AQA PSYB3 Psychology - Cognition and Law notes

Full Cognition and Law unit complete with A02 (strenghts and weaknesses) Hope this helps :-)

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
PSYCHOLOGY PSYB3 ­ Cognition and Law revision
Feature analysis theory
Bottom-up theory
Analyzing features is key to recognition
Shepherd et al (1979) found features are used heavily in free recall of faces suggesting that
faces of people we do not know very well tend to be recalled using the main features of the
Woodhead et al (1979) used a feature based recognition training course but found this made
recall worse suggesting individual features are less important and faces are stored as wholes
Relying just on the bottom up process for such a complex activity is unlikely
Neglects the importance of other information for face recognition e.g. facial expression
Single facial features are not easily recognized at all and features need to be processed in the
context of the whole face
Does not explain why altering the configuration of a face intervenes with recognition
Holistic form theory
Alternative to feature analysis, a top-down approach proposed by Bruce and Young (1986)
Recognising a face requires stored semantic and emotional information, face is recognized as a
whole with the person analyzing the relationship between features
Young and Hay (1986) found that recognition times were much longer when they put two halves
of different faces together as a composite. This shows the overall layout of the face is important
Yin (1969) found upside down or inverted faces are much harder to recognize
Ellis et al (1975) showed difficulties in verbally recalling faces by having participants'
recollections reconstructed using photofit materials. Judges then tried to pick the target face
from the photofits but only 12.5% were correct. This shows faces are stores as wholes.
Bruce and Young (1986) put forward Holistic Model of face recognition, made up of stages;
o Stage one ­ face is structurally encoded
o Stage two ­ If physical appearance matches an existing face recognition unit (FRU)
then this will be activated. This contains a physical template.
o Stage three ­ Activation of the FRU triggers the activation of the personal identity
node (PIN) which gives personal information. The face is now recognized.
o Stage four ­ Only after the PIN has been activated can name generation occur. This is
stored separately from the FRUs and PINs.
Young (1985) asked 20 participants to keep daily record of problems in face recognition. None
of the participants were able to name somebody without knowing something else about them,
this supports the holistic model

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
Diary studies and laboratory research supports the Bruce and Young model
Takes account of the face that face recognition is complex and involves emotional and semantic
Predicts and explains everyday observations
Does not take into account why patients with prosopagnosia (cannot recognize familiar faces)
can show unconscious (covert) recognition. They show unconscious recognition in bodily
responses, as shown by a galvanic skin response (GSR) but not cognitive recognition ­ Hirstein
and Ramachandran (1997).…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
Early systems had limited number of features, lacking distinctive or unusual ones
Real composites are normally used so that members of the public can recognize someone they
are familiar with e.g. neighbor. Brace et al (2000) found that student judges could successfully
identify composites of famous people that witnesses created using e-fit systems. This shows
they can be useful but there is still a problem because the witnesses of a real event would not
already know the offender.…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
o Demand characteristics; if the police officer conducting the identification procedure
knows the identity of the real suspect this could have an effect on the witness's ability to
make an unbiased identification. They make pick up unintentional cues
o Feedback; if the witness believe they may have made a correct identification they are
more likely to have greater confidence in their judgement.…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
b. Witness discussion ­ post-event discussion between witnesses can lead to distortion
of memory. Memon and Wright (1999) reported the cause of Timonthy McVeight, the
Oklahoma bomber. Out of three witnesses, only one originally reported seeing an
accomplice and it was only later that the others state an accomplice existed. Wright et al
(2000) showed participants a film either with or without an accomplice then put these
into pairs.…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
Improving eye-witness recall
The cognitive interview was proposed by Fisher and Geiselman (1992) and involved four
procedures which have been found to enhance eyewitness testimonies;
1. Context is reinstated; interviewers ask about the day e.g. what mood they were in
2. They are encouraged to report every detail however unimportant it may appear, in
order that it may trigger key information
3. Asked to recount the incident in a different order
4.…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
Candel et al showed children videos either alone or as a member of a pair (each member of pair
seeing a different video), in one video there was no coca cola. After discussion, 60% of paired
children recalled an event from the alternate video whereas only 23% of individuals reported a
detail not viewed.…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
However the details of these memories can be forgotten; Neisser and Harsch (1992)
interviewed people the day after the Challanger space shuttle exploded and again 3 years later.
Data comparison showed there were inconsistencies and less details 3 years later.
Research into the neural mechanisms responsible has not shown any links with temporal or
frontal lobe areas.…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
repression. Levinger and Clark (1961) gave participants a set of negative words and a set of
neutral words. They had to provide an associated word for each stimulus word and later had to
remember what word went with the cue word. Fewer associated words for the emotionally
negative set were recalled than the neutral set
Case studies can also be used to determine the existence of recovered memories.…read more

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Rebecca Burke 13cPSYB3: Cognition and Law
these recalled the event compared to 25% in control group. This shows false memories can be
facilitated by photographs
Laboratory studies show that it is possible to implant memories of events that never happened
For ethical reasons, the supposed events in these studies are not like traumatic experiences that
are the subject of real cases e.g.…read more


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