LAW – PSYCH 253
ISSUES IN GATHERING EVIDENCES :
Eyewitness Identification - in social psychology, eye witness do not work all the time
because of misinterpretation and having difficulty remembering what happened and might
point out the wrong person.
• Misinformation effect: witnessing an effect, receiving misleading information
about it, and then incorporating the “misinformation” into one’s memory of the
• Judges usually base their decisions to the level of certainty of the
witnesses. But usually, most eyewitnesses are confident.
• The human eye is not a video camera. Accuracy of eyewitness testimony can be
impaired by a host of factors in the ways people form judgments and memories.
• To reduce errors, interviewers are advised to let the witness tell what he
remembers without interruption.
• Line-Up Procedures – bad for picking people out because you’re missing the
point that the suspect might not be in the options; the witness chooses who
among the line-up resembles the suspect the most, not the actual suspect
• Effects of Instructions on Line-Ups graph – given either biased or
unbiased instructions (i.e.: you’ve seen a person committed a crime) or a
biased instruction (i.e: which ones of these people committed the crime?)
-when you give unbiased instructions, they don’t name the
culprit nearly as much
-Avoid biased instructions: must point out the possibility
that the person committing a crime might not be in the line up
• Formation of the Line-up - the person who’s forming the line-up
must not know who the suspect is to avoid bias
• Biased Instructions – there has to be unbiased instructions: the real
suspect must not be there
• The person who’s doing the line-up must not know who the culprit is to
avoid bias when asking
• Eyewitness Memory Construction – our memories doesn’t work as tape recorder,
we actually put in our memories some things that we thought have happened but
didn’t really happen.
E1: Showed students 30 slides depicting successive stages of an automobile –
- One critical slide showed a red Datsun stopped at a sign or yield sign.
- Afterwards they asked half the students among other questions. Did
another car passed the red Datsun while it was stopped at the stop
sign? They asked the other half same question but replaced the words
stop sign with yield sign.
- Later, all viewed the slides (with either stop or yield sign) and asked
the participants what slide have they seen on the previous one.
- The Ps asked with the misleading questions only got 41% (i.e., they
denied seeing what they’ve seen instead of remembering it) correct,
while the others who were not mislead got 71% correct. –
- Police and attorneys commonly ask questions according to what they
know that’s why it is easy for the witnesses to be misled especially when they know that the interviewers were well informed and when
suggestive questions are repeated.
E2: False Memories feel and look like real memories.
- Psych 207 experiment (lost in the mall condition, tipping over punch
bowl in the wedding)
- Loftfus and Pickerel
- Interviewed relatives of the participants and from the interview,
generated 3 true events that happened to the research participants
when they were young
- Created a false event that the participant was lost at the shopping
mall. ¼ events were false, other ones were actual events
- Participant’s length of recall (# of words) was higher for true than
false memories and they repeated the clarity of their memories lower
for false than true
- Thus, false memory is formed through suggestive questioning.
Suggestion can become linked to other knowledge about being lost
because your brain activates images of malls and of being lost
- Hypnosis didn’t help you remember anything instead it helps you
remember things that didn’t occur.
E3: SMASHED CAR STUDY
- Subjects were shown short films and witnessed whether a car crashing
into another car or into another object
- Every Ps watched the same film
- Followed the film, researcher asked about h