Boon and Davis (1987): schemas and eyewitness

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  • Boon and Davis (1987): schemas and eyewitness
    • They conducted a similar study to Allport and Postman (1945). They showed participants slides of a violent knife attack by a white man on the London Underground.
    • Some participants then saw two white men fighting, others saw a fight between a black and a white man.
    • When asked to recognise the scene, many participants wrongly chose the image with the black man holding the knife, but they did not make this mistake when asked to describe the situation instead.
      • This shows that some memory tasks are more likely to be affected by the schema. For example, when an eyewitness makes a statement they are recalling information and should be quite accurate. But when asked to identify a person in a line-up (a recognition task) they may be less accurate.

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