The answer is "yes and no," according to Dr. Caitlin Bowman.
This work carries important implications for the admissibility of eyewitness testimony in court.
Caitlin Bowman is a cognitive neuroscientist studying memory and aging. She received her Ph.D. in 2015 and currently works as a postdoc in Dr. Dasa Zeithamova's Brain and Memory Lab at the University of Oregon.
In this short clip, she asks (and answers) the question: is memory photographic?
This sound bite was recorded at the end of a guest lecture Dr. Bowman delivered to my Psychology and Law class in January 2020. Her insight on how memories are encoded, stored, and retrieved (and on when and how these processes break down, particularly in older adults) helps us better understand the fallibility of eyewitness testimony in court.
Faulty eyewitness identifications are involved in approximately 3/4 of all cases in which an individual was wrongly convicted and later released based on prevailing DNA evidence (Wells, 2006). This makes mistaken eyewitness identification the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the US (Innocence Project, 2013).