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Chapter 1

Psychology 2990A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Lie Detection, Psych, Deterrence Theory


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2990A/B
Professor
Doug Hazlewood
Chapter
1

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Psych 2990a
Chapter 1: Psychology and the Law
The Canadian Justice System
the Canadian Justice System is composed of criminal and civil law
steps in the legal process are intensely social psychological
first impressions of the accused and of witnesses have a powerful effect on police
investigators and jurors
the legal system provides a great setting to examine basic psychological processes
and because of its immense importance in daily life.
Eyewitness Testimony
the legal system assigns a great deal of significance to eyewitness testimony
the testimony given can be affected due to the rewards being offered for information
on the case
numerous witnesses claimed that, with each trial, their initially sketchy memories had
become sharper and more accurate
systematic experiments have confirmed that jurors rely heavily on eyewitness
testimony when they are deciding whether someone is guilty
jurors also tend to overestimate the accuracy of eyewitnesses
Why are eye witnesses often wrong?
eyewitness identification is a form of social perception, it is subject to a number of
distortions
to be an accurate eyewitness, a person must successfully complete 3 stages of
memory processing: acquisition, storage, and retrieval of the events witnessed
acquisition: process whereby people notice and pay attention to information in
the environment
how much time they are given to watch and the nature of the viewing
condition can affect this stage
distance between the eyewitness and the suspect is also significant in
determining successful acquisition
should also keep in mind that eyewitnesses of a crime are usually afraid -
the more stress people are in, the worse their memory is
an eyewitness is more likely to focus on their weapon than their actual
physical features (73% accuracy without weapon and drops to 31% with a
weapon)
the information people notice and pay attention to is also influenced by what
they expect to see
people are better at recognizing faces within their own race, a phenomenon
called own-race bias
accuracy is reflected with how much contact they have had with the
specific race
storage: refers to the process by which people store in memory information
they have acquired from the environment

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just like photos, memory fades away with age
memories cannot be altered or retouched - people can become confused
about where they heard or saw something
reconstructive memory: the process whereby memories for an event
become distorted by information encountered after the event has occurred
information that we obtain after witnessing an event can change our
memory of an event
the way polices and judges ask questions (misleading questions) can cause
a problem with source monitoring (the process whereby people try to
identify the source of their memories)
retrieval: process by which people recall information stored in their memory
lineups seem to have a higher success rate than showing eyewitnesses
only one person
a number of things other than the image of the person that is stored in
memory can influence whether eyewitnesses will pick someone out of a
lineup - even the slightest resemblance can determine the decision
when forming a line-up, the following should be remembered:
ensure that everyone resembles the witnessʼs description of the suspect
tell the witness that the person suspected of the crime may or may not
be in the lineup
do not always include the suspect in an initial lineup
make sure that the person conducting the lineup does not know which
person in the lineup is the suspect
present pictures of people sequentially instead of simultaneously
present witnesses with photographs of people and sound recordings of
their voices
composite face programs should be avoided (facial reconstruction using
computer technology)
try to minimize the time between the crime and the identification of
suspects
Judging Whether Eyewitnesses Are Mistaken
pay careful attention on how confident the witness is - we tend to believe those
who sound more confident
Does certainty mean accuracy?
a witnessesʼ confidence is not strongly related to their accuracy
correlation between participantʼs confidence that they had made a correct
identification and the accuracy of their identification was only 0.29
Signs of Accurate Testimony
study done on a photo lineup about a man who stole money
inaccurate participants said they used a process of elimination, comparing
each face with one another
accurate participants said that the face just popped at them
subsequent studies show that people are most accurate when they make their
judgment quickly - in 10 seconds or less
The Problem with Verbalization
studies show that trying to put an image into words can make memories worse
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