Factors Affecting Eye Witness Testimony (WJEC)

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  • Factors Affecting Eye Witness Testimony
    • Loftus & Burns (1982): Looked at how the seriousness of violent and non violent films affected EWT
      • Showed participants two different videos, a violent robbery and a non violent robbery. Found that memories of the violent film were less accurate than the non violent film
      • Supported by Raffner (1988): Used content analysis to conduct research into wrongful arrests
        • Found that 52% of cases were due to an incorrect EWT
      • Evaluation: Highly criticized as it took place in a lab environment which may have affected the validity of social desirability (Demand Characteristics)
    • Weapon Focus
      • Johnson & Scott (1978): Lab experiment in the effects of weapon focus, using two conditions: A man holding a pen covered in grease and a man holding a knife covered in blood
        • Found that 49% of participants in the pen condition correctly identified the man compared to 33% in the knife condition
      • However weapon focus may be affected by the length of time the crime takes
        • The longer the crime, the better the victim will overcome the weapon focus
    • The Cross Race Effect
      • Regan (1988): Argues that we are poor at recognizing faces
        • Supported by Brown et al (1977) who argues that we aren't always able to place faces where we have previously seen them
      • However, Bartlett (1932) looked at how victims perceived a stressful event. He argued that our own interpretation plays a major role in remembering an event
        • Cohen (1993): Our perception leads to an incorrect EWT and used to provide more of a guess
    • Ethnicity Focus
      • A schema focused on ethnicity steroetypes
        • Participants were shown a photo of a black man being held at knifepoint by a white man but reported the black man holding the white man at knifepoint
          • An active memory can be changed to fit in with what we expect (Social Desirability Bias)
    • Leading Questions
      • Loftus & Palmer: changing a verb in a question can affect a witness's memory
        • Heavily criticized as estimating the speed of a car is difficult
      • Loftus & Zanni (1973): A participant's memory can be changed leading them to believe an event happened when it didn't
        • Did you see THE broken headlight? - 17%
        • Did you see A broken headlight? - 7%




Thank you for this colourful and well summarised mind map :-)

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