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

"It is clear that eyewitness testimony is entirely unreliable".To what extent does psychological research support this view on eyewitness testimony?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"It is clear that eyewitness testimony is entirely unreliable". To what extent does psychological research support this view on eyewitness testimony? 18 marks Plan - Studies which back up this view Loftus and Palmer 1974 Loftus et al. 1987 Loftus and Burns 1982 Wagenaar and Groeneweg 1990 False memory syndrome Registration Expectations etc. Registration Witness factors/event factors? With regard to the extent of psychological research which supports the view concerning the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, a number of judgements can be made. Firstly, one can refer to a study carried out by Loftus and Palmer in 1974, where one hundred and fifty participants were asked to watch a video of cars colliding, and then fill in a questionnaire about what they saw. The important question involved the speed of the cars at the point of impact. However, the question was phrased differently for different groups of participants. Some were asked "How fast were the two cars going when they hit each other"; others were asked the same question but with the word "smashed", "collided", "bumped" or "contacted" replacing the word "hit". ...read more.

Middle

Their recall for other details was also poorer, and they were less able to identify the man from a set of photographs. From this study, we can come to the conclusion that a salient detail such as a gun can focus attention, and so lead to poorer recall for other details of the event. In other words, participants seem to remember the most important details the most, and will focus all their attention on salient details like the gun (weapon focus), and miss out on other significant details of the situation. A third study one can take into consideration is the Loftus and Burns study, which was carried out in 1982 and portrays evidence that the violence of an event can also affect recall. Participants were shown one of two versions of a simulated armed robbery on video. One version included a scene of a boy being shot in the face while the robbers were making their getaway. The recall of detail of the event was much higher for participants who had seen the "non-violent" version had less accurate and less complete recall, not only for event immediately before the shooting, but also for events up to two minutes earlier. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this might only be partial. As with the influence of exposure time on memory, this too was demonstrated by Ebbinghaus (1885). It has also been shown in a naturalistic study of long term forgetting, carried out by Wagenaar and Groeneweg in1990. Seventy-eight survivors of the concentration camp, Camp Erika, were interviewed between 1984 and 1987 about their camp experiences. The information they gave was compared with earlier evidence they had given just after the end of the war. There was general agreement in the later interviews on basic information. All but three of the thirty-eight people who had been tortured by the camp commandant, for example, remembered his name. However, much of the detail had been lost. In conclusion, while basic information may be well remembered over time, details tend to be forgotten. On the whole, storage factors can affect recall. Basic information is often retained, but detailed information is lost over time. Memory can be supplemented by later information. It can be distorted by misleading information, known as the misinformation effect. This can also lead to completely inaccurate information being given. The misinformation effect has been challenged in terms of whether it is the result of memory impairment of the effects of bias in the testing situation. ...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. Peer reviewed

    To what extent does research support the view that eyewitness testimony is unreliable?

    3 star(s)

    Most of the errors in recall were substitutions, the other errors involved wrong placement of items. These findings suggest that participants were using schemas to ensure rapid encoding of the visual information available to them during their 35-second wait. The experiment showed that people can sometimes falsely remember objects that did not exist.

  2. Report on Psychological Research into Eyewitness Testimony

    Each time the story was retold, participants would make further adjustments to the text, making it increasingly become a more traditional English story. This shows how the participants used schemas and reconstructive memory to take the original story and unconsciously rewrite it in their minds to make it more coherent and easily remembered for them.

  1. "Eyewitness testimony differs from many other aspects of memory in that accuracy is of ...

    the 'War of the Ghosts'). Bartlett found that participants had changed the story they heard considerably, making it shorter and more like their own language e.g. "boats" replaced "canoe". Bartlett also found that the distortions increased with time and most of the errors made the story read more like an English story and to make it more coherent.

  2. Outline and evaluate the research into eyewitness testimony.

    They interviewed witnesses to a real life shooting. Some witnesses has seen the incident close, while some from further away. The findings from this study were that those who were closer gave a more accurate account, and those who were closest provided more detail. Also, misleading questions had no effect on accuracy and those who were distressed at the time proved most accurate 5 months later.

  1. Memory's Impact

    The participants then heard the second set of standardised instructions that were read out by the investigator. 9) The participants were given the recall sheet that had twenty spaces for each of the words. Participants were asked to recall as many of the words from the PowerPoint presentation in any order.

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

    Compare the American and British approaches to offender profiling. Offender profiling, sometimes referred to as criminal profiling is the method of trying to determine the likely mentality and demographic information of the offender in a crime. Holmes and Holmes 1996 suggested that there are three goals to offender profiling, firstly looking at social and psychological assessments of the offender,

  1. Discuss research into one factor which affects eyewitness testimony

    After 20 minutes they were all shown 15 pairs of random slides and had to select one slide from each pair, what they had seen earlier. There was a critical pair of slides, where one slide showed the red car stopped at ?Yield? sign, the other, a ?Stop? sign.

  2. Eye witness testimony is so unreliable that it should never be used in convicting ...

    ,the story became more conventional. This shows that participants decided to retell the without some of the facts which they were told. (Thomas H. Kramer, Page 6) The Innocence Project in the USA has facilitated the exoneration of 214 men convicted of crimes they did not commit as a result of faulty eyewitness evidence.

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