Imagine that, upon arriving home one day, you spot someone trying to break into your house. When you shout, the thief suddenly flees. Being the vigilante type, you decide to pursue him, racing down the street and climbing over a fence. Unfortunately, the thief gets away, but a few hours later, police call you to report they’ve apprehended someone nearby on suspicion of a similar crime. Called into the station, you’re asked to identify the criminal from a lineup.
Can you do it? A new study published in Psychological Science suggests that, no matter how sharp you think your memory is, you might not do as well as you think.
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth in Canada and elsewhere put Winnipeg police officers through a battery of experiments to determine just how well they were able to remember events while under duress. The results were startling: Just 60 seconds of intense physical exertion—such as running, combat, wrestling or other activities—was enough to severely impair their ability to recall faces, information and details about the environment.
Read the whole story: Smithsonian