age and eyewitness testimony

notes on the studies concerning eyewitness testimony

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Age and Eyewitness testimony
Young people and eyewitness testimony
Poole and Lindsay
Got children ageing from 3 to 8 years old to watch a science demonstration
and then to listen to a story containing science material but also some new
They were then questioned about the science demonstration and it was
found that they threw some of the information from the story in as well.
They were then asked where they got the information from, the
demonstration or the story. The older children managed this well, but the
younger children found it harder to distinguish the source of the
Therefore they concluded that younger children aren't good at source
recognition and would therefore not be good eyewitnesses.
Staged an incident and asked children and adults about it the next day and
again five months later.
Both groups performed equally well the following day, but after 5 months
the children had forgotten a lot more than the adults.
This suggests that the eyewitness testimony of children becomes less
reliable over time.
Old people and eyewitness testimony
Anastasi and Rhodes-own age bias
Most research is carried out on young people (18-22 year olds) in
psychology. This is a problem when studying age differences as most
materials for research are designed for young people such as school photos.
Therefore the better recall by young people could be due to them
recognising people from their own age group.
To test this possibility, they tested 3 age groups (teenage/twenties,
thirties/forties and fifties to seventies)
Each participant was shown 24 photographs of a mixture of different age
Later they were shown 48 photographs (24 being the same before plus 24
new photographs) the participants had to say which ones they had been
shown earlier.

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This found that the young and middle aged group had a better recall,
however all three age groups were better at recognising photographs of
their own age group.
This suggests that the more contact we have with people are won age, the
better our memory would be for such individuals.
Age difference in accuracy
Parker and Carranza
Compared the ability of primary school children and college students to
correctly identify a target individual following a slide sequence of a mock
crime.…read more


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