New research out of the University of Portsmouth has shown that strenuous exercise in threatening situations, lasting for as little as 60 seconds, has a serious detrimental impact on memory. And there you thought exercise was good for you.
Apparently the extreme physical exertion, such as that induced by chasing a fleeing perp, causes a reduction in brainpower and can fudge the memories of police officers, including the who, what and whys crucial to the crime. Lorraine Hope, the lead author of the study said:
"As exhaustion takes over, cognitive resources tend to diminish. The ability to fully shift attention is inhibited, so even potentially relevant information might not be processed. Ultimately, memory is determined by what we can process.”
The findings were actually from study of 52 police officers in Canada by Portsmouth University staff, but I’m sure the same holds true for our street-beaters. Considering our legal system puts so much emphasis on eyewitness accounts, and the rozzers are under immense pressure to get the specifics absolutely correct on these kinds of things, it’s potentially very bad news. It’s no wonder you can’t trust witness statements all the time.
So if you’re ever cornered by the coppers (maybe they’ve mistaken you for an Anonymous member), running really does seem the best policy, especially if it’s up and over obstacles and other heart racing assaults. [UKPA]
Image credit: Police from Shutterstock