Reconstructive Memory Processes in Eyewitness Testimony

  • Elizabeth F. Loftus
Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 2)


During the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973, John Dean testified regarding a meeting with Herbert Kalmbach. He claimed that he had met Kalmbach in the coffee shop of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and that they had both gone directly upstairs to Kalmbach’s room. Dean had no motive to lie. Yet he was pressed repeatedly in a way that suggested he might be lying. Each time, Dean vehemently reaffirmed his testimony: the meeting had taken place, it began in the Mayflower Hotel coffee shop and it ended in Kalmbach’s room in the same hotel. At one point, one of Dean’s questioners revealed that the register of the Mayflower Hotel did not show Kalmbach to have been registered at the time in question. Dean still confidently stuck to his story and explained the apparent inconsistency by suggesting that Kalmbach might have been using a false name. Eventually, the difficulty was cleared up: it was pointed out that the Statler Hilton Hotel in Washington has a coffee shop called the Mayflower Doughnut Coffee Shop. Kalmbach had been registered there at the time in question.


Retention Interval Recognition Test Confidence Rating Stop Sign Coffee Shop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth F. Loftus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, NI-25University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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