Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony

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  • Created by: Jazzy
  • Created on: 21-05-13 14:30
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  • Factors affecting the accuracy of eye witness testimony
    • Anxiety
      • Yerkes-Dodson Law
        • A person's ability to recall information is related to their level of arousal
        • A small amount of anxiety can be healthy and lead to better recall because your senses are heigtened
        • Too much anxiety can cause the person to have trouble recalling the event due to stress
      • Loftus and Burns (1982)
        • Participants were shown a clip of an armed robbery: in one condition a boy was shot in the face and in the other he wasn't
        • The participants that had seen the boy being shot in the face (more anxiety) were less able to recall accurately the armed robbery
      • Peters (1988)
        • Asked to  identify the nurse and researcher from a set of photographs
        • Partticipants were better at identifying the researcher because he wasn't associated with something anxiety provoking like the nurse
      • Weapons Effect
        • Loftus (1979)
          • One group saw the man come out of a discussion with a pen
          • The other group saw the man come out of a discussion with a plastic knife covered in blood
          • They were then asked to identify the man and less identified the one with the knife (33%) because they were more focused on the knife itself
        • Loftus and Messo (1987)
          • Watched a person at a cashier getting money one with a gun and one with a cheque
            • People were more focused on the gun than the cheque
    • Age
      • Children
        • 3-4 year olds are more prone to reconstructing an event when given a leading question - Ceci (2000)
        • Language ability - understanding of the question can affect recall - Goodman and Scharff (1997)
      • The Elderly
        • They are more prone to the effects of leading questions - Cohen and Faulkner (1989)
        • More likely to have inaccuracy of performance in picking out a person on an identity parade
    • Misleading information
      • Loftus (1975)
        • Showed a large sample of students a video of a car driving along a country road and having an accident.
        • 1 - "How fast do you think the car was going when it drove past the stop sign?" 2 - "How fast do you think the car was going  when it drove past the barn?"
        • A week later she asked "did you see a barn in the video" even though there wasn't any barn and the ones who had answered the barn question nearly 20% said yes
      • Loftus and Palmer (1974)
        • About how fast were the cars going when they .... each other
        • smashed (40.5mph), collided (39.3mph), bumped (38.1mph)


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