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

Using your knowledge and understanding of Reconstructive Memory Theory explain how a memory is created and stored and why there may be inaccuracies in the recall of the eye-witness, then evaluate this claim

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐There are claims that Eye Witness Testimonies are an unreliable form of evidence to use in court and that they cannot be believed and are leading to false convictions. Using your knowledge and understanding of Reconstructive Memory Theory explain how a memory is created and stored and why there may be inaccuracies in the recall of the eye-witness, then evaluate this claim. [12 marks] Eyewitness testimony is the account that a bystander of a crime gives during a courtroom trial; this includes giving important details of the event, as well as identifying the perpetrators. They are accepted as a strong form of evidence in the judicial system, and oftentimes will lead to convictions. Bartlett suggested that memory was ?an imaginative reconstruction? of past events?influenced by our attitudes and responses to the events at the time they occurred. This means that any attempt to recall a memory involves the process of ?reconstructing? it. ...read more.

Middle

This study brings us to the conclusion that people reconstruct a memory to fit their own culture, and what they think is normal. This shows that people?s memories are not a useful tool in eyewitness testimony?as details key to the trial may not be recalled because they do not fit the person?s view of what is normal, and therefore is not a part of the reconstructed memory. A study by Allport & Postman also showed how stereotypes can affect a person?s memory. The study consisted of asking participants to recall a picture they had been shown of a smart-looking black man being attacked by a rough-looking white man with a razor; participants tended to recall the picture as the black man attacking the white one with the razor. This shows that memory is reconstructed by what we perceive to be the normal, stereotypical thing. ...read more.

Conclusion

The two theories differ because Levels of Processing goes further to explain why certain memories may not be as strong as others, based on the level of which a memory is formed; whereas Reconstructive Memory theory suggests that it is to do with a person?s opinion and attitude on what a ?normal? thing to see is, and is manipulated from that opinion. However, both studies offer insight as to why eyewitness testimonies may become unreliable as evidence in a court of law. Reconstructive Memory theory, therefore, suggests that as a result of memories being created and stored through schemas and imaginative reconstruction, memories become unreliable as a piece of evidence because people piece the memory back together according to what they think should be the normal way the memory went. This explains how eyewitness testimony is unreliable because it means that despite what actually happened, an eyewitness may give an account leading to the prosecution of a wrongly accused person because they have reconstructed the memory in an incorrect way as a result of stereotyping and their own beliefs. ...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

    Measurements of Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimonies

    4 star(s)

    He was unable to get a taxi so he decided to drive home, despite having been drinking. He was travelling at 38 miles per hour, lost control of the car and hit a garden wall. The house owner alerted the police, who then breathalysed John.

  2. SHORT TERM MEMORY

    Here 40 participants of each age group would be tested to give us a larger set of data in which different factors have been investigated. The target population will be 15 - 18 from Brinsworth Comprehensive Sixth Form School. It has also been discussed that the counting back in 3's

  1. Recall in Memory Using Mnemonics

    Method An experimental method will be chosen since maintaining control over the variables is easier than in a non-experimental method, thus decreasing the chances of extraneous variables confounding the results. It is also much easier for the researcher to directly manipulate the Independent Variable.

  2. Investigating the short-term memory

    It is clear that group 1 scored better recalls overall than those of group 2 as they has a higher mean shown on the graph. This was an average of 8.5 which when compared to an average of 7 demonstrates the difference between the two sets of data.

  1. everyday memory

    were more likely to forget current lists. - This finding illustrates proactive interference: memory of older learned syllables interfered with the recently learned items. Technique to investigate proactive and retroactive interference: PAIRED ASSOCIATION LEARNING TASK - Participants learn lists of word pairs. - Memory is subsequently tested by presenting the first word of each pair (the cue)

  2. Report on Psychological Research into Eyewitness Testimony

    Eyewitness testimony is the research that studies the accuracy of memory after an incident or significant event has taken place. The area is interested in the way schemas and reconstructive memory work, and how the mind unconsciously fills in blanks over details that we are unsure of.

  1. Introduction to Memory Techniques.

    Whatever can be used to link the thing being remembered with the image used to recall it is the association image. As an example: Linking the number 1 with a goldfish might be done by visualising a 1-shaped spear being used to spear a goldfish to feed a starving family.

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

    Again this was a controlled study but witnessing a real life crime is likely to be more stressful than an experiment and memory recall and accuracy will most certainly be affected. Another factor that influences eyewitness testimony is the 'Weapons Focus Effect' where the eyewitness is concentrated on the weapon

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