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Eyewitness testimony

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Richard Farnan

on 15 November 2012

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Transcript of Eyewitness testimony

Eyewitness testimony Evidence given by a witness to a crime - used by police and the criminal justice system Devlin (1976) Looked at 300 cases where EWT was the sole evidence
74% of the 300 cases gained a conviction Rattner (1988) Reviewed 205 cases of wrongful arrest. In 52% of the cases the wrongful arrest had occurred due to mistaken EWT Planning an investigation into the value of EWT Things to think about.... Anxiety and weapon focus Use textbooks to make notes Contradictory findings What were they? Leading questions These are questions which influence how the question is answered

An example of a leading question would be:
How amazing is Mr. Farnan's tie?

An example of a non-leading question would be:
Do you like Mr. Farnan's tie? 1. The tree
2. Brown
3. Pink
4. A teddy
5. Phil
6. A plane
7. Black
8. 9
9. The floor
10. Moustache and beard Now write the answers Experiment - girls stay here, boys leave the room and take your memory books to read the case of Jean Charles de Menezes - come back in 5 minutes Girls - you are going to watch 2 videos. You will be asked questions about your memory of the 2nd video. Stand on one leg to watch both videos Factors affecting EWT Problems with this study Boys - you will be shown 2 videos. You will be asked questions about the second video only. Who would make the best eyewitness? Why? Encoding Storage Retrieval Could be poorer as they have less existing knowledge, or schemas
Makes it difficult to encode the info
However, this could also be an advantage as they are not influenced by expectations Children omit more information than adults but can be retrieved through relevant, non-suggestive cues
However, leading questions are more effective on children (Goodman and Reed, 1986) Children’s EWT is likely to suffer more than adults’ as the storage level increases (Thomson, 1988) Ceci and Bruck factors Key study - Kent and Yuille Richard has been accused of assaulting a woman outside a chip shop in Leeds city centre. The only evidence comes from three different eyewitnesses.
The first, Katy, is 23 and lives with Richard. She says that Richard was the one who was assaulted first and was only acting in self-defence.
The second, Marc, is 13 and has testified saying that he saw Richard push the woman in question and slap her in the face with his right hand
The thirs eyewitness is Mildred. She is aged 72 and had been drinking that afternoon. Mildred claims to have seen Richard aim a blow at the woman. She suffered an anxiety attack after the incident.

a) Is there enough evidence to convict Richard?
b) What evidence from investigations into age's affect on eyewitness testimony could you present to the court if you were Richard's defence lawyer?
c) What research from anxiety could you bring in to further help Richard? Outline and evaluate research into factors which affect eyewitness testimony Schemas A pre-existing building block of knowledge Cohen examples Brewer and Treyens key study List
- designing a study Describe what research has shown about the effect of schemas on eyewitness testimony Schemas are building blocks. Bransford and Johnson showed that schemas can aid memory recall. List showed that memory of usual events is better than of unusual events. Brewer and Treyens found people would remember items usual to an office better than items unusual to an office. These studies lack ecological validity. They also involve the use of deception. Also, independent groups design is used which is bad
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