Psychology a-Level Assignment

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Source: Word count: 952 ‘As Rhys lay dying, gunman’s intended target jeered’ The Times; Tuesday October 14 2008 Issues/Assumptions

I. The article refers to Sean Mercer (the alleged murderer) as “.....the hooded gunman.....” Was the likelihood of the crime committed increased by being hooded? Being hooded can cause the feeling of anonymity which when combined with the related state of arousal can create deindividuation, a state where self-awareness is decreased and the feeling that you no longer stand out is increased. The effect of deindividuation was investigated by Zimbardo (2004).

II. “.....The witness, who was screened from the dock by curtains......” How likely is the jury to convict, if a witness is screened in court? Ross et al. (1994) investigated the likelihood of conviction by student jurors (who looked at a sexual abuse case) when a child gave evidence in court with a protective shield.

III. In the article, a witness states “she was in a nearby shop when shortly before 7:30 pm on Wednesday August 22, 2007, the hooded gunman allegedly rode his mountain bike from behind the pub and fired three shots across the forecourt.” Could the accuracy of the identification of the event been lowered by weapon focus (notion that witnesses will concentrate more on the weapon than they will to their other surroundings)? Loftus et al. (1987) investigated the weapon focus effect on the accuracy of recall.

Evidence
I. Zimbardo (2004) carried out a lab experiment on women to investigate the effects of deindividuation. Participants within the experiment, were tested in groups of four. Some groups had their appearances hidden and were given numbers to refer to them which made them deindividuated. Other groups were made to feel special and to identify them, were called by their names which made them individuated....
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