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Key Issues- Cognitive and Social Psychology
Cognitive Reliability of Eye Witness Testimony
Eye Witness Testimony
Loftus, experiment on EWT. One condition, they were given a leading question after
seeing a video of a car crash, other condition they were not give a leading question.
She found that post event information can affect the reliability of EWT.
Levels of Processing- when an event happens, clearly most eye witnesses remember
the event according to what they have seen, therefore they process the information
structurally. As the information isn't deeply processed, information may not be
completely true when we recall it.
Reconstructive Memory- Reconstruction of memory leads to inaccuracy in recall of
event. Participants may use schemas to help reconstruct what they saw. For
example, if in most robberies a shot gun is involved, the witnesses may report
seeing one, even if there wasn't one present. Also, we tend to reconstruct stories
with post event information, so leading questions may contribute towards
Cue Dependency- when you are recalling the event, you are usually in a police station
or in court, which is very different to the scene of the crime, and state and context
cues are missing to help aid recall which is required. By taking witnesses back to the
scene of the crime, you may be able to aid recall. Because of these things,
psychologists have worked with the police to design a cognitive interview which can
give cues to help the witness recall the event.
In-group favouritism - before genocide takes place, there needs to be a
categorisation of them and us. Whenever we see someone as a member of another
group, we tend to exhibit in group favouritism.
SIT- says that we do this to protect our self esteem, which is related to status. We
put other groups down to boost our status, although this doesn't nessercerily lead to
genocide, it is a necessary condition for it to take place.
Obedience- We need to accept that if ordered by someone we accept as an
authority figure, we will obey them.
Agency- can be linked to genocide. Interviews with Nazis reveal that when people
commit the atrocities, they genuinely feel they are serving the interests of their
communities, Even if they feel repulsed, they carry them out as they must.