Accuracy of eyewitness testimony: Anxiety

  • Created by: April15
  • Created on: 04-01-20 22:42

Anxiety has a negative effect on memory (Johnson and Scott 1976)


  • led participants to beloeve they were taking part in lab study
  • when in waiting room, pps heard argument in next room
  • low-anxiety condition - man walked through waiting area carrying a pen with grease on his hands
  • other pps heard the same argument but this was accompanied by breaking glass
  • high-anxiety condition - man walked out of the room holding a paper knife that was covered in blood


  • the pps later picked out man from set of 50 photos
  • 49% of pps who had seen man carrying the pen were able to identify him
  • corresponding figure for pps who had seen man holding blood covered knife was just 33%
  • tunnel theory of memory argues that witness's attention narrows focus on a weapon because it's a source of anxiety

Anxiety has a positive effect on memory (Yuille and Cutshall 1986)


  • conducted a study of…


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