Eye Witness Testimony
Refers to the use of eye or ear witnesses in court or in police statements about the identity of someone who has committed a crime. Key Study into EWT –
Factors that Influence EWT
* Unpleasant emotional state where we fear that something bad is about to happen usually accompanied by physiological arousal (pumping heart) * Deffenbacher – MA of studies found considerable support for a negative correlation between anxiety and EWT meaning the more anxious the less accurate their testimonies were. However this study lacked mundane realism. * Christianson and Hubinnette questioned real witnesses to robberies and compared those who were involved (a hostage etc) to those that were not involved (onlookers) and found those that were involved and therefore had higher anxiety had better recall than those that just witnessed it. This study did not lack mundane realism as the participants were real witnesses. * Weapon Focus Effect
* Linked to anxiety – if there is a weapon involved is attention driven only to weapon? * Loftus et al – participants heard an argument then saw a man in a pen stained shirt with a pen in is hand or a man in a blood stained shirt and a paper knife in his hand. Accuracy was better for group 1 showing that attention is drawn to the weapon thus decreasing the accuracy of EWT. * Loftus et al also monitored eye movements and found this effect. * Age
* Yarmey found when recall was immediate there was no difference in the accuracy of EWT in older and younger participants. * Memon similarly found that when recall was immediate there was no difference in accuracy of recall however when recall was a week later the older participants were significantly less accurate in their EWT. * Anastasi and Rhodes – own age bias – we are more likely to be accurate in our EWT’s if the person is in our own age group.
Describe and evaluate a study into eye witness...
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