On TV cop shows, victims almost always identify the perpetrators correctly, but real life doesn’t work that way: DNA testing has revealed that witnesses often pick out the wrong person, while detectives, in the background, keep telling the person to "take your time." But new studies show that these witnesses should go with their snap judgments instead.

For instance, Dallas has locked away so many prisoners who are now being exonerated with new DNA testing, they have a special police unit working on this problem. Some of these innocent men have been in prison for decades.

Researchers think this misidentification has to do with PRESSURE–witnesses feel under pressure to identify someone as the guilty party, so they finally make a choice (even if they have a niggling feeling that the person they’ve picked didn’t do it).

Psychologist Neil Brewer thinks he’s solved this problem: Instead of simply pointing out the perpetrator, he asks the witness how CONFIDENT they feel about their identification. And they have to make up their minds quickly, because he’s found that their first impulse is most often the correct one–it’s when victims have too much time to mull over their decision that they tend to make mistakes (even though one might think this would be just the opposite).

Come meet all our law-abiding Dreamland hosts IN PERSON (and hoist a beer with Jim Marrs–NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to both these shows, and they get 10% off ticket prices too!) at our annual Dreamland Festival. Don’t drag your feet on this: We only have 10 seats left!

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