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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Eyewitness ID

6 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 268
Deborah Connolly

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Chapter 5 Eyewitness Identification1 ResearchLoftus 1984 examined 347 cases for which the only evidence was eyewitness testimony and found that the defendant was convicted inof the cases Inof those convictions there was only one eyewitnessCutlerPenrod 1995 found that mock jurors would convict a defendant twice as often when the defendant was identified by a credible witness than when there were no eyewitnessesEyewitness ID plays a significant role in 75000 criminal cases annually in the USPenrodCutler 1999mistaken eyewitness IDs account for 4500 wrongful convictions each yearCostanzo 199712 innocent people executed each year many with faulty eyewitness ID Mistaken eyewitness IDs have led to more wrongful convictions than all other causes togetherFactors Affecting Accuracy of Eyewitness IdentificationsSYSTEM VARIABLESaffects accuracy of eyewitness testimony that the justice system has some control overEg the way a question is worded or how a lineup is constructed may impact accuracy of eyewitness ID which the justice system has some control over ESTIMATOR VARIABLESmay affect the accuracy of eyewitness testimony but the criminal justice system has no control over such as characteristics of the eyewitness or the circumstances surrounding the event witnessedEg the amount of attention that an eyewitness paid to a perpetrator how long an eyewitness viewed a perpetrator or the lighting under which a perpetrator was viewed MemoryWells WrightBradfield 1999memory is the mental trace of a previously experienced event dont believe that memory processes completely govern a witness report of a previously observed eventLoftus 1975 1979 2000asking misleading qs influences subsequent reports of a prior observed event o Some theorists say that misleading questions serve to alter original memory traces o Loftus 1975a stop sign is replaced in memory with a yield signndCreation of a 2 memory and demand characteristics bias the witness report toward misleading information Memory is only one element that places constraints on a witness testimonyWitness Characteristics Estimator variablescant be controlled by the justice system OWNRACE BIASMeissnerBrigham 2001 conducted a metaanalysis of 39 studies and found that withinrace identifications were more likely to be accurate than crossrace identifications Possible reasons for ownrace biasWe classify the facial features of someone from our own race in more detail and less superficially than the facial features of someone from another raceAs contact with different racial groupsour ability to recognize faces from those racial groups improves
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