Accuracy of eyewitness testimony

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  • Improving the accuracy of EWT: cognitive interview
    • stages/ techniques (Geiselman et al)
      • recall in reverse order: chronological from end to beginning
      • recall from changed perspective: mentally recreate situation from different viewpoints
      • report everything: all details even if seem unimportant
      • context reinstatement: mentally recreate image of situation i.e. weather
    • enhanced cognitive interview
      • encourages the W to relax w/ no distractions or interruptions; offers clarification on W statements; adapts q's to suit W
    • strengths: +impact on legal system
      • Geisalman CI more accurate recall of violent crime film (3 conditions: CI, SPI or interview using hypnosis)
      • CI produce more correct info than standard interviews
    • weaknesses: + time consuming than standard police interview; police have to train to use this method; combo of stages better recall than individually
      • may be issue of quality vs. quantity when comparing CI and SPI in examining recall accuracy
    • from standardised police interview w/ short closed q's to CI to open up 'memory pathways'


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