Eye Witness Testimony

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  • Created by: GMarsden
  • Created on: 11-05-15 09:52

EWT - How reliable are eye wtiness testimony's?

Eye witness testimony is the evidence provided by people who witnessed a particular event or crime. It relies on recall from memory.

EWT relies on accurate data about, for example, criminals hair colour, eye colour, body shape etc. or the scene of the crime such as the location, time and date.

Witnesses often provide inaccurate testimony's. This has important implications for police interviews and convicting someone.

It is important to work out what factors affect the accuracy of EWT. Cognitive psychologists research these factors and how to resolve them in interviews. They have come up with many explanations for the inaccuracy and unreliability of EWT.

Cue Dependency Theory - Retrieval of information from the witness' long term memory may be affected by cues. These could be context cues. For example, when the witness is recalling events in a police station or in court, they will not have the same cues that were present in the environment of the crime in order to prompt recall. To overcome this, EWT may be done in the same environment that the crime took place, for the cues to be present and to aid recall.

Cues form the witness' state may affect their EWT. For example if the witness was afraid during the event of the crime and more calm at the time of recall, they may not be able to recall information accurately.

Repression - This states that we use repression as a defence mechanism as a way of forgetting traumatising or stressful events…


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