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Chapter 5

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PSYC 2400
Jenelle Power

Chapter 5Eyewitness TestimonyEyewitness testimony is one of the most compelling types of evidence presented in criminal trialsInformation about the likelihood and types of mistakes made by eyewitnesses is vitally important in terms of justiceEyewitness Testimony The Role of MemoryA large part of eyewitness testimony rests on memoryThe concept of memory can be viewed as a process involving several stagesThe encoding stage occurs first when you perceive and pay attention to details in your environmentThe encoded information passes into your shortterm holding facility short term memory Your short term memory has a limited capacityTo make room for other new information information in your short term memory passes into your longer term holding facility long term memory Information can be accessed or retrieved as neededNot every piece of information will go through all the memory stages and factors can affect each stageNot all details from an event will be encoded nor will all information in short term move to long termMemory is not like a video recording in which an identical representation of the event is stored and then can be played on requestOur memory can change each time we retrieve the event some parts of the event may be embellished or guessed at because we cannot remember all the detailsEyewitness memory retrieval can be broadly partitioned into either recall or recognition memoryRecall memory refers to reporting details of a previously witnessed event or personRecognition memory refers to determining whether a previously seen item or person is the same as what is currently being viewed How do we Study Eyewitness TestimonyResearchers interested in studying eyewitness issues can examine data from actual crimes They can use archival data such as police reports or they can examine witnesses in naturalistic environments by accompanying police to crime scenes and interviewing witnesses after the police have done their jobAlternatively they can conduct laboratory simulation study is the most common paradigm used to study eyewitness issuesThe Laboratory SimulationTo study eyewitness memory by using a laboratory simulation an unknowing participant views a critical event such as a crime
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