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Lecture 5

PSYC 3020 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Theoretical Plate, Innocence Project, Critical Role


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3020
Professor
Dan Yarmey
Lecture
5

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Given at trial when no other corroborating evidence can lead to the conviction of an accused
person
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Next to an actual confession is the most incriminating evidence against a defendant
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When reports are correct properly contribute to the conviction and appropriate punishment
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False identifications from lineups and photospreads are responsible for more convictions of
innocent people than all causes combined
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4500 wrongful convictions/year
According to lawyers with the U.S. Innocence Project (Nov 2014) eyewitness misidentification
played a role in 72% of convictions overturned through DNA testing
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Witnesses construct and reconstruct memories based in part on what they selectively
perceived at the time of the incident and partly on the expectations, beliefs and pre-existing
knowledge
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Observation/acquisition - information is perceived and encoded as memorial
representations
Retrieval - individual recalls and/or recognizes stored information
Eyewitness memory explained can be explained in 3 theoretical stages
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Information can't be accurately retrieved if it was not perceived
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Information can be forgotten, altered, or supplemented by factors that occur during the
retention and retrieval stages
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Accurate and complete information may be available in memory but may not be accessible
due to inappropriate questioning techniques
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Factors that influence memory that occur during the observation stage of a witnessed incident
and some of the factors that occur during retention are beyond the control of the police = this
is called estimator variables because investigator can only estimate their influences on recall
and identification
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System variables are under the control of the police during retention and retrieval stages
because they can change the wording of questions or how the lineup is constructed to
influence the accuracy of eyewitness testimony
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Type and significance of information to be remembered
Type of memory test
Level of original learning
Strength and similarity of previously acquired information
Nature of events that occur during retention period
Rate of forgetting depends on
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Memory of information required during a traumatic event may be superior after short delays
of an hour or more than if testing occurred immediately after the event
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EYEWITNESS MEMORY
Standard interview involves asking individual to describe what they observed followed by
specific questions to get additional information
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Interviewing skills differ
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Primary objective is to get as complete and accurate understanding of what took place as
possible
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If there are multiple witnesses to a crime, witnesses can be contaminated if they know what
the others have reported - memory conformity
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Misinformation effect or post-event information effect because question adds or takes
away from memory resulting in inaccurate recall and recognition memory
Altering phrase can influence recall
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Misinformation can be introduced at the storage stage from reading false accounts or
overhearing conversations of others
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INTERVIEWING EYEWITNESSES
Unit 5 - Eyewitness Testimony
October 20, 2016
11:34 AM
Midterm Notes Page 1
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