Factors affecting EWT

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P1 - Intro

Witnesses are vital part of discovering what happened at crime scene

Loftus and Palmer investigated things that affect accuracy of EWT, particularly leading questions whichi are thought to change how events are remembered and create false memories 

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P1 - Reconstructive memory

Sir Fredrick Bartlett proposed idea of reconstructive memory

Idea that we store fragments of info & when needed to recall - reconstruct them to meaningful whole

Beliefs and experiences alter reclloection leading to inaccuracies

Core of theory - beliefs lead to expectations and these are what reconstruct memories 

Memories affected by schema - alter recollections of the likes of crime scenes 

Bartlett assumed it was retrieval process impacted but new research suggests our initial perception and storage are effected too, as demonstrated by Loftus and Palmer. 

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P3 - Stereotypes

Stereotypes - simplistic schema held about group of people and can often change how we percieve events 

Key example - ethnicity - expect black people to be guilty over white defendents 

Allport demonstrated effect of stereotypes on recall, however, also been found that counter-stereotypes are remembered 
Example - when belief "robbers carry guns" was contradicted, it was remembered accurately 

Means Bartlett's research could be inaccurate and our testimony more accurate than we initially thought

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P4- Face recognition

Face recognition impacts eye wtinesses as they try and identify people from the scene

Buckhout & Regan (1988) - cross-race effect
Poor at recognising faces from other races than our own

In studies about judging gender, Roberts and Bruce (1988) found masking nose made recognition harder than if eyes or mouth were masked

Thought to be good at recognising unfamiliar faces but not where we have seen it
A psychologist was accused of **** by victim who had seen him on TV and confused source of familiarity

Buckhout (1974) - in 2 staged line ups, only 7 out of 52 people correctly identified criminal both times - highlights weakness in EWT in identifying criminal 

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P5 - Fundamental attribution error

FA states we either use dispositional or situational attributions to explain behaviours 

Eye witnesses tend to commit FAE using more dispositional explanations of crime

Assumes person is criminal in nature 

Barjonet (1980) found people believed cause of car crashes were more likely to be dispositional (drivers fault) than situational (weather) 

Could lead to sentencing someone for a crime which wasn't their fault

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P6 - Role of emotion

Emotional state has big impact on EWT

Yekres-Dodson law says that recall improces with arousal up to an optimum point but decreases with any further stress

Suggests moderately frightening crimes would produce best recall but in extremely scary incidents, were accurate testominy is most crucial, recall would be poor

Deffenbacher et al (2004) meta-analysed studies - found high stress has negative impact on recall

Contradicted by Christianson & Hubinette (1993) - people involved in robbery recalled more than onlookers that weren't involved despite higher stress

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P7 - Weapon effect

Loftus et al (1987) - effect of weapons on testimonies 

If weapon is present witness tends to focus on it rather than faces - element that provokes anxiety

Often leads to inaccurate testimony during EWT - supported by research from Johnson & Scott (1978)

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