Factors affecting eye witness testimony

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  • Created by: Nadine
  • Created on: 03-06-13 15:49

Introduction

- Is the evidence presented to court by a person who witnessed a crime.

- The accuracy of recall can be affected during initial encoding, subsquent storage and eventual recall

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First Paragraph - Attributional bias

- People tend to commit fundamental attribution error (FAE) in which they overestimate dispositional factors and assume the person is a criminal rather than their behaviour beung a concequence of circumstance

- This is based on the attribution theory where we use either dispositional (internal) or situational (external) attribution to explain behvaiour 

-An example of this is when someone leaves a shop when the security alarm rings, we assume that they have stolen something rather than the tags being left on by staff

-Barjonet (1980) found that people will tend to think of car accidents being teh drivers error rather than situational factors

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Second Paragraph - Actor - observer bias

- We make dispositional attributions for other peoples behaviour but situational ones for ours

- What a witness recalls will not be objective, is particularly inaccurate when a witness is also the victim

-Walster found that when there was little damage to a car people will assume situational attribution but of there is much damage they will make dispositional ones

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Third Paragraph - Face recognition

- We are poor at recognising faces although eyewitnesses are often asked to identify an individual

- Studies have shown that we are poor at recognising individual from races other than our own (Cross-race effect) 

- Ellis et al (1979) hair and oulibe of face are paticularly important in unfamiliar faces but eyes are in familiar ones

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Fourth Paragraph - Face recognition evaluation

- Buckhout (1974) Staged a theft only 7/ 52 participants were able to identify the correct suspect

- Sometimes we falsely accuse people because we have seen there face before but are not sure where

- A case that demonstrates this is when a girl accused a psychologist of ****, but this was a wrong accusation, she had seen him on the television and confused the source of familiarity ( Thompson 1988) 

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Fourth Paragraph - Face recognition evaluation

- Buckhout (1974) Staged a theft only 7/ 52 participants were able to identify the correct suspect

- Sometimes we falsely accuse people because we have seen there face before but are not sure where

- A case that demonstrates this is when a girl accused a psychologist of ****, but this was a wrong accusation, she had seen him on the television and confused the source of familiarity ( Thompson 1988) 

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Fifth paragraph - Reconstructive memory

- Barlett (1932)  proposed we store fragments of information and when we need to recall something we construct these fragments into a meaningful whole

- This reconstruction leads to inaccuracy because our beliefs, expectation and past experience shape the way we reconstruct memory 

-Carmichael et al shwed verbal labels affected the way that participants drew a picture

-Allport and Postman found that stereotypes effect memory, when participants wrongfully remember a black man holding a knife

-Schemas could alter our initial stage of recall, Loftus and Palmer's second experiment showed that post event information changed the original memory

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