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Memory development: implications for adults recalling childhood experiences in the courtroom

Abstract

Adults frequently provide compelling, detailed accounts of early childhood experiences in the courtroom. Judges and jurors are asked to decide guilt or innocence based solely on these decades-old memories using 'common sense' notions about memory. However, these notions are not in agreement with findings from neuroscientific and behavioural studies of memory development. Without expert guidance, judges and jurors may have difficulty in properly adjudicating the weight of memory evidence in cases involving adult recollections of childhood experiences.

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Figure 1: Distribution of adults' memories of early childhood experiences.
Figure 2: Semantic representations in younger and older children.

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Howe, M. Memory development: implications for adults recalling childhood experiences in the courtroom. Nat Rev Neurosci 14, 869–876 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3627

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