Improving Eye Witness Testimony

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  • Created by: Beth_Gee
  • Created on: 12-04-14 16:24

Report Everything

Eyewitnesses should report everything in every detail even if they seem irrelevant --> triggers recollection of other important info

Reason: Forgetting = lack of appropriate cues 'cue-dependent forgetting' (Tulving and Psotka 71) Trigger work could act as a cue

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Reinstate Context

The eyewitness is encouraged to mentally recreate the original environment

Reason: Context is an important cue - if you go back to a situation you were in when the event occured, it can jog your memory for key details. Golden and Baddeley (1975) showed divers cold recall word lists better when they were underwater if they learnt the word lists there in the first place. 

Goodwin et al (1969) - noted that people who drank a lot often, when sober, couldn't remember where they put things but they could remember when they were drunk again. Mood can also act as a context

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Change Order

Eyewitnesses may be asked to recall events in reverse order or to start in the middle

Reason: We remember info in the predictable order. Such expectations can influence what you do actually recall. If you reverese the order it prevents influence of expectations

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Change Perspective

Eyewitness is asked to imagine viewing the incident from a different perspective, for example pretending that they were one of the other witnesses at the time or the victim 

Reason: This varies the route through memory, changing the spatial perspective instead of just logical perspective. By viewing the series of events from a different location, a person may become aware of futher information that is stored in their memory. Perspective can be varied in other ways. Anderson and Pitchert (1978) asked participants to recall details of a house from the perspective of a burgler or a house buyer. Each led to the recall of additional info.

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