Witness-Related Variables

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  • Witness-Related Variables
    • Stress
      • Impairs memory (more errors) (valentine & mesout, 2009)
        • consider incident type and individual differences (empathy, impact of stress)
    • Age
      • children provide less detail (pipe et al., 2004) and not accurate descriptions (possulo, 2007)
      • elderly provide unreliable statements due to vision, hearing or memory impairment (ceci et al., 2007)
        • low self credibility
    • Alcohol
      • Mixed Findings
      • May impair peripheral detail recall
    • Intellectual Disabilities
      • generally viewed as unreliable
      • been shown to provide accurate info during free recall (agnes and powell, 2004)
    • Bias
      • inclination towards one judgement rather than other (almond et al., 2008)
        • unconscious, can impact decisions
      • belief persistance
        • once reached conclusion, interpret in light of beliefs
      • cognitive bias
        • find evidence of what we think happened and ignore contradiction
          • more effect in high cognitive load
      • interviewer bias
        • to cope with amount of info processing, brains make shortcuts
          • not conscious effort
          • interpret info in light of own beliefs/ preferences
            • receptive to consistent and ignore contradiction (gudjanneson, 1992)
            • kassin - officers use more coersive tactics when thought guilty
      • interviewee bias
        • may be influenced by police, media, co-witness
          • witness may establish theory of what think happened
      • schema theory
        • use prior experience to guide peception, understanding and remembering of new info (brewer and treyers, 1981)
          • schema-consistent knowledge used to fill gaps, sometimes erroneously (holst and treyers, 1981)


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