•There are 3 general dependent variable in eyewitness studies:
1.Recall of event/crime
2.Recall of culprit
3.Recognition of culprit
•Recall of event and culprit can take two different formats. One being with open-ended
recall also known as free narrative which is when witnesses are asked to either write or
orally state all they remember about the event without the officer asking questions.
•Direct question recall, witnesses are asked a series of specific questions about the crime
•Witness recall can be examined for the amount of information reported, type of
information reported, and accuracy of information reported
•For the recognition of the culprit usually a lineup is used. A lineip is a set of people
presented to the witness, who in turn must state whether the culprit is present and, if so,
which one. There are voice lineups and even clothing lineups presented.
•Primary goal for an officer interviewing an eyewitness is to extract from the witness a
complete and accurate report of what happened. Insufficient information may provide the
officer with few leads to pursue, resulting in a case that will not be solved. If inaccurate
information is supplied, an officer may pursue innocent suspect, thus reducing the
likelihood that the guilty person will be caught.
•In general researchers found that the officer would introduce themselves, ask the
eyewitness to report what they remembered using and open-ended format or free
narrative and then asked the witness a series of direct questions to determine specific
information such as age, height of culprit.
•Fisher et al. found that police officer’s approach limited their ability to collect complete
and accurate information in a number of ways. Police often interrupted in between free
narrative sessions, police may limit amount of information eyewitness have in their
conscious memory when doing so. Second, police questioned eyewitnesses with short
specific questions, this type of questioning results in very short answers. Third police
offers tended to question in random order, which blogs the memory.