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Unit 16 - Justice and Law

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Western University
Sociology 2234E
Brendan Murphy

Unit 16 Social Psychology of Justice and LawThe Canadian Justice SystemThe Canadian justice system consists of o Civil Law whereby one party brings a complaint against another for violating the formers rights in some way o Criminal Law whereby someone commits a crime and the police arrest a suspect The crown attorneys office decides whether there is enough evidence to press formal chargesThe CrimeFactors Involving the Scene o Place o Time day vs night o Lighting o Presence of othersFactors Involving the alleged Perpetratoro Socioeconomic status o Appearance o RaceEthnicityo CharacterPersonality Factors Involving the Witnesses o Acquisition of information o Storage of informationReconstructive MemorySource Monitoring o Retrieval of information Eyewitness TestimonyThe accuracy of eyewitness identification depends on the viewing conditions at the time the vcrime way committedResearch shows that most jurors believe witnesses can correctly identify the criminal even when viewing conditions are poor see Figure SPA31 o Eyewitness testimonies are responsible for more wrongful conviction than all other causes combinedAcquisitionthe process by which people notice and pay attention to information in the environmento People can acquire only a subset of the information available in the environment o The more stress people are under the worse their memories aremore difficult to make an accurate memoryStoragethe process by which people hold in memory the information they have acquired from the environment o Reconstructive Memory the process whereby memories for an event become distorted by information encountered after the event has occurredCan change our memory of the eventThe way policelawyers question witnesses can change reports about what they sawasking misleading questions etc o Source Monitoring the process whereby people try to identify the source of their memoriesPeople often become mixed up about where they saw or heard somethingEyewitnesses whoa re asked misleading questions often report seeing things that were not really there Retrievalthe process by which people recall information stored in their memory
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