Factors affecting eyewitness testimony: Misleading Information


Misleading Information

Leading questions

  • Loftus and Palmer (car speed): estimates affected by leading question (smashed versus contacted).

Why do leading questions affect EWT?

  • Response bias - no change to memory.
  • Substitution explanation supported by Loftus and Palmer and report of presence of glass.

Post-event discussion (PED)

  • Discussions with others contaminates eyewitnesses' memories.
  • Gabbert et al. demonstrated effect, calling it memory conformity - information and normative social influence involved.
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Useful real-life applications

  • Could help prevent miscarriages of justice and change police interviewing.

Tasks are artificial

  • Watching film clips ignores the stress and anxiety associated with a real accident or crime.

Individual differences

  • Older people may be less accurate because of own-age bias.

Evaluation extra

  • Demand characteristics
  • Consequences of EWT
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