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PSYC 3310 (60)
Chapter 5

PSYC 3310 Chapter 5: Chapter 5

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York University
PSYC 3310
Jennifer Bazar

Chapter 5 Encoding gathering info and putting it in a form that can be held in memory Storage holding encoded info in brain over time Retrieval accessing and pulling out stored info at later time Info regarding witnessed event may not be well encoded, even when we do make an effort to pay attention, our attention sometimes lapses and crucial info does not get stored, what we do store in memory is selective, inexact replica of what we actually saw and heard We tend to forget as time passes Memories become more vulnerable to revision and corruption Distortion can occur during process of retrieval We may not have necessary cues to locate and reinstate stored memory Errors in memory can occur at all 3 stages Eyewitness Testimony and the Legal System Mistaken eyewitness identification leads to more wrongful convictions than any other type of evidence When a case against an accused depends entirely on or to a large extent on eyewitness testimony, the jurors will often be cautioned by the judge about the inherent dangers that can corrupt eyewitness testimony Guidelines for Evaluating Eyewitness Testimony Model Jury Instructions in Criminal Matters provides judges with instructions that can be given to jurors to help them evaluate eyewitness testimony 1. Reliability of witness (do they have good eye sight? Ability to observe event impaired? How accurate was eyewitnesses judgment of distance) 2. Circumstances under which observation was made (lighting? Duration of observation? Visibility?) 3. Description of the observation given (how specific? Did eyewitness express certainty?) 4. Circumstances of the procedure used to obtain identification (how much time between observation and identification? Lineup procedure fair?) Most of these factors difficult to apply in actual crimes Difficult to evaluate witnesses level of attention Must rely on witness to tell what kind of opportunity they had to observe Whether they paid close attention to the crime No precise measure of attention In most cases we cannot know how long the witness was actually able to study the face of the perpetrator People consistently overestimate the duration of a brief event, especially if the event is stressful
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