Eyewitness testimony

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  • Factors affecting EWT
    • misleading information
      • Loftus & Palmer - ppts shown slides of car accident & asked to describe what happened; then asked leading q's
        • estimated speed affected by verb used in q (hit/smashed/ contacted) (response bias) as implied info which altered ppt memory
      • L & P lacked mundane realism & ecological validity (video had no emotional impact)
        • US students not rep so can't gen, lacks pop val
      • L&P lab experiment, replicable, standardised procedure
      • post event discussion
        • Gabbert et al - ppts in pairs watching diff vids of same event; 1 encouraged to discuss; 71% of these mistakenly recalled items
        • several interviews w/ children EW meant comments from interviewer in their own recall
    • anxiety
      • Clifford & Scott violent attack vid remembered >40 items of info about it than control group (less stressful vid)
      • Yuille & Cutshall witnesses highly accurate in account of shooting in Canada (1 killed & 1 wounded), little change in accuracy/ amount of recall after 5 months, stress levels didn't effect mem (highest anxiety, most accurate)
        • high ecological validity but extraneous variables (highest stress, closer to shooting)
        • misleading q's by researcher had no effect
      • Loftus - presence of weapon created anxiety, ppts focus on knife, couldn't accurately identify man so high stress = > accurate recall (weapons effect)
      • Yerkes-Dodson law: stress-performance relationship in inverted U shape so accuracy of recall + w/ stress but only to optimal point then -
    • reconstructive memory: info from mem often in wrong order, +/- info (schema errors), can be affected by stereotypes


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