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PSYA1 - EWT - ALL topics

Misleading info/age/anxiety

Clare Schulze

on 9 November 2015

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Transcript of PSYA1 - EWT - ALL topics

What the specification says....
Eye Witness testimony
Experiment time.......
What is EWT & How does it relate to memory?

Eye Witness Testimony is the evidence given in court, or in police investigations by someone who has witnessed a crime or an accident
Eye Witness Testimony is probably the most valuable application of memory, to our everyday life
“Juries and police place great reliance on EWT” Kebbel & Milne (1998)
Several Factors are thought to affect the accuracy of recall.

We will be looking at the following in more detail;
Misleading information
Age of the witness
1. The Wrong Carlos
2. Cornelious
3. Ronald Cotton
4. Julius Earl Ruffin
You become the eye witness!
Did the woman call for help before or after she handed out the money?
Did the getaway car turn left or right?
What was covering the faces of the robbers?
Who else was in the shop?
What were the robbers wearing?
About what age and build were the robbers?
Can you recall anything else about them that would help the police – Hair colour? Accent?
What did they use as weapons?
Factors affecting the accuracy of recall
What are the implication for the reliability of EWT?
Witnesses are not merely recalling facts as they happened, instead they are reconstructing memories and these reconstructions are biased by schemas active at the time of recall.
Misleading Information
Research shows that EWT is affected by experiences occurring after the witness event.
Misleading information is a key factor, particular in the form of misleading questions.
There are two types of misleading questions;
1. Leading Questions - Questions that make it likely that a particpants schema will influence them to give a desired answer
2. Post-event information - misleading information added to a question after the incident has occured.
Key Study into the effect of leading questions
Another Loftus Study!
Age & the effects on EWT accuracy.
Cognitive abilities diminish with age
......So this would suggest that the accuracy of EWT decreases as people get older?
Not necessarily!!!
Factors have been identified that moderate the effect of age upon the accuracy of recall
Appear more willing to accept inaccurate information by adults for fear of contradicting adult authority figures.
Have more detailed and accurate memories when they identify an event as serious
Their answers depend on how they are questioned
Younger children are vulnerable to being misled by post-event information and leading questions.
Older people!
Older (not elderly) people have better recall than the young.
Appear more prone to misleading information
Research findings from all age groups are not always consistent - possible methodological flaws
So who is best?!
Older Vs Younger
Research to support
having better EW memory- Davies (1994), Yarney (1984), Loftus et al (1991) and Cohen and Faulkner (1989)

Research to support
having better EW memory- Flin (1992), Poole & Lindsay (2001) and Gordon et al (2001)
Type of research methods used.
Type of stimuli often suited the young more
college students vs older adults
Rhodes (2006) found al age groups performed best with photographs of people from their own age group - suggesting that the stimuli used in research could have an influence on findings
Anxiety is a heightened state of arousal
Deffenbacher (1983) used Yerkes-Dobson inverted U hypothesis to explain this phenomenon
Research evidence about the effects of anxiety on the accuracy of witness recall is CONTRADICTORY
Arousal can affect the increase of recall
As witnessing a real crime is probably much more stressful than taking part in an experiment, memory accuracy may well be even more affected in real life
Two Key Studies
Read P 34 - 35 of your text book then work through the exampro booklet
A Review!
It is claimed 72% of convictions overturned by DNA testing involved eyewitness testimony
A sample of 45 students watched slides, film clips or a videotape of car accidents.
They were asked for the speed of the car at the time of collision–after they were told that the car either smashed, collided, bumped, hit or contacted.
Estimate’s were higher for smashed at 40.8mph, compared with contacted at 31.8mph.
Also they were asked whether they saw any glass.
Higher percentages were found with regards to ‘smashed’ than ‘hit’.

Loftus & Palmer 1974
Outline one research study of the effects of misleading information. In your answer you should include details of what participants were asked to do and the results of the study (6)
Please complete this in your assessment book
In a car accident, participants were asked to give the speed of the cars before the accident. A video was shown to participants, and there were special questions about the speed of the car, such as: how fast was the car was going before the accident? However the word accident was changed to bumped, collided, hit and smashed.
The results found that these participants who had the word bumped suggested the least speed, whereas the participants with smashed suggested the highest speed.
This could be because, the word smashed leads that the speed was fast. Whereas collided suggest a slow speed therefore it leads to a specific answer rather than actual answer from participants.

How many marks?
You could do Post-event discussion
Are Children reliable eye witnesses?
Read the article on child eye witness
What does this suggest about children as eye witnesses?
How reliable are they?
Card sort: Finding
Look in your envelope. There are lots of cards with different pieces of research into age and EWT. Sort them into research that suggests older eye witnesses are more accurate, and research that suggests younger witnesses are accurate.

Summarise the findings in a table.

Exam questions
1. Revise!!

5 minute meeting to set targets for PS2
EWT: MLQ, Age & Anxiety
1 x 12m question
Basic RM (aims, hypothesis, Dv, IV)
48 Marks
Full transcript