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PSYC 3265 Study Guide - Final Guide: Eyewitness Testimony, Eyewitness Identification, Olfactory Bulb

Course Code
PSYC 3265
Shayna Rosenbaum
Study Guide

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Lecture 1: False Memory and Memory Distortion
Memory & Gist
- schema: general world knowledge, based on past exp, generic info to guide memory
- useful/adaptive BUT can lead to over-use of stereotypes
- Memory is better for meaningful significant features (gist) than for details
Reconstructive nature of memory
- influenced by knowledge, previous exp, expectation (i.e., schemas)
- Wording effects: way in which a q is worded influences what is remembered due to
retrieval reconstructive processes. Some details may not have been encoded, so at
retrieval fill in details. EX/ item not in film, claimed they saw it 7% of the time when
“a” was used, 18% when “the” was used (pre-supposes there was a broken headlight)
Verbal labels can distort visual memories
- pax given pics w/o verbal labels. Later reproduce figures from memories, based on 1
of 2 labels. When reproduce 1 figure, looked closer to label than original
- Q wording (post-encoding, at retrieval) influences how info is retrieved
Misinformation Effect
- event memory influenced by misleading/wrong post-event info incorporated as part
of original memory
- Explanations =
(1) Memory replacement theory = misleading info replaces (over-write) original
memory, then permanently lost. An unlikely explanation a) see event = yield sign  b)
receive misinfo (stop) OR non-misleading (yield)  c) forced-choice recognition
memory test *both groups higher than chance. Yield OR stop sign  35% accuracy if
they received misleading info. Yield OR no U-turn  *if correct = as likely to say U-turn
sign as stop sign b/c original memory should have been lost. BUT was no accuracy diff
for misleading info. Info still in memory, even if there is interference
(2) Misinfo acceptance = believe info in post-event is T b/c questioner is authority
(3) Blocking theory = original/misleading info co-exist in memory (encode original
and mis-leading info w/in Q) BUT misleading info more recent so obscures original
(4) Source monitoring theory = memory of Q confused w/ memory of scene (occur
w/ similar misleading info). Confuse source of what saw/heard as from same place
Eyewitness Confidence
- false memory experiment shows sometimes confidence high while accuracy low
- eyewitness testimony requires accuracy/confidence; low accuracy can be confident!
- jury likely to accept info as accurate if juror is confident (even if inaccurate)
- for eyewitness confidence to be admissible, has to be highly accurate/confident
Factors that increase confidence (but don’t necessarily lead to accuracy):
(1) post-identification feedback (info about quality of report): if another witness
agrees, original eyewitness feels more confident, doesn’t mean memory more accurate
(2) subsequent info that another witness chose same person  increase confidence
(3) Each time Q is asked, more confident in R (even mis-leading post-event info)
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(4) external motivation to remember (ex/ $ for most accurate): more willing to
answer and more confident, but aren’t always more accurate
* weak correlation b/w confidence and accuracy (moderate in unmotivated pax)
Police Interviews
- close ended q’s (restrains = inaccurate)  open-ended q’s (complete R w/o leading)
- interrupt witness (hard to retrieve subsequent info)  give witness time to finish R
(don’t disrupt [ ] or retrieval cues)
- pre-determined order q’s  relevant follow-up q’s (account of previous answers)
Improving Police Interviews: Cognitive Interview
Retrieval Rule Empirical Basis Goal
Reinstate mental context Encoding Specificity Improve match b/w encoding and
retrieval contexts  better retrieval
Complete reporting
few orders Complex memory
access to many cues  better recall
few POV
Enhanced cognitive interview
(a) Min distraction (b) subject speak slow (c) pause b/w R and q’s (d) appropriate
lang for witness (e) Follow up w/ interpretive comment (f) reduce anxiety (g) Avoid
judgment/personal comments (h) Review description of events/people
18 19
Improving Police Interviews: Cognitive Interview
- cognitive interviews generally produce most accurate info
- However: (a) slightly more false info than standard interview (b) effective right after
crime (LT: memory vulnerable) (c) more valuable for recall of peripheral than central
details (d) unclear how individual guidelines of interview contribute to effects
Eyewitness identification
- eyewitness need to identify a suspect from a line-up (w/ distractors)
- issue: eyewitness may recognize suspect from mug-shot, not crime scene (motivated
to pick the person who most resembles original suspect)
- Conclusions: Don’t let witnesses see suspects; interrogate w/o asking leading q’s
Issues with mug-shots and line-ups
- incorrect eyewitness testimony is leading cause of F convictions
- eyewitnesses assume perpetrator is in line-up = IF not presented, may pick out
another person. IF incorrectly identifies someone, ability to identify later is worse
- recall via sketch artist poor, b/c faces not encoded as feature set, rather holistically
Face recognition: inversion effect
Margaret Thatcher Effect
- harder to recognize a face when upside-down compared to when its up-right
- change 1 feature on a face, may not notice if inverted. When upright, obvious b/c
when 1 feature changes, spatial rep of features/dimensions on face changes
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Improving Lineups: similar distractors
- relative judgment principle: if distractors don’t resemble real perpetrator, one
who comes closest may be selected. To solve  Line-up similarity: all distractor
items fit description given by witness and diverse (no indv should stand out) AND add
distinctive features to foils if target has distinctive feature (reduce mis-identification)
Biased Line-up?
- people likely (based on physical similarity, distinctive features) to choose a suspect;
some features/aspects more likely to be identified as suspects, bias to choose them
Improving line-ups: instructions
- Instructions should include statement that perpetrator might not be present F mis-
identification drops 42%. Otherwise, strong compulsion to select someone
Improving line-ups: sequential presentation
- traditional line-up simultaneously; vulnerable to relative judgment principle (select
closest to perpetrator). Sequential line-up forces people to compare photo they see w/
memory (b/c witness doesn’t know whom will be seen next or how many photos will
be seen  focus on indv face)
Unconscious transference
- Eyewitness mistakenly identifies innocent bystander as perpetrator
- (1) Blending theory: at retrieval assume 2 indvs are same (encoding: don’t diff b/w
2) *Reduced if witness knows these are 2 diff ppl (2) Source monitoring theory:
witness remembers person, fails to remember situation they interacted w/ them
Recovery of Lost Memories?
- lawsuits have relied on eyewitness testimony of repressed memories that lay
dormant for years (often relate to abuse), “recovered” by family member or therapist
- Claim: repression follows stress, returned to consciousness w/ removal of stress
- Problem: repressed memories or F memories (based on misinfo)?
Recovered memory vs. False Memory
- are repressed memories accurate? Hard to falsify (1 person’s word against another)
- In some cases, traumatic info is misremembered or simply “made up”
- problems in method used to cue person to retrieve memories = hypnosis (retrieve
accurate/inaccurate info), suggestive q’s (may add misleading info, retrieve F info),
dream interpretations (describe dream, make inaccurate interpretations)
- if repressed memories exist, should show normal forgetting and interference
Can false memories be implanted?
- Asked pax how T or whether these plausible memories/events actually occurred to
them. Over 3 sessions = 1st: T events, 2nd: T events, some F, 3rd: higher F events
False Memory in the Lab
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