Psychology

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Outline and Evaluate the effects of Age on Eye Witness Testimony (EWT).

With child abuse cases on the rise, children are being used as evidence in the courtroom; this involves them giving accurate eye witness testimony. Parker and Carranza conducted a laboratory study in 1989 to study the accuracy of age in eye witness testimony. They showed a mock crime scene video to a sample of primary school children and a sample of college students. They found that the primary school children were more likely to ‘just pick’ a criminal from a line up compared to college students who were hesitant about choosing anyone but they were more likely to identify the correct person; concluding that adults were more likely to give accurate eye witness testimonies. On the other hand though Ceci and Bruck completed a study that concluded children may have more accurate eye witness testimonies as they have no prejudices or schemas. They don’t stereotype people and are more likely to tell you it ‘how it is’. The lack of a schema in children means that they can sometimes be more useful than adult eye witness testimonies as they have no preconceptions of the crime/incident. Goodman and Schaff showed that the language used when asking a child a question may affect a child’s recall because of their level of understanding and word development. Overall it has to be said that children give a less detailed EWT but this doesn’t mean that it is any less accurate. Young children are more prone to leading questions and are more likely to change their answer if a question is repeatedly asked because they feel they need to impress someone and the judge is ‘correct’ on comparison to them. In 2003 Memon studied the accuracy of eye witness testimony in adults aged 16-33 and 60-83. It was found that after a short 30 minute delay between an incident and identification, the EWT resulted in no significant difference, whereas after a delay of 1 week there was a huge difference with 16-33 year olds...
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