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Lecture 10

PSYC 2400E - Lecture 10 - Feb. 7, 2013.docx

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Carleton University
PSYC 2400
Julie Dempsey

Thursday, February 7, 2013 PSYC 2400 - Winter 2013 Lecture 10 The Misinformation Effect • Dr. Elizabeth Loftus conducted a series of studies (late 70s and beyond) and demonstrated that a person’s memory is not like a videotape where what you see is recorded exactly and you can replay it as it was recorded • Memory is reconstructive Defining the Effect • When a witness incorporates inaccurate information into their memory and at a later time reports that inaccurate information – known as the misinformation effect – person doesn’t know the information is inaccurate How Misinformation can be Introduced? • Knowing what another witness reported • Incorporating an incorrect detail in a question posed to a witness • Police have to be careful how they word their questions • Suggesting a detail in a linguistically implicit manner • Different words (ie., study where people are shown a car accident, difference in responses for when they are told the cars “bumped” vs. “hit” vs. “smashed”) Explanations for Misinformation Effect • Memory impairment – new info has displaced the original correct info • Lose original memory, that’s why you don’t know the information is incorrect • Most common theory • Source misattribution – the witness is confused as to source of the details they report • Misinformation acceptance – witness guesses an answer based on what they heard or what they think the officer wants to hear • Have access to both memories, you just go with the one that the person is looking for Techniques Police Use to Interview Witnesses • Hypnosis • Cognitive Interview (CI) Hypnosis • Hypnosis can bring back traumatic/suppressed memories • Ability to by hypnotized peaks in late childhood and declines thereafter • About 10% of the general population cannot be hypnotized • About 5-10% are highly suggestible Factors Important in Inducing Hypnosis • The level of trust the subject has in the hypnotist • The subject’s motivation and desire to cooperate • The kind of preconceived notions the subject has about hypnosis • The context and reasons for the hypnosis (is it just for entertainment or critical information gathering) Is Hypnosis Effective? • Hypnosis increases the recall of correct information, however, it also increases the recall of incorrect information • Accurate and inaccurate information is recalled with the same high degree of confidence Problem with Hypnosis • Cannot differentiate between accurate and inaccurate information • Hypnosis is typically inadmissible in court Cognitive Interview • Developed in the mid 1980s by 2 cognitive psychologists (Fisher & Geisleman, 1985) and modified in the early 90s (called the enhanced CI) • Based on scientific principles of memory and retrieval CI Assumptions • Interviewee is cooperative • There is more information in our memory than we are able to recall at any one time • Retrieval cues can improve recall Enhanced Cognitive Interview 1. Rapport building 2. Supportive interviewer behaviour 3. Transfer of control 4. Focused retrieval 5. Witness-compatible questioning Does the CI Work? • Compared to “standard police interviewing”, the CI produces significantly more accurate information without a significant increase in errors • Only increase in accurate information (vs. hypnosis which has an increase in inaccuracy as well) • Approximately 30% more info obtained with the CI compared to the “standard police interview” Type of Critical Information Witnesses Can Supply • Criminal Descriptions • Lineup Identification Criminal Descriptions • Functions: – Provide a basis for the construction of an artist’s sketch – Narrows search of possible suspects – Basis for selection of lineup memb
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