Physical bouts with criminals damage memory

March 14th, 2012 - 2:26 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 14 (IANS) Brief bursts of physically engaging a criminal can be quite exhausting leaving a police officer’s memory in a limbo, reveals a study.

Researchers, led by Lorraine Hope of the University of Portsmouth, found that less than 60 seconds of chasing a suspect or engaging physically with a criminal can erode a cop’s ability to remember details, or even identify the suspect.

Even officers in top condition are not immune to the rapid drain of physical prowess and cognitive faculties resulting from sustained hand-to-hand combat, the journal Psychological Science reported.

“Police officers are often expected to remember in detail who said what and how many blows were received or given in the midst of physical struggle or shortly afterwards. The results of our tests indicate it may be very difficult for them to do this,” said Hope, reader in applied cognitive psychology at Portsmouth.

“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 attended to. Ultimately, memory is determined by what we can process and attend to,” said Hope according to a university statement.

These findings are based 52 police personnel volunteers (42 males, 10 females), with an average of eight years on the job. All officers were fit and healthy and engaged in regular exercise.

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