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Aussie scientists launch new app to help victims and witnesses keep their memory

Australian cognitive scientists have today launched an app to help victims and witnesses record more accurate statements.

The iWitnessed app allows users to write or record their witness statement, and then prompts the witness for further information to help boost the value of the statements.

Each statement is then time- and location-stamped.

Professor Dr Helen Paterson, from the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology, said the app was to overcome our memories failing us.

“(Memory) decays far more rapidly than you think … and it’s vulnerable to distortion,” she said.

“It can be used for repeated events as well.

“Say you have a bad experience with a boss at work who does something and you think ‘Oh, that wasn’t good but I’m not ready to go to HR’ … well, this way you can record it, you have it on your phone, and if something else happens you can keep a record.

“And then when you do decide ‘OK this is bad enough, I’ve got to do something about it’, you’ve got a good log of what happened and when.”

Accounts aren’t necessarily admissible to court, but can be used to refresh a witness’s memory.

“It doesn’t make it true, but it’s more likely to make a complete recollection of events.”

Click PLAY to hear Ross and John chat with the professor