Factors Affecting Eyewitness Testimony


A-Levels PY4 (Forensic Psychology) Mind Map on Factors Affecting Eyewitness Testimony, created by Hayd23 on 10/06/2013.
Mind Map by Hayd23, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Hayd23 almost 11 years ago

Resource summary

Factors Affecting Eyewitness Testimony
  1. The role of emotion
    1. when someone either witnesses or is the victim of a crime, they are liable to feel intense emotions
      1. fear and anger being the main 2
        1. Deffenbacher (2004) found that high stress had a negative impact on accuracy
          1. Christianson and Hubinette (1993) found that witnesses to real bank robberies who had been threatened had better recall than onlookers who were not involved
          2. however, MacLeod (1986) compared real life eyewitness reports of 379 physical assaults with crime where no physical injury occurred
            1. found that there was no overall difference in accuracy between the 2 types of crime
          3. Flashbulb memories
            1. vivid, long-lasting memories which occur at times of heightened emotion
              1. EG. JFK's assassination and 9/11
              2. however, Talarico and Rubin (2003) found that consistency for flashbulb memories and everyday memories do not differ
                1. however, PP's rated their recall of 9/11 as being much more vivid, and had a greater confidence in its accuracy
              3. Nolan and Markham (1998) found that confident witnesses were seen as more accurate than unsure witnesses, even though the actual accuracy may not differ
                1. Weapon focus
                  1. research has suggested that witnesses often focus on a weapon at the expense of other details
                    1. Johnson and Scott (1978) had PP's witness a man carrying a knife with blood whilst waiting for an experiment, and other PP's saw a man carrying a pen covered in grease
                      1. 49% of PP's with the 'pen' could identify the man, 33% with the 'knife' could identify
                  2. Reconstructive memory: Leading questions
                    1. leading questions affect recall because they provide 'post event' info which is integrated with info of the original perception
                      1. a criticism of Loftus+Palmer's study is that judging speed is complex, therefore PP's are more prone to being led by leading questions
                        1. Loftus+Zanni (1975) - asked one group "Did you see A broken headlight" and the other "Did you see THE broken headlight"
                          1. 7% reported they saw "A broken headlight", 17% said they saw "THE broken headlight"
                            1. demonstrates that leading questions can actually cause PP's to remember something that was not there
                          2. however, Loftus (1979) used leading questions to try and alter PP's recall of the colour of a purse
                            1. PP's persisted in describing the purse as red
                            2. much research is highly artificial as it takes place under lab conditions
                              1. issues with generalisability
                                1. Yullie and Cuthshall (1986) showed that the effect of leading questions is diminished in real life situations
                                2. however, research into the effect of leading questions has led to the development of the cognitive interview
                                  1. used by the police, structured in a way that avoids leading questions to maintain accuracy of EWT
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