Eyewitness testimony

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Eye-witness testimony

  • Eye witness testimony is when evidence is given by a witness, of a serious accident or criminal activity.
  • EWT is an issue for psychologists as if it is incorrect, it can cause people to be fasely accused of a crime and convicted. This was shown by 205 cases of incorrect arrest, with 50% being due to incorrect EWT.

Research into the role of anxiety in EWT

Loftus

  • Procedure: Two groups of participants were exposed to two different situations. 
    One group saw a man holding a pen and acting relaxed. The other group saw a man holding a bloody knife and acting in an angry manner. 
    Participants were then given photos and had to identify the man tehy saw coming out of the room.
  • Findings: Participants who saw the man with the pen identified him 49% of the time.
    Participants who saw the man with the knife identified him 33% of the time.
  • Conclusion: It was concluded that the participants who saw the man with the knife, concentrated on the weapon, distracting them from the appearence of the man. i.e. weapon-focus theory.
    It was concluded that fear narrows the focus of attention, causing some details to be remembered accurately and others not.  

Christionson and Hubinette

  • Procedure: 110 witnesses of robberies were questioned. 
    Some of them were onlookers on the scene, while others had been directly involved. 
  • Findings: Victims were more…

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