Eye Witness Testimony

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Psychology AS Revision Module 1
Eye witness testimony
Effecting factors:
· Anxiety
· Schemas
· Age of the witness
· Leading questions
· Consequences of the testimony
· How witnesses are tested
· Misleading information
· Use of the Cognitive Interview
Role of anxiety:
· Weapon focus
· Consequences of testimony
Loftus (1979)
· To see the role of anxiety on EWT
· One of two situations
· They overheard a low key discussion in a laboratory about an equipment
failure. A person emerged from the laboratory holding a pen with grease on
their hands
· They overheard a heated and hostile exchange between people in the
laboratory. After the sound of breaking glass and crashing chairs, a man
emerged from a the laboratory holding a paper knife covered in blood.7
· Participants were given 50 photos and asked to identify which was the suspect
· Those who had witnessed the man holding a pen accurately identified the person
49% of the time
· Those who had witnessed the man with the blood stained paper knife were
successful only 33% of the time
· This is the weapon focus phenomenon


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