Geoffrey Loftus latest research reads more like a murder mystery than a scientific paper.
The University of Washington psychologists new study opens with a savage beating and murder on the streets of Fairbanks, Alaska. It features cameo appearances by Julia Roberts and other celebrities. It ends with the conviction of two men based on the eyewitness identification of the defendants from a distance of 450 feet. And, in a post-script, an appeals court orders a new trial based in part on "scientific trials" and conversations conducted by jurors outside the courthouse, without the judges knowledge. In between, the limits of the human visual system are explored.
Loftus, who testified as an expert witness in the case, examines why it is easier to identify someone close up rather than at a distance in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
Joel Schwarz | EurekAlert!
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