Accuracy of eyewitness testimony: Misleading information (A01 & A03)

  • Created by: agnija
  • Created on: 30-12-21 01:27
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  • Accuracy of eyewitness testimony: Misleading information
    • Leading questions (Loftus & Palmer, 1974)
      • Aim: Test extent to which participants estimates could be influenced by misleading questions.
      • Procedure :
        • 45 university students were shown 7 clips of car crashes.
          • They answered questions - key are being estimate speed.
        • 5 conditions- verb used ( contacted, hit, bumped, collided, smashed)
        • 150 students- 50 asked with hit, 50 with smashed, 50 smashed and 50 were a control group.
        • One week later they were asked whether they have seen broken glass.
      • Findings:
        • Contracted 31.8 mph, hit 34 mph, Bumped 38.1 mph, Collided 39.9 mph, Smashed 40.8 mph.
          • As intensity of verb increased, increased speed.
        • Answer to whether they saw glass or no:
          • Smashed- 16 yes and 34 no. Hit- 7 yes and 43 no. Contact 6 yes and 44 no.
            • Twice as likely in smashed condition to recall false memory of broken glass.
    • Post - event discussion
      • Conformity effect: Co-witness may reach a consensus view of what actually happened.
        • Gablet and Colleagues (2003): 71% of witnesses who had discussed the event went to mistakenly recall items acquired during the discussion.
      • Repeat interviewing:
        • It is possible that each time witness is interviewed comments from interviewer will become incorporated into their recollection of events.
        • Interviewer may use leading questions and thus alter memory for events.
    • Evaluation :
      • EWT in real life:
        • Loftus' research suggests that EWT lack of ecological validity.
        • Foster et al (1994) found out that participants don't take the experiment seriously and/or they are not aroused in the way they would be in a real accident.
      • Real world application:
        • EWT is applicable to criminal justice system, which heavily relies on eyewitness identification.
          • Wells and Olson (2003) found that mistaken EWT identification was the largest single factor conviction of innocent people.
      • Individual differences:
        • Number of studies like Shacter et al (1991) found that elderly people have difficulty remembering the source of their information, even though their memory for information if self is unimpaired.
          • Therefore, they are more prone than younger people to effect of misleading information when giving testimony.
      • It may be response bias:
        • Bekerian and Bowers (1983) replicated Loftus et al (1978) found that if questions are presented in the same order and the original data, then participants are not susceptible to misleading information.


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