EWT: anxiety

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  • EWT: anxiety
    • Johnson and Scott
      • Anxiety has a negative effect on EWT
      • Pp sat in a waiting room believing they were going to take part in a lab study
      • Each Pp heard an argument in the next room
        • Low anxiety condition: a man then walked through the waiting room carrying a pen with grease on his hands
        • High anxiety condition: the heated argument was accompanied by the sound of breaking glass, a man then walked through the room holding a paper knife covered in blood
      • The Pp were then asked to pick the man from a set of 50 photos
      • Findings: low anxiety condition: 49% could identify him
        • High anxiety condition: 33% could identify him
      • This supports weapon focus theory because it is a source of danger and anxiety
    • Yuille and Cutshall
      • Anxiety has a positive effect on EWT
      • IN A REAL LIFE CRIME a gun shop owner shot a thief dead
      • There were 21 EW, 13 participated
      • Pp were interviewed 4/5 months after
      • Accounts were compared to police interviews at the time of the shooting
      • EW rated how stressed they felt at the time
      • Findings: witnesses were very accurate and there was little change after 5 months
      • Pp who reported high stress at the time were more accurate.
        • 88% compared to 75% for less stressed group
    • Explaining the contradictory findings
      • Inverted U theory
        • Performance increases with stress until a certain point, at which it decreases dramatically
        • Yerkes Dodson law/curve
      • Effects memory
        • Deffenbacher found that lower levels of anxiety did produce lower levels of recall accuracy
      • Evaluation
        • L: Johnson and Scott study may test surprise not anxiety
          • Pp may focus on a weapon because they are surprised on what they see rather than scared
          • Weapon focus is due to unusualness rather than threat
        • L: field studies lack control of variables
          • Interviews often happen a while after the event, and many things can happen in this time
            • Read accounts in the media
            • Police interview may influence their recall
            • EW may talk to eachother about the event
          • These extraneous variables may be responsible for the inaccuracy of recall not anxiety
        • L: Demand Characteristics
          • May affect lab studies because Pp are aware they are watching a filmed/staged crime
        • L: Ethical issues
          • Creating anxiety is unethical because it is psychological harm
          • However, real life studies are beneficial

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