Factors influencing eyewitness testomonies

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What is an eyewitness testomony?
Evidence provided by a person who witnessed a crime
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What does an EWT rely on and what can the EWT help do?
It relys on recall from memory and can help identify the perpitrator and also the crime scene
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What can recall be affected?
During initial encoding, in storage or during retrieval
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What can affect the EWT between the crime and the trial?
Post event information, be that from the media, the lawyers, other witnesses etc
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Name a witness factor that affects EWT
Reconstructive memory- Recall is influenced by expectation and previously stored information like schemas
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What is a leading question?
A question that suggests a desired answer or that leads a witness to believe a desired answer, the question contains post event info or wording which can influence the witness answer
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What did Poole and Lindsay (1995) study?
They did a study to test the accuracy of recall between 5-7 year olds, they watched a science demonstration and then their parents read them a story, 3 months later the children were asked questions on the demonstration
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What did they find?
The children incorporated information from the story their parents told them, misinformation was recalled
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What did Yuille and Cutshall (1986) study?
They interviewed 13 people who had witnessed a real armed robbery more than 4 months after incident and in the interview they included 2 leading questions
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What did they find?
Despite the leading questions, the witnesses provided pretty accurate information which matched their initial report, suggesting post event information may not affect memory in real life situations
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Strengths of Post-event information studies
Can be applied to improve interviewing, lab studies were well controlled, can establish a cause and effect, high reliability
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Weaknesses of PEI studies
There are no legal or moral consequences of incorrect info given so pp's didnt have much pressure on their answer, maybe didnt take it seriously, other research has disproved findings that EWT are unreliable (Yuille and Cutshall)
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How can the presence of a weapon effect EWT?
Introducing a weapon into a situation can mean that the witness focuses more on the weapon rather than the other peripheral information like appearance of perpetrator etc, so recall is likely to be poor
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What did Yerkes-Dodson Law (1908) propose?
Suggested a curvilinear relationship between arousal and performance of recall, low levels of arousal or anxiety leads to poor recall, however too high levels of arousal or anxiety also makes recall poor, moderate arousal level is optimum
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What did Loftus find about why less peripheral information is recalled?
She monitored eye movements and found that the eyes are drawn to the weapon when it is present and away from the perpetrators face
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What did Pickel (1998) investigate?
He investigated whether weapon focus is affected by threat or unusualness of weapon, pp's watched a video with a man robbing a hair salon holding a different item in each condition, scissors, a gun, a wallet, a raw chicken and nothing
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What did Pickel find?
When the participants filled out a questionnaire after, the mean recall of features of the man was recorded, The raw chicken had the lowest score of 7.21, with the gun second lowest at 7.83 and the highest scoring was nothing with the score of 9.02
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What did Pickel conclude?
Threat alone doesnt result in poor recall as unusualness of an object also draws out attention
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Card 2

Front

What does an EWT rely on and what can the EWT help do?

Back

It relys on recall from memory and can help identify the perpitrator and also the crime scene

Card 3

Front

What can recall be affected?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What can affect the EWT between the crime and the trial?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Name a witness factor that affects EWT

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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