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Cognition and law

Remembering and recognising faces

Processes involved in face recognition

Cohen distinguishes between:
Face recognition: knowing we have seen the face before
Face identification: Knowing the Person's name
Face recall: Verbally describing the face from memory
Bahrick found from his research that face recognition is better than face…

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Bruce and Young argue that stored semantic and emotional information is
important for face recognition. They also presented the stages involved in
face recognition:
Face is structurally encoded: Processing the physical appearance of the
Face recognition unit: Template is activated
Person identity node: Other information is activated
Name generation:…

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Many studies and evidence supports holistic form theory
Young's study consisting of keeping diaries explains why people know
certain information about people but cannot remember their name
Theory acknowledges that recognition is much more complex than just
adding up features


First Generation

Early systems…

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Evaluating composite systems for construction of likeness:

The study is not ecologically valid as the people in the study had to recall
the faces of people they probably already knew, we know in real life this is
not the case as people do not get enough time to observe a…

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Results: Witnesses were more likely to identify the suspect correctly in
sequential line-ups than is simultaneous line-ups
Conclusion: Sequential line-ups reduce the number of false identification

Factors affecting the outcome of line-up procedures

Appearance of the suspect:
The appearance of all the suspects in the line-up has to match with…

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Post-event contamination:
Witness's memory is altered after the event either by questioning or through

Loftus found that leading questions influence recall
Lotus and palmer found that how the question is asked can influence recall

Wright found that peer discussion can influence memory

Weapon focus:
Loftus found that…

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experimental group, participants were asked `how fast was the car going when
it passed the barn?' in the film the film the car did pass a stop sign but there
was no barn
Results: In the experimental group, 17% reported seeing a barn while less
than 3% in the control…

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viewed the scene from the interior of the bank. Participants were tested on
their recall on critical events that had occurred in the video seconds before the
actual shooting scene.
Results: Participants that viewed the violent version of the video had a poor
recollection as compared to the participants that…

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Conclusion: A weapon being present can cause poorer recall among
eyewitnesses as they get fixated on the weapon

Aim: Investigating the effectiveness of the cognitive interview
Method: Participants viewed a video of a violent crime. After 48 hours they
were interviewed using either the cognitive interview, standard interview or…

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Method: Children participated in a science demonstration; they were later
interviewed about the events that occurred during the demonstration. 3
months later, the children were told a story about a science demonstration
that they had not witnessed. The children were interviewed again testing their
recall from what they remember from…


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