Eyewitness testimony is an important area of research within cognitive psychology and human memory.

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Shinbert Aisam                                                                                                   Homework

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Eye Witness Testimony

 Eyewitness testimony is a legal term that refers to an account given by a person about an event they have witnessed.  For example they may be required to give a description about a trail of a car accident they have witnessed.  This includes identification of criminal also details about the crime scene.  Eyes witness began hundred years ago but it only started to take off in 1970s. It is one of the strongest pieces of evidence in criminal trials all around the world and is generally seen to be a reliable and helpful source of evidence for the jury. However sometimes innocents citizens are accused and convicted on the basis of eyewitness evidence. This happens because the human memory is not perfect and eyewitnesses sometimes just get it wrong also the brain is always making stuff up and people don’t usually doubt their memory. It appears that when a new object is mentioned it is integrated into the old memory and subsequently indistinguishable from what was originally seen. Eyewitnesses may provide detailed accounts of events and the amount of detail has been found to correlate with the likelihood of a conviction (Bell and Loftus, 1989). The first known case of a psychologist testifying in a court of law as an expert witness was in 1896. Albert Von Schrenk-Notzing testified at the trial of a man accused of murdering three women and used his research on memory to explain how the publicity before the case could have altered the recollection of witnesses during the court proceedings. In 1901 German psychologist William Stern carried out memory studies. The participants were asked to look at a picture for 45 seconds and then recall what they saw. His study found that the more time that had elapsed between studying the photograph and answering his questions, the more inaccurate the subject memories became. Stern also observed that when people are asked inaccurate questions they recall false information.

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Eyewitness testimony is an important area of research within cognitive psychology and human memory. Cognitive psychology tells us that, in general people memories are fairly fallible. Juries pay close attention to eyewitness; most of the time the witness is a reliable source of information. Nevertheless, research found that eyewitness testimony can be affected by many psychological reasons; Anxiety, Reconstructive Memory, Weapon Focus, Leading Questions.

Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state where we fear that something ruthless is about to happen. People become anxious when they are in stressful situations. Anxiety tends to be accompanied by arousal e.g. a pounding heart, ...

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