Remembering Disputed Sexual Encounters: A New Frontier for Witness Memory Research

42 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2017  

Deborah Davis

University of Nevada, Reno

Elizabeth F. Loftus

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior; University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

This paper reviews sources of distortion in memory for sexual encounters, particularly those between intoxicated participants. We review factors leading to initial misinterpretations of sexual consent including the indirect nature of sexual consent communications, misleading cultural sexual scripts, misinterpretation of passivity, and others. In this context, we consider the way in which alcohol can both contribute to initial misunderstanding and promote specific distortions in memory over time. Finally, we discuss additional influences on memory, including motivations related to self-esteem, self-concept maintenance, or litigation, and the effects of social influence from sources such as friends, forensic interviewers or therapists.

Suggested Citation

Davis, Deborah and Loftus, Elizabeth F., Remembering Disputed Sexual Encounters: A New Frontier for Witness Memory Research (2015). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 105, No. 4, 2015; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2017-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2906490

Deborah Davis

University of Nevada, Reno ( email )

Reno, NV 89557
United States

Elizabeth F. Loftus (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

University of California, Irvine School of Law

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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