Correcting myths about stress and memory: a commentary on Pezdek and Reisberg, 2022

Carey Marr, Henry Otgaar, Conny W. E. M. Quaedflieg, Melanie Sauerland, Lorraine Hope

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Abstract

The question of how acute stress might affect memory has applied value because witnesses, victims, and perpetrators often report experiencing stress or associated emotions (e.g., fear) during a crime. They might also experience acute stress when they are interviewed by the police. It is therefore important that legal professionals and memory scientists, particularly those acting as expert witnesses, can rely on evidence-based knowledge concerning the acute effects of stress on memory.1 Pezdek and Reisberg (2022) recently published an article aimed at debunking six psychological myths about evidence in the legal system. In their article, they argued that the idea that high stress improves the accuracy of memory is a myth (Myth #2). We take issue with this assertion on the basis that such a conclusion is not empirically warranted and does not accurately reflect the current state of research. In this commentary, we lend some critical nuance regarding the complex stress-memory relationship in eyewitness contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1078021
Number of pages3
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • acute stress
  • eyewitness memory
  • psychological myths
  • emotional memory
  • forensic settings

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