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PSYC 2400 (274)
Adelle Forth (114)
Lecture 10

Lecture 10

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PSYC 2400
Adelle Forth

Lecture 10: Eyewitness Testimony Thursday, February 3, 2011 - Last class for midterm stuff (know everything including today) - Picture of people exonerated due to DNA evidence- US has had 249 - Spent 17-28 years before being exonerated - Convicted of either sexual assault or homicide - Project Innocent—two law professors founded it in 1992 - Found that eyewitness testimony is probably a key factor in wrongful convictions o But there are other factors too- bad informants, false confessions, etc. - Midterm o All multiple choice o Ch. 1-5 o **Bonus question from lecture 2  Hint: the first time professor gave out a Timmy card o Weeks 1-5 (lecture 1-10) o Includes guest lectures o *Will not cover p.135-137 (repressed memories—that will get moved to child victims section) - Study the scene - Stages of memory o In a real event (ex. Bank robbery), you would not be able to focus o Here, we should do extremely well because we were told to focus o Stored in long-term memory, can last for years o **But claim of remembering birth is NOT likely o *Retrieval- depends on how you ask the question- there are different techniques o Police might not find you for weeks after event and ask you to retrieve memory  Memories can be reconstructed- causes problems for police  Could hear another witness saying something, for instance o Memory is NOT like a videotape—as you play it back, you add information and reconstruct memory - Two types of memory o Recall: reporting what you saw (free narrative) o Recognition: recognizing from what you’re shown (lineup)  Some people with recognition memory do SOURCE MISATTRIBUTION  Recognize the individual, but it’s because you saw him/her at a different time  Some false eyewitness testimony could be due to this  A psychologist in Australia being interviewed—woman was raped, had just been watching that program on TV, and she reported and started describing who it was  A friend showed her the program again and the woman said that’s who raped her  This was just a case of source misattribution - Vast amount of research on eyewitness testimony is lab simulation studies o Joanne Pozzulo—eyewitness research at Carleton o Videotaped mock crime (usually) o You’re told that you’re doing questionnaire, watch video as a filler o Watch video, asked to identify the person in it o Staged events (lab simulation)- extremely common - How similar are they to actual eye witnesses? o Would you remember more or less? o Seems like you would remember more from simulation- focus more (less distracters) o Or you could remember more from real crime (you’re there and witness it, rather than sitting for experiment) o Could remember more from simulation because in a real car accident, you would be too much in shock to notice details o *Length of time between event and retrieval is important - *Answer: real witnesses remember FEWER details o Emotional arousal, etc. - Four most important descriptors (for quick glance) o Gender o Hair colour o Clothing (more accurate at clothing beneath the waist- shorts, pants, skirt) o Height (although not very accurate- 52%)  The relative standard is more accurate - System variables o We have control over them o Something we can do to increase accuracy of information we gather o (free narratives, misleading questions, lineup procedures, whether police officer is blind about perpetrator, etc.) - Estimator variables o Things we have no control over o Things that happened during crime o (witness was drunk, there was bad lighting, suspect was far away, dropped glasses, was looking out of window, perpetrator was not distinct, was in acquaintance with him/her, length of time you saw him/her, amount of stress, etc.) o We estimate their impact - *Midterm: example of variable, identify system/estimator - Research by Project Innocent (Wrongful Convictions) o Causes  Eyewitness misidenfication -75% (extremely important)  Unvalidated or improper forensics- 51% • Technique has bad validity/reliability • Ex. Identifying person from hair samples  False confessions- 25%  Informants/snitches- 15% • In jail, facing trouble themselves • Willing to make deals with prosecution • Ex. Suspect confessed to me/I heard suspect  Bad government- 13% • Misconduct by prosecution, suppression of evidence, police mishandling evidence, planting evidence, destroying evidence, etc.  Expert misconduct- 5% • Expert is claiming things they shouldn’t claim  Bad lawyering- 3% • Defense lawyer doesn’t bring up alibi, forgets about it - Guy Paul Morin case o Christine Gessup came home from school and disappeared o Police started going door to door o Next-door neighbor- Morin o They thought he acted a little odd (this was a few hours after girl went missing) o Police were concerned—another officer had German shepherd in training- let it smell girl’s sweater- shepherd went to Honda and started sniffing at car o Officer thought he dragged child, dragged her to car o Improper forensics  Person said hair was from him o Expert misconduct  Overstatement of reliability of techniques (hair) o Bad government  Fibre contamination- things got mixed up from different crime scenes  Police tunnel vision- as soon as they talked to him, thought he was odd  He had nothing to suggest he would be a sex offender o Jailhouse informants  Dean May was a child molester  He says he was talking with Morin, who confessed to him  Testified in trial  He was a pathological liar- would say whatever was in his best interests o In this case, eyewitness identification didn’t play a role, but a bunch of other things o Group of lawyers worked on Morin case- after that, formed Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted - In Canada, we have a similar association o But our association will only look at potential wrongful convictions for homicides (lack of money) - Other cases of expert misconduct o Dr. Charles Smith- medical license has been terminated (two days ago) o Was the chief coroner of Ontario- autopsies of suspicious deaths (in particular, involving children) o 2008- review of his work- in 20 out of 44 cases, thought he was wrong based on his expert testimony o Ontario government is paying settlements to wrongfully convicted individuals o Louise Reynolds- in Kingston  7-year-old girl went to basement while she was out  A pitbull was put there by her old boyfriend  Girl was mauled and killed by pitbull  At the time, the owner came back and retrieved dog, admitted it had some red stains- thought it was ketchup (went to garbage)- he washed it  It was out of the scene when police came  Girl had 82 “stab wounds”  Autopsy- he claimed the mother took scissors and stabbed child 82 times  Reviewed the autopsy- patterns of bite marks  Classic dog bites- he was called incompetent, arrogant, disgraceful  22 months in pre-trial waiting for murder trial o Tammy Marquardt  Charged with strangling of 2 and a half year old son  13 years incarcerated  Was in shower- son had epilepsy- sheets around him, suffocated and died  He said the child was strangled - Estimator factors and accuracy o Weapon focus  At a scene, you stare at the weapon  Pickel- research- wanted to see whether or not this occurs  Had people watch videotape (staged)- priest holding either cell phone (condition 1) or a gun (condition 2)  Had the same with a police officer with cell phone/gun  2x2 design  Asked to identify priest or police officer  Had lower accuracy on priest holding gun- unusual o Stress  Highly emotionally aroused at scene  Heightened stress has moderate negative correlation with accuracy in identifying suspect in lineup (target present)
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