Factors affecting eye witness testimony

  • Created by: floberry1
  • Created on: 15-05-17 12:44
what is a leading question?
a question that suggests a certain answer by including certain information
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who showed students clips of car crashes?
Loftus and Palmer
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what is a critical question
a leading question
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what did Loftus and palmer ask the students to do?
guess how fast the cars were going in the accidents
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what was the variable between the groups?
the descriptive word used in the question e.g. smashed, hit, contacted, bumped
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in what form were the findings collected?
the mean estimate of speed was worked out for each experimental group
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what were the findings?
the group with the word 'contacted' guess a mean speed far lower than the group whose question had the word 'smashed'
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what do these findings show?
they show that the way that the question was phrased dramatically affected the result of the eye witness testimony
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what is an eye witness testimony
the account recall of an event which someone has directly observed themselves!
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what is the response-bias explanation?
states that leading questions don't have an effect on the recall itself but how the ppt chooses to answer.
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what does the substitution explanation state?
that the wording of leading questions does actually change the memory of the participant
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who performed supporting evidence for this explanation?
Loftus and Palmer, again!
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what were the findings that supported it?
they repeated the experiment and found that the group that heard the word 'smashed' were more likely to report having seen broken glass that the group that heard the word 'hit'
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why does this support the substitution explanation?
because it shows that the ppts genuinely remembered seeing different things when the questions were phrased differently.
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what is the limitation of Loftus and Palmers study?
the stimulus was a film clip and therefore lacked the stress of watching a real life accident. the stimulus was artificial and therefore lacks external validity.
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what is post-event discussion?
when co-witnesses to a crime discuss the details with each other.
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why is post even discussion dangerous?
because information from multiple people is combined and therefore the truth is often distorted.
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who studied the effects of post event discussion?
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what was the procedure?
participants were shown a video clip of an accident but all participants were shown the incident from different angles - the ppts were left to discuss what they had seen before being tested on it.
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what were the findings?
71% of participants recalled things that they were not able to see in their video - the information which they recalled was incorrect as well
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which age group is thought to be more accurate in eye witness testimonies?
younger people (18-25)
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does it make a difference if eye witnesses are warned of the effects of post even discussion?
yes, Bodner found that warning people of the effects did reduce the likelihood of them recalling mislead information
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why are demand characteristics an issue with eye witness testimonies?
because people often want to appear more helpful by giving an answer they believe is right. this has a negative effect for real life situations as false information may be reported.
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why is the accuracy of eye witness testimonies so important?
because the consequences of what is reported are fairly substantial. you need to be able to trust the information given to you.
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does the effect of anxiety make the accuracy of eye witness testimonies better or worse
both. there is evidence to support both of these theories.
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what is the effect of anxiety on the body
it causes strong states if physiological arousal
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why might this be a bad thing?
it prevents us from paying attention to important cues which could help the accuracy of our recall later.
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why would the presence of weapons have an effect of eye witness testimony?
weapons would cause a higher state of arousal.
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who studied the effect of weapons on eye witness recall?
Johnson and watt
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what were their conditions
they had 2 waiting rooms full of unsuspecting eye witnesses. one low anxiety and one high anxiety group
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in low anxiety, they heard an argument and then a man walked through carrying a pen with grease on it. in the high anxiety; broken glass was heard and the man was carrying a knife with fake blood
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how were the findings gathered?
the participants had to identify the man from a selection of photos
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what were the findings?
49% in low anxiety could identify him whereas only 33% of the high anxiety group could identify him.
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what do these findings suggest?
that the higher the anxiety; the poorer the ability to recall accurately.
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what is the tunnel theory?
tunnel theory suggests that when there is a source or anxiety like a weapon, witnesses tend to focus in on the source and miss other bits of information that may be crucial.
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what is a criticism of the johnson and scott study?
the study may have been testing surprise rather than anxiety; its not normal to walk through a room carrying a paper knife?! the experiment was testing reactions to unusualness; not anxiety.
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what is it about field studies that renders them unreliable?
they lack a lot of control. eye witnesses are often interviewed a while after the incident in which time a lot of things may have happened that alter the accuracy of the recall e.g. PED
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why is this a limitation when using anxiety as the explanation?
because the other factors are simply overwhelming, its nearly impossible to identify the real effect of anxiety of recall in real life applications.
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which response does anxiety provoke?
the fight or flight response
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why would this increase our ability for accurate recall?
because the adrenaline increases alertness and awareness of cues therefore increasing memory ability.
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who interviewed eye witnesses of a real life gun crime?
Yuille and Cutshall
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how many witnesses agreed to take part in the study of those who saw it?
13/21 witnesses
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how long after the incident were the interviews conducted?
4-5 months
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how was the accuracy of the interviewed calculated?
the results were compared with the original police statements taken shortly after the incident
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how were the participants asked to rate their anxiety at the crime?
using a 7-point scale
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what were the findings?
the participants were very accurate even after such a long time. their concordance rate with the original statement was very high.
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who recalled the information more accurately, those who gave a higher anxiety rating or a lower one?
higher. - the accuracy was 88% in more anxious witnesses
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who came up with the idea of the inverted U explanation
Yerkes and Dodson.
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what is the inverted U explanation?
explains why anxiety can both increase and decrease accuracy in eye witness testimonies.
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what is on the x & y axis of the inverted U explanation?
x axis=arousal y axis=performance
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


who showed students clips of car crashes?


Loftus and Palmer

Card 3


what is a critical question


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


what did Loftus and palmer ask the students to do?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


what was the variable between the groups?


Preview of the front of card 5
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