• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analyse the Studies into the Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Introduction. Eyewitness testimony?s are a common tool used in court and is used by the jury to come to a verdict. Unfortunately, as many psychologists have proven, eyewitness testimonies are very unreliable. Memory is often defined as ??an internal record or representation of some prior event of experience??(purdy, Markham , Schwartz & Gordon, 2001). Memory is on of the most important and valuable mental process and without memory we have no past because learning is lost. However, our internal record may be composed of less detail or more than the actual event or experience. In everyday life we father and store memory for later use, everything from the names of new business contacts to the location of our favorite store. During this process we accumulate vast amount of seemingly useless information e.g. what we had for dinner last night? Cognitive psychology explains learning process by gathering information and organizing it into mental schemata. Therefore, the way we select and use the information is what determines the relationship between any stimulus and response. (Karen Huffman, 2004) Atkinson and Shiffrin?s Multi Store Model In 1968, Atkinson and Shiffrin put forward two-stage theory of memory. They argued that we have two separate memory stores; a short-term one and a long term one. Their theory explained that the short term memory store act as a first stage for storing of longer-term memories. ...read more.

Middle

The last group was a controlled group and was not asked any question about the speed of the cars. The results of the study proved that the wording of the question had affected the recall of the motor accident. The first groups mean estimate of the cars? speed was 10.5 mph whereas the second groups mean estimate was 8.0 mph. Loftus and palmers study proves that eyewitness evidence can be easily distorted by information presented subsequently and can be altered by manipulation. However, many researchers have questioned this interpretation, arguing that misleading subjects simply leads them to question their original memories. Loftus and Palmers study lacked ecological validity as all the participants were young and had very little or no driving experience prior to the experiment. The importance of Lawyers and police officers knowledge on leading question is very crucial. Leading questions can cause the witness to recall the incident differently and reconstruction of memory in order for the new information to fit into event, resulting in an unreliable eyewitness testimony.(McCloskey and Zaragoza, 1985) Cognitive interviews. Psychologists have tried to design techniques to improve memory retrieval. In 1985, psychologist Geisselman founded a cognitive interview involving the use of four key concepts to improve eyewitness recall. Theses included; recreating the context of the incident, recalling every detail, viewing the situation from a different point of view other than your own and to report the incident using a different order of event. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are two types of cue that help recall, context and state. Researchers suggest that recall will be best when an individual tries to recall the information in the same environment that they learned it in, this is know as context dependent memory e.g. when a student tries to recall information in an exam, they will be better at recalling in an environment which is similar to the exam environment. (Godden Baddeley, 1975). State dependent memory is where an individual?s physical state can influence and recall information e.g. state cues included, happiness, fear and sadness etc.(Michael W.Eysenck, 2000). In conclusion, many studies and cases have proven that false convictions came down to unreliable eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony can refute or support the overall facts of cases however; details of testimony?s should not over rule the actual evidence presented in court. Eyewitness testimony can be affected by leading question, level of anxiety or stress when the event took place, age, the presence of weapons and reconstructive memory. All theses factors should be taken in to consideration when an eyewitness testimony is presented. In the recent years, psychological research into eyewitness reliability and memory has resulted in an improvement in CIT used by police and the awareness of court leading questions. However, an increase in depth of training given to interviewees about theses factors and more psychological research on eyewitness testimony will help improve and eliminate theses factors. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effect of the Level of Processing on the amount of information recalled

    4 star(s)

    They found no differences in recall between any of the words - all G words had been rehearsed entirely for the purposes of the experiment (maintenance) and length of time in STM had had no effect at all. Evidence is against the Multi-Store Model of memory, information does not automatically pass from STM into LTM when rehearsed.

  2. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    They went on the train as passengers when there true purpose was to conduct an experiment-this is deception to train crew. 2) They did not get permission to conduct an experiment on the train, 3) The persons who helped were not informed they were part of an experiment, 4)

  1. "It is clear that eyewitness testimony is entirely unreliable". To what extent does psychology ...

    This was a laboratory experiment with five conditions. Participants were shown a video of a car accident involving a number of cars. They were then asked to describe what had happened as if they were eyewitnesses. The participants were asked a number of questions such as "About how fast were

  2. whether leading questions can affect a person's memory of a question and insert an ...

    On the other hand, Bartlett's research into memory was revolutionary because he was the first person to suggest that memory was an active construction process. An eyewitness is someone who has seen someone or something occurring and can recall and bear witness to it.

  1. AS Communication Studies Presentation

    I am fully aware of the concept 'non-verbal leakages'. This is often associated with body language, though it is not only to do with physical appearance. Issues involved often include: proximity, posture, paralanguage, eye contact, gestures and dress code. I will try to minimise any 'leakages' which might occur, revealing my nervous disposition.

  2. Effect of category and hierachy on recall

    When they were asked to recall the words, group 1 recalled 65% of the words and group two only recalled 19%. This implies that the LTM not only stores information by organisation but also by categorisation. If the idea of how these words are stored in the memory is correct

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work