Paul Kix

Paul Kix

May 5, 2016

“Psychologists have long recognized that human memory is highly fallible. Hugo Münsterberg taught in one of the first American psychology departments, at Harvard. In a 1908 book called ‘On the Witness Stand,’ he argued that, because people could not know when their memories had deceived them, the legal system’s safeguards against lying – oaths, penalties for perjury, and so on – were ineffective.

“He expected that teachers, doctors, and politicians would all be eager to reform their fields. ‘The lawyer alone is obdurate,’ Münsterberg wrote.”

– From “Recognition: How a travesty led to criminal-justice innovation in Texas” by Paul Kix in the New Yorker (Jan. 18)

Dr. Munsterberg saw clearly the stubbornness of lawyers, even if he may have overestimated the open-mindedness of those other callings.