PSYB3 Cognition & Law Evaluations for Essays

Evaluations for theories in cognition and law, at least 8 points to put in essays.


Face Recognition - Feature Analysis Evaluation

  • Some empirical evidence to show that features are used in the process of face recognition. 
  • Neglects importance of other information for recognition. 
  • Studies show single facial features are not easily recognised. 
  • Doen't explain why altering face configuration affects recognition. 
  • Shepherd Davies & Ellis Study conclusion - different features. 

Comparison with Holistic Theory

  • Holistic form theory suggests that the whole face is involved in face recognition. 
  • Important factors:
    - Configuration of the face
    - Relationship between features
    - Feelings Aroused by the face
    - Semantic information 
  •  Lack of info on unfamiliar faces unlike Feature analysis
1 of 10

Face Recognition - Holistic Theory Evaluation.

  • Evidence from diary studies and lab studies - supports Bruce & Young model. 
  • Takes into account that face recognition is complex and involves emotion & semantic info. 
  • Can predict and explain every day observations - e.g. recognising someone and not knowing their name. 
  • Doesn't explain why Prosopagnosia patients can have unconscious recall. 
  • Lack of information about recognition of unfamiliar faces. 
  • Study Conclusion - halves of celeb faces.

Comparison with Feature Analysis

  • Feature analysis theory states features are most important in recognition. 
  • Gives info on unfamiliar faces - recognised by external features e.g hair. 
2 of 10

Composite Systems Evaluation.


  • Feature demarcation lines interfere with recognition. 
  • Insufficient features available - 855
  • When with distracter faces only identified 12.5% of the time. 
  • Feature Analysis theory 


  • No significant difference found between Photo-Fit or E-Fit - DAVIES. 
  • Artistic elaboration was not allowed so can't be generalised to real life. 
  • Feature Analysis Theory 


  • Produced to fit in with Holistic theory.
  • Allows a composite to evolve from whole faces - not constructed
3 of 10

Line - Up Procedure Evaluations.

Simultaneous Line-Up

  • More chance of someone chosen BUT more chance of false identification.

Sequential Line-UP

  • Less chance someone will be chosen BUT less chance of false identification.

VIPER System

  • Absolute judgements not relative
  • Procedural variables controlled. 
  • Less chance of demand characteristics
  • Availability of large number of foils. 
  • very few line-ups cancelled.
4 of 10

Factors Affecting EWT Evaluation.

Use of Q's & Post-Event Contamination.

  • Memories for events changed by words used in questions and witness discussion. 
  • Where misleading info is obviously incorrect it has no effect. 
  • Less crucial details more easily distorted - e.g. item stolen more easily distorted than appearance of Robber. 


  • Clifford & Scott Study - people who saw most violent film recalled less. 
  • Vancouver - Weapon focus had no effect. 
  • Vancouver - Leading Questions had no effect. 
  • Vancouver - even though emotional still well remembered. 
  • Real-life - has Eco Validity.
5 of 10

Cognitive Interview Evaluation

  • Study conclusion - Cognitive interview better than hypnotised and standard.
  • Improves Recall in many circumstances. 
  • Reduces the amount of post-event contamination. 
  • Increase in wrong information however. 
  • Officers must be specially trained to carry out the interview. 
  • Increases recall of peripheral detail not central. 
  • Attempts to provide as similar context as possible between encoding and retrieval. (CONTEXT & EVERY DETAIL)
  • Second two points are an attempt to retrieve info from different routes.
6 of 10

Flashbulb Memory Evaluation.

  • May or may not be a special type of memory. 
  • Amygdale implicated in flashbulb memories. 
  • Been found to be resistant to forgetting. 
  • May be due to repeated retrieval rather than special properties. 
  • Better remembered if personal - MLK/JFK study. 
7 of 10

False Memory Debate Evaluations.

Recovered Memories

  • Levinger & Clark Study Conclusion - Negative Words
  • Williams study - interviewing abused women. 
  • Repression is unconscious so cant be studied empirically. 
  • Flashbulb memory - more traumatic events better remembered. 
  • If we accept memories can be repressed how do we know they're recovered accurately?

False Memories

  • Loftus and Ketcham Study - Small Sample
  • Ethical issue - making children believe a bad event happened to them. 
  • Validity of generalising to real life cases of abuse. 
8 of 10

Theoretical and Ethical Implications of the Debate


  • If lost memories can be recovered it would be consistent with Freud's repression theory. 
  • If such memories are false it is consistent with the reconstructive nature of memory. 


  • Someone may be wrongly accused
  • Family may be split up
  • Individual may be more unhappy after the memory is recovered so more therapy will be needed. 
  • Therapists may be tempted to let their own beliefs influence interpretation.
9 of 10

Children as Eyewitnesses Evaluation.

Study Evaluation - Staged Theft

  • High level of deception
  • Could have caused stress to the participants. 
  • Field investigation - increased Eco Validity. 
  • Children may have felt pressured into giving answers. 


  • Some evidence shows children's memories can be remarkably accurate. 
  • Fivush and Shukat - young children can give accurate recall even after long period of time. 
  • Lab studies - emotionally positive events but not in court. 
  • Children not overly encouraged to recall. 
  • Leading questions not used - may be used in court.
10 of 10


Get Revising Moderator 2


Clear and informative, well done!

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