Social Psychology Notes

Topics: Jury, Social psychology, Confession Pages: 4 (899 words) Published: November 4, 2013
Law – Legal Applications
Studying intersection of psych and law has multiple purposes Psych methods can help answer important legal questions
Ex: reliable or non-reliable memories, bias
Legal system useful for testing real world applicability of psych theory Ex: tests of memory, trials, social perception
Ps in social psych research face tasks similar to those of… Eyewitnesses to a crime
Suspects in an interrogation
Jurors in a trial

Eyewitness Accuracy
Witnessing a crime and identifying perpetrator not easy
(based on quick exposure to person)
Consider this example…
Correct Answer?
Eyewitness testimony very persuasive, but 80% of wrongful convictions due, in part, to mistaken IDs (identifications) DNA tests/exonerations
Social psych methods help us examine why eyewitnesses make mistakes Gunman was not in the lineup (example)
Police Lineups
Relative Judgments
(Like taking a multiple choice test, factors matter)
= witnesses tend to choose person who most resembles culprit relative to other members of the lineup (process of elimination)
When actual perpetrator not in lineup, leads to false IDs
Switch to one at a time, photos shown sequentially instead of all at once Don’t know how many they’ll see
Make sure police officer doesn’t influence person to reinforce confidence of witness Avoid confirmation bias (people search for/notice info that confirms their expectations) “Blind” administrator who does not know who the suspect is Making “none of the above” a choice, telling person the suspect “may or may not be in the lineup” Cross-Race Effect

Remember outgroup homogeneity
Similar effects found for memory
We’re more than twice as good at being eyewitness when the faces in question are of our own racial group Ex: labeled small letters or big letters (feature-based or global assessment) We remember faces better when we process them globally vs. locally More likely to process same-race faces globally, outgroup races...
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