Model answers for Criminal and Child Psychology Practical

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CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICAL
What was the aim/purpose of your practical investigation? (2 marks)
To summarise two news articles examining eye witness testimony to determine whether or not
it is reliable.
Describe how you went about gathering and/or analysing the data for your practical
investigation. (3 marks)
I searched the internet for appropriate articles as secondary sources of data and selected the
most suitable two from a range of articles. I read each article several times in order to identify
emergent themes, and recorded specific sentences from each into a table, determining whether
the sentence suggested eye witness testimony was reliable or not. I chose only the most
significant points of the articles to produce two short paragraphs summarising the overall
conclusion of each article about eye witness testimony.
Outline the findings you have drawn from your practical investigations. (3 marks)
I found that overall, eye witness testimony is presented as unreliable in the context of news
articles. For example, in "The problem with eyewitnesses" by the BBC, similar conclusions to that
of Pickel were revealed, as it stated that an eyewitness wrongly accused a man of a crime
because he appeared to be holding a weapon. This suggests that (as Pickel discovered) weapon
focus is an issue in the reliability of eye witness testimony, as witnesses are likely to forget more
important details about the individual, and instead place more significance in the weapon.
However, the second article suggested that eye witness testimony is useful and should be seen
as reliable in cases of sexual abuse where often testimony is the only evidence available in
retrospective cases. This can be seen in Yuille and Cutshall's study of eye witness testimony,
who found reliability in cases even when witnesses were interviewed 5 months after the incident.
· Both the articles mention how laws have followed research findings, for example, to make
lineup procedures more secure. This underlines the importance of this key issue as an
application of research, and in one of the articles a real case study is given where a man is
imprisoned on the basis of eyewitness testimony and released (after 23 years) on the basis
of the unreliability of that testimony.
· Elizabeth Loftus, since the 1970s, has carried out a lot of research in the area of
eyewitness testimony, including showing that leading questions can affect what someone
says about an event. In a well-known study in 1974, Loftus and Palmer showed that simply
changing a verb when asking questions can guide someone's judgement about a situation.
Students judged the speed of a car involved in an accident as being faster when the car
was described as `smashing' into another car than when the car was described as `hitting'
the other car.
· Also, in another study, it was found that if asked about `a' broken headlight a participant
was less likely to mention seeing broken glass than if asked about `the' broken headlight.
· This is what is being referred to when in the second article it is said that police must write
down dialogue in case suggestions guide any identification.
· Another factor that has been said to affect eyewitness identification is the emotions at
the time. The first article seems to say that the victim identified her attacker very close to

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Valence, which is the importance of the event for the eyewitness in
terms of emotion, seems to affect memory in a U curve as the Yerkes Dodson law shows.
Emotion can heighten recall but too much can reduce accuracy. Here the emotions were
likely to be sufficient, with stress, to reduce accuracy.
· Race is also an important factor in eyewitness testimony.…read more

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CHILD PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICAL
What was the aim/purpose of your practical investigation? (2 marks)
To conduct a conduct a content analysis of several newspaper articles to determine the positive
and negative effects of daycare, to see if it is harmful or beneficial for children.
Describe how you went about gathering and/or analysing the data for your practical
investigation. (3 marks)
I searched the internet for appropriate secondary resources such as newspaper articles and
research papers.…read more

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This is only
briefly mentioned, with the articles focusing on punishing `unruly' families.
Bowlby's theories of attachment and maternal deprivation strongly suggest that a child needs
their main attachment figure at least until they have passed the stages of stranger fear and
separation anxiety.
Ermisch (2001) suggested that childcare increased likelihood of depression as an adult and of
unemployment, and decreased chance of getting good `A' levels, all of which go against what
the articles claim that children do better with preschool education than without.…read more

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