Gone But Not Forgotten
- Apr 12, 2006
- Reaction score
I certainly could not give a reliable description in most cases.Human memory and descriptive powers are poor. Try, for example, to remember the face of the cashier who last served you at a supermarket. Now try to describe her to me in such detail that I could prepare a worthwhile sketch of her.
While despite having poor recollection and lacking time to spot enough details, witnesses often give enough inifrmation to allow for precise sketches is not explained by such simplistic assertions as «witnesses are unreliable». Many psychological factors are at work : the desire to please an authority figure (including the inability to resist pressure from an investigator who's asking for results), the fear to bother the same figure ; and, what I would call the 'performance pressure', the shame to admit that one is not up to the task required of them ; or, if you prefer, to admit that one is a poor observer or has a poor memory, the fear to look like an idiot or merely useless for being unable to help.
Indeed, the failure to recognize that they can not help often lead people to try to do too well, sometimes with serious consequences