Loftus and Palmer; Aims and Context.

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What is an eyewitness testimony?

An eyewitness testimony is a legal term referring to the use of eyewitnesses to give evidence in court concerning the identity of someone who has committed a crime. 

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Briefly describe how eyewitness testimony is recal

Eyewitness memory goes through three stages. Firstly the witness encodes into long term memory details of the event and the people involved. Encoding may be only partial and distorted, particularly as most crimes happen very quickly, often at night and are often accompanied by lots of rapid, complex and violent action. The witness retains the information for a period of time. Memories may be lost or modified during retention (most forgetting takes place within the first few minutes of a retention interval) and other activities between encoding and retrieval might interfere with the memory itself. The witness retrieves the memory from storage. What happens during the reconstruction of the memory may significantly affect its accuracy. 

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How are eyewitness testimony used in court?

When eyewitnesses give evidence to a court in the UK they must take an oath or swear the following: ‘I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’

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What are some possible outcomes for people who are

Some possible outcomes for people who are identified in a crime because of an eyewitness testimony are a fine, a jail sentence, or even a death sentence in America. 

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What is an explanation for why some of our memorie

One explanation offered for the inaccuracy of memories or eyewitness testimony is that questioning by the police or other officials after a crime may alter witnesses perception of the events and thus affect what they subsequently recall. Some questions are more suggestive than others, in legal terms; such questions are called leading questions. 

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How can leading questions effect someones judgemen

Leading questions may affect eyewitness’s ability to judge the speed of vehicles, because people are quite poor at judging the numerical details of traffic accidents, such as time, speed and distance. Estimates may be influences by certain variables, such as the phrasing of the question to elicit a speed judgement. 

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What are the aims of Loftus and Palmers research?

Loftus and palmers aim was to investigate the accuracy, or inaccuracy, of memory. In particular they wished to investigate the effect of leading questions on the estimate of speed. The aim of the first experiment was to see if the estimate given by participants about the speed of vehicles in a traffic accident would be influenced by the wording of the question asked. For example, when asked how fast the cars were travelling when they HIT each other would give a different speed estimate then when asked the same question with the word SMASHED instead. The second experiment investigated whether leading questions simply bias a person’s response or actually alter the memory that is stored. 

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Loftus and Palmer; Aims and Context.

What is an eyewitness testimony?

Breifly describe how eyewitness testimon is recalled in our memory?

How are eyewitness testimonies used in court?

What are some possible outcomes for people who are identified in a crime because of eyewitness testimony?

What is an explanation for why some of our memories are inaccurate?

How can leading questions effect someones judgement?

What are the ais of Loftus and Palmer?

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