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

Describe and Evaluate Research by E.Loftus into Eye Witness Testimony, the implications of the findings and the Cognitive Interview.

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Describe and Evaluate Research by E.Loftus into Eye Witness Testimony, the implications of the findings and the Cognitive Interview. One area of importance into memory research is Eyewitness Testimony which can have important applications to everyday life. Understanding our memory of events that occurred when a crime or incident has happened, details of who and what happened surrounding the crime or event relies on eyewitnesses and their recollection of the crime' or incident. A legal term) Eyewitness Testimony is crucial as it plays an important role in evidence used in criminal investigations and trials. However research into eyewitness testimony has shown that Eyewitness Testimony is not always accurate. One of the leading researchers in the field of Eye Witness Testimony (EWT) is Elizabeth Loftus who along with her colleagues carried out extensive research in EWT. In 1974 Loftus & Palmer conducted an experiment to investigate the accuracy of memory after witnessing a car accident, particularly to see how information provided to a witness by way of leading questions after the accident would influence their recollection of the accident. In the first experiment carried out under laboratory conditions, 45 participants divided into 5 groups were shown 7 clips of events leading up to a car accident, after each clip they were asked to answer some questions but the crucial question was "About how fast were the cars going when they ...... into each other? There were 5 conditions in the experiment, each being the independent variable (verb) used to fill the blank in the question they were smashed, collided, bumped, hit and contact with the dependent variable being the speeds estimated by the participants. The results showed that the verb used in the question influenced the participants speed estimates, with smashed getting a speed of 40.8mph, collided 39.3mph, bumped 38.1mph, hit 34mph and contacted 31.8mph. A Second Experiment was carried out whereby 150 student participants divided into 3 groups of 50 viewed a short (one minute) ...read more.


Recall from reverse order- describing the event as it would have been seen from different viewpoints, not just your own. As a result the cognitive interview leads to better memory of events and helps witnesses - recall more relevant information than compared to the traditional method. Gieselman et al (1985) tested participants using videos of simulated crime and then tested different groups using the standard police interview, under hypnosis and the cognitive interview and found the cognitive interview method extracted more information from the participants than the other two methods. Fisher et al (1990) also demonstrated the effectiveness of the cognitive interview technique in real police settings in Miami. Police detectives were trained to use cognitive interview techniques with real crime witnesses and found the cognitive interview method increased the amount of information recalled. Overall what research done into eyewitness testimony has greatly improved and as result the cognitive interview rites have helped in many cases. The cognitive interview has strong supporting research, Kohnken et al for example, reviewed research into eyewitness testimony and found that the cognitive interview increased the amount of correct information recalled by 48%, compared to the standard interview. Also, Stein & Memon (2006) found that the cognitive interview was effective because people remember more when given cues. They made Brazilian female cleaners watch a video of an abduction, and then used the cognitive interview and standard interview to gain eyewitness reports, finding those who were in the cognitive interview condition not only recalled more, but were accurate in the information recalled. More importantly the cognitive interview has helped reduce the number of incidences in the miscarriages of justice based on eye witness testimony. Research in the United States reveals that 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing is due to eyewitness misidentification, which is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions in the USA. As far back as the late 1800s, experts have known that eyewitness testimony is prone to error, and that scientific study should guide reforms for identification procedures. ...read more.


Kocsis et al (2002) suggests that more experienced detectives are not as good at profiling perhaps because they have preconceptions about what they are looking for. With the bottom up approach British profiling treats each crime scene as individual taking the characteristics for each case and examining only those, not comparing them with others. The top down approach could lead to profilers missing important and unique evidence that is individual to that case. However the bottom up approach is time consuming and expensive to do and may mean it takes longer to identify suspects. The top down approach will narrow down the list of suspects quickly, which could lead to the crime being solved more quickly. The bottom up approach to profiling is carried out by specialist Psychologists with experience in criminal investigation. This may mean they have too many stereotypical views about suspects, which may influence their ability to profile effectively. Kocsis et al (2002) suggests that more experienced detectives are not as good at profiling perhaps because they have preconceptions about what they are looking for. Whereas the top down approach can be used by anyone as it doesn?t rely on the ability or experience of any one individual. Both the top down and bottom up profiling approaches have helped the police and on many occasions been the sole reason for a criminal?s arrest. Both methods have been shown to gain the results they set out to achieve which shows they are reliable. However both approaches assume that the criminal will show behaviour patterns and characteristics associated with that type of person such as serial killers or rapists. This is showing the offender profiling method to be completely deterministic. Furthermore Holmes (1989) showed that merely 17% of all FBI arrests were contributed by the offender profiling approach. Similarly with Holloway (1997) in England where he discovered that the profiling approach helped with 16% of cases. This still does show a significant contribution to arrests but not as much as would be thought, especially considering the money which is spent on these profiles. ...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 Cognitive 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 Cognitive Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    In this essay I am going to contrast and compare three approaches in psychology ...

    4 star(s)

    According to the theory of reinforcement, these financial helps are positive reinforcements (rewards) for 'good' behaviours (get more educated). Social learning theory is another approach to behaviourism of Albert Brandura. It 'emphasizes the importance of observing and modelling the behaviours, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others.'

  2. A counselling Interview

    did sense that Lee perhaps felt more under pressure to 'perform' at this stage. We also agreed upon a 'contract to counsel,' under-lining the expectation that counselling was being offered in a formal capacity, and ensuring that Lee knew what was involved for him as a client.

  1. Memory is an important area of study in Psychology because it underpins our other ...

    If the experiment was to be done again subjects with a wider age range should be selected to stop generalisation. The study uses participants from the same western culture, to avoid ethnocentrism it should be carried out in a range of different cultures, to see if the same results were recorded.

  2. Summarise the aims and context of Bennett-Levy & Marteau (1984) Fear of animals: What ...

    Another advantage of using questionnaires is that they are economical to produce and distribute. However, participants may not have answered the questions truthfully, in this research the participants may have lied about their fears because they were embarrassed. Men may be less likely to admit to some of their fears because they are worried about how they may be perceived.

  1. Describe the application of behaviorist perspectives in health and social care. Describe the application ...

    For example as a human we associate sharp pointy things as being dangerous or harmful. A person that is scared of needle would have bought this association to the sight and feeling of a needle and a needle is made to pierce the skin an there for be a unwelcome

  2. Evaluate 3 Approaches to treating Mental Disorders: Psychodynamic, Biological and Behavioural Approach.

    Many of Freud?s predictions are questionable, an example of this was his view that all men have repressed homosexual tendencies cannot be disproved, but if you do find men who have no repressed homosexual tendencies then it could be argued that they have them as they are so repressed they are not apparent.

  1. Outline and evaluate factors influencing eye witness testimony

    Loftus et al. (1987) showed participants a series of slides of a customer at a restaurant. In on version the customer was holding a gun, in the other the customer held a chequebook. Participants who had been shown the version with the gun present tended to focus on the gun itself and not much else.

  2. Explain how the cognitive interview differs from the standard interview and assess the effectiveness ...

    Overall, the CIT method has proved to be far more effective in producing accurate results. Fisher et al. (1999) also tested the effectiveness of the CIT method by training detectives in Florida and then applying it to real witnesses. The conclusion being that the amount of information recalled was significantly

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