Elizabeth Brimacombe studies memory. Specifically, the malleability and persuadability of memory, and how someone’s perception of a memory can change under the influence of others.
In a talk at TEDxVictoria, the researcher explores how social influence affects eyewitness testimony, from the projected confidence or distrust of a questioner to the specific wording of a question. “Although [memory] can feel very stable and reliable to us, there can actually be quite a lot of instability in what we record in our mind’s eye,” Brimacombe says. “Despite, a witness’s best effort to bring forward [an] accurate picture … there are distorting influences that can creep in and bias what a witness brings to mind. Those profound changes can be quite incredible, and sometimes the most subtle influences can be the most powerful.”
Insights from the TEDx office: Why we like this talk
Brimacombe looks at a complex issue through the lens of extensive research, using data pulled from this research to present a compelling narrative exploring issues surrounding eyewitness testing. She uses metaphor, story and concrete examples to help the audience connect with the concepts explored, all while being engaging and accessible.