Eyewitness Testimony Anxiety

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  • Eyewitness Testimony Anxiety
    • Main Infomation
      • Creates physiological arousal
        • Can revent us from paying attention
          • Can lead to less accurate recall
      • Weapon Focus
        • Allows us to create high levels of anxiety to study
      • Yerkes and Dodson Inverted U
        • States arousal works in an inverted u shape
          • Most accurate in a medium anxiety situation any more or less worsened the EWT
    • Positive Impacts of Anxiety on EWT
      • Triggers fight or flight response
        • Increases alertness and reaction speed
          • Can lead to improvement in memory and recall
      • Illustrated by Yuille and Cutshall
    • Johnson and Scott
      • What done?
        • Participants asked to pick out man from 50 photos
        • Weapons focus experiment
        • Man walks by a window with either a pen and ink on hand or a knife and blood
      • What found?
        • 49% correctly identified in low anxiety conditions
        • 33% correctly identified in high anxiety conditions
      • Tunnel Theory
        • Attention is drawn to the weapon instead of the person because it causes anxiety
    • Christian and Hubinette
      • What done?
        • 110 participants witnessed a bank robbery
          • Some were bystanders
          • Some were directly threatened
      • What found?
        • People with highest anxiety had more detailed accurate recall
    • Clifford and Scott
      • What done?
        • Witnessed violent attack on film
      • What found?
        • Recall was worse in the more violent than the less violent version
    • Deffenbacher
      • There is an optimum point for anxiety where it increases recall
        • After optimum point it starts to deteriorate
      • Ethical issues must be considered
        • Causing harm (anxiety) needs to have more benefits to outweigh the cost of harm
        • Deception also sometimes occurs
        • Real life natural studies are extremely valuable because of this issue
      • The inverted-U can be argued to be reductionist
        • Only account for the physiological aspects of anxiety


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