New, Free Guide On Human Factors Affecting Perception & Memory

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A succinct guide to the human factors that can affect an officer’s memory after a shooting or other use-of-force crisis has been posted for free access online by Lexipol, the law enforcement policy and risk-management organization.

Click here to download a copy.

The four-page “Explainer Document,” written by two Force Science graduates, is a handy reference for investigators, trainers, administrators, and field officers, as well as for PIOs and others responsible for informing the media and community members about controversial incidents that often desperately need illumination and clarification.

The guide, called “Perception, Recall & Use of Force Incidents,” explains in layman’s language a variety of key cognitive concepts familiar to Force Science followers, including attentional load, inattentional blindness, narrowed focus, auditory exclusion, and other phenomena that can negatively impact an officer’s “ability to process, store, and subsequently recall information.”

The document includes a link to the famous “Invisible Gorilla” video, which shows how easily perception and memory can be innocently distorted from reality.

Understanding the basic concepts described will help ensure better UOF investigations, explain discrepancies between officer accounts and video recordings, and “better communicate to the media and public the dynamic factors that affect officer actions,” Lexipol says.

The authors are Dpty. Chief Jason Helfer, an Advanced Force Science Specialist, and former Chief Mike Ranalli, a certified Force Science Analyst.

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