Chapter 5 notes.doc

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PSYCH 3860
Denis Mc Carthy

Eyewitness Testimony • Power of Eyewitness Testimony ◦ Quality often determines outcome ◦ Most people believe in accuracy of observation and memory ◦ Research: eyewitness testimony at least partially unreliable ◦ Research also documents conditions that affect reliability and accuracy • Human Perception ◦ Sensory input organized meaningfully ◦ Processors in cerebral cortex ◦ Interpretive yet non conscious ◦ End product selective, incomplete • Memory ◦ Encoding (Acquisition) ▪ Stress ▪ Individual differences in stress response (anxiety) ◦ Storage ▪ Post event info ◦ Retrieval ▪ Unconscious transference ◦ Memory is malleable ◦ New experiences affect memory ◦ Misleading new info distorts memory • Studying Eyewitnesses ◦ Experiments ▪ Manipulate factors in lab (how lineup is conducted, lighting conditions) ▪ Test the magnitude of the effect of the factor ▪ Know the ground case ▪ Lack ecological or external validity ◦ Archival analysis ▪ Look at actual cases and correlate factors with correct/incorrect ID ▪ Ex 21% of people select fillers from actual lineups ▪ Better external validity ▪ Not always clear on accuracy • System and Estimator Variables ◦ System variables ▪ Controllable by the justice system • How lineup is conducted ◦ Estimator variables ▪ Factors that affect eyewitnesses that need to be estimated in determining accuracy • Lighting conditions ◦ Post-diction variables ▪ Factors that are correlated with reliability • Speed of ID, confidence of ID (however confidence not always legit) • Influences on perception and memory (estimator variables) ◦ Frequency and length of exposure ▪ Longer and more frequent: more accurate ▪ Rate: fast moving events difficult to process ▪ Witnesses over-estimate duration ◦ Significance of event ▪ Witness may not interpret as significant ◦ Effects of drugs and alcohol ▪ Recall reduced ▪ State dependent memory: may recall memories under same conditions you stored them in ◦ Violence level of event ▪ High violence, low recall ▪ Number of perpetrators significant (> perps,
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