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Lecture 6-- Eyewitness Testimony.docx

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York University
PSYC 3310
Justin Friesen

Lecture 6: Chapter 4: Eyewitness Testimony Eyewitness accuracy can be studied in… 1. Field Studies  Higher external validity  Cannot manipulate variables  Assumptions about what has occurred  Most difficult PEOPLE QUESTIONS: height, weight, age (50% correct)  Most difficult OBJECT QUESTIONS: make/model of car (59% correct) 2. Lab Studies  Know what actually occurred  Can manipulate variables  BUT, cannot duplicate seriousness or consequences of actual events  Target Present: Correct ID 44%, False Rejection 33%. False ID 23%  Target Absent: Correct rejection 57%, Don’t know 16%, False ID 27% *People are more accurate in the field than the lab, why?*  Event with REAL consequences  Involved witnesses are more accurate  But people get it wrong sometimes! Troy Davis, wrongfully accused of shooting a cop outside a BK, eyewitness testimony locked him up and had him executed. Witness later recanted testimony. HOW DO EYEWITNESS ERRORS OCCUR? Atkinson & Shiffrin Multi Store Model of Memory 1. Encoding Factors that affect encoding  Stress: US soldiers in a mock, intense captivity trial were asked to ID interrogator. 70%accuracy in low stress condition & 40% accuracy in high stress conditions. Results are flipped if speaking of “false identification”  Weapon Focus: 73% accurate when no weapon present & 31% accurate when a weapon was present. People rarely see weapons so they focus on them when they see them in real life situations, therefore taking away time they are looking at the culprit. This can be trained to be controlled  Cue-Utilization Hypothesis: explains weapon focus. Suggests that when emotional arousal increases, attentional capacity decreases  Own Race Bias: unfamiliar faces more difficult to remember than familiar ones. When perceiving faces from our own race, we tend to perceive them deeply. When perceiving faces from other races we tend to categorize them Also called: CROSS RACE EFFECT, OTHER-RACE EFFECT Physiognomic Homogeneity: explains own race effect, says that some races have less variability in their faces. “they all look the same” 2. Storage Storage Problems  Witness Contamination: when witnesses talk to each other, their accounts of the crime may mesh and contaminate each other’s account. This works through memory distortion and normative and informational influences & source amnesia  Source Amnesia: inability to remember where, when or how previous information has been acquired. Difference between memory or knowledge of something AND “meta” knowledge or FROM WHERE WE KNOW THIS 3. Retrieval Environment Input Sensory MemoryShort Term Memory (between these are REHEARSAL & RETRIEVAL) Long Term Memory Methods of Retrieval 1. Free Recall (questioning)  Hypnosis  Cognitive interview  Information can be skewed my leading or suggestive interview questions 2. Lineups (photo lineup more often used than Live line-up) A. Simultaneous Lineup  Presents all lineup members at one time to witness  A RELATIVE JUDGMENT is made meaning the witness compares the lineup members to one another and the person that looks most like the culprit is identified B. Sequential Lineup  Lineup members are presented serially to the witness ad the witness must make a decision as to whether the lineup member us the culprit before seeing another member. Witness cannot ask to see previous photos and do not know how many photos there are  Witness more likely to make an ABSOLUTE JUDGMENT meaning that ea
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