Punishing the Crime of Forgetting

Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Vol.9, 2020

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2020-30

Posted: 10 Apr 2020

See all articles by Emily V. Shaw

Emily V. Shaw

University of California, Irvine, School of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, Students

Elizabeth F. Loftus

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

Date Written: April 9, 2020

Abstract

Although many people think that forgetting is a problemin life, and it often is, they would do well to appreciate thebenefits of forgetting. Fawcett and Hulbert (2020) have mar-shaled a powerful argument for the adaptive value of forgetting,highlighting the many ways that forgetting is both a commonand essential feature of cognition. Their arguments have impli-cations for memory as it plays out in real life, but here wefocus on implications in the legal realm. We make two majorpoints. First, within the legal system, forgetting on the partof criminal defendants can transcend mere embarrassment orinconvenience, and can actually implicate defendants in crimi-nal acts. Second, forgetting in relation to trauma and victimhoodcan be complicated and controversial, with some victims pre-ferring to retain their painful memories, even at a personalcost.

Suggested Citation

Shaw, Emily and Loftus, Elizabeth F., Punishing the Crime of Forgetting (April 9, 2020). Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Vol.9, 2020; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2020-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3572403

Emily Shaw (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine, School of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, Students ( email )

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

Elizabeth F. Loftus

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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