PSYCH230 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Confirmation Bias, Eyewitness Testimony, Narrative Structure

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7 Aug 2016
Wednesday, Oct 28, 2015
Study in identifying the weapon, they were correct less than half the time in identifying the weapon. All
they can remember is that it was a gun not what kind in the study after a couple minute break, so
witnesses to a crime, give witnesses more credit than is warranted.
Story about the woman who got raped, studied suspects face, convicted the wrong person. 11 years
later, DNA tests proved it wasn’t him. First guy exonerated from crime via DNA test in North Carolina
Memory and eyewitness Testimony
- How good is eye witness testimony? Been said that convictions based on eye witnesses are
the most common thing that leads to false conviction. Most the thing that DNA testing
exonerates the most. 400 000
- The role of certainty. Difference between I think so and I know so I’m certain. In the
example the confidence she showed probably had an impact. No, I know it’s him.. I would
know who raped me. Have to keep that in mind and it has an important impact
- Impact of mistaken eye witness, it happens all over the place, you can be put to death based
off of this.
Memory basics
- 3 stages: encoding, storage, retrieval at each of these stages memory problems can occur
- Encoding problems, taking it in, hits the senses. Don’t take everything in,
o even when paying attention not all details will be stored.
o At a crime scene the things you’re going to encode?: attention capacity and ability.
A lot of things effect that, if just wake up in the middle of the night to being
burglarized, may be groggy etc
oFocus of attention- where is it focused depending on the incident, ma be very
limited things you’re paying attention to. If someones pointing a gun at everyong
not going to be paying attention to how tall they are. Especially under conditions of
stress, tghere will be a narrowing ot attentional focus. Designed to focus on things
that are important to us.
oEncoding: may not even track the stuff in the first palce
- Storage problems:
oIt is an active reconstructive process.
oCan fit information into categories. Compression. So when talking about events we
have scripts- restaurant script may not remember the waitresses hair because not
relevant to you. Unless have an unusual hair colour and it deviates the scripts.
Won’t remember exactly here you sat was. Can’t remember things you don’t
encode. This way of storing is efficient, we can remember the details becuae don’t
need to attend to every detail all the time. But problematic because when adding
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