How Observant are other people?

In the last exercise you may have forgotten some details, and remembered other things incorrectly. As you experienced, your own memory can sometimes fool you. But what about other people's memories? Try out this exercise to see how witnesses to the same scence remember different details. Think about how useful an individual's testimony can be. Does it help to have several witnesses to a scene?


  1. Choose several people to be observers and choose two people to be investigators.
  2. Allow the observers to look at the picture for 30 seconds. The investigators should not look at the picture.
  3. After 30 seconds, the investigators should begin questioning the observers. Each Investigator should question each observer. Then, the Investigators should attempt to reconstruct the scene based on the "eyewitness testimony".

Questions for Investigators:

Investigators can use these questions to guide their inquiry, but may also think of their own questions.
  1. How many people were involved in the scene?
  2. What can you tell about each individual's hairstyle, gender, approximate age, etc.
  3. Was there anything unusual going on?
Compare the comments that the observers made. How many details were mentioned? Did some statements conflict with other statements? In what way? Why?
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