memory of what happened will be suggestively influenced by viewing video footage

Cognitive psychology Professor Kathy Pezdek, an expert in eyewitness memory and identification, is available to comment on how police use of body cameras can influence criminal investigations.

The Inspector General for the NYPD recently recommended that police officers be prevented from viewing recorded footage before giving a statement to investigators.

Pezdek says this is a sound recommendation. The investigative process fails when police are allowed to view video before giving statements from memory.

"We know from cognitive science research that memory is vulnerable to the suggestive influence of what is called ‘post-event information,” she said. “An officer’s memory of what happened will be suggestively influenced by viewing video footage. And, it is important to know that such distortions in memory are both permanent, and they occur without conscious awareness.”

Pezdek frequently serves as an expert witness in the area of eyewitness identification and has testified on this topic in federal, state and superior court cases. Her extensive research has focused on a range of topics related to law and psychology that apply to both adults and children. These topics include face memory, suggestibility of memory, lineup techniques, and detecting deception.

Claremont Graduate University has a broadcast studio equipped with VideoLink ReadyCam technology, allowing the media quick, easy access to Pezdek and other on-campus experts.

Contact: University Communications. (909) 621-8396.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is the graduate university of the Claremont Colleges. Our five academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 24 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

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