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eyewitness testimony

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An investigation to analyse interaction between language and memory ABSTRACT The following experiment is a modification of the Loftus & Palmer experiment. This measures the difference in responses in the 'smashed' and 'bumped' condition after participants are subjected to reading a passage describing a accident. 60 participants were selected out of which 30 were male and 30 female. Equal no. of participants of each s*x were subject to both the conditions. The results supported the hypothesis that the mean score in the 'smashed' condition will be higher than that of the 'bumped' condition. INTRODUCTION Eyewitness testimony plays an important role in the criminal justice system. Many cases have been given a judgement purely on the basis of eyewitness testimony. Numerous cases of mistaken identification have led to grave concern in the society. Not only does the government have to provide huge monetary compensations but the life of the convict and his family is very severely affected. It is at such times when one wonders how important it is to go on false evidence and punish the innocent for a crime and put society at peace until finding that the convict was innocent. This led to research in the loop holes of eyewitness testimony and how they can be avoided. Kassin, Ellsworth & Smith (1989) ...read more.


The participants were asked to answer the question which asked them to give an estimate of the blood alcohol content of the person in the accident. The only difference was that in condition one the word used in the passage and question was 'bumped' and in condition 2 it was 'smashed'. It was made sure that there were equal numbers of male and female participants. From the 30 male 15 underwent condition 1 and 15 condition 2. Similar was the case with the females. RESULTS The mean no. of digits typed in the bumped condition was 138.33 (sd=45.02), whereas the mean no. of digits types in the smashed condition was 195.03 (sd=61.78). This difference was found to be significant using an independent samples t -test , t(58)= 4.06, p<0.001 N Mean Score Standard Deviation bumped 30 138.33 45.016 smashed 30 195.03 461.776 t-test for Equality of Means T df Sig. (2-tailed) response Equal variances assumed -4.063 58 .000 DISCUSSION The results of this experiment support the experimental hypothesis. They signify that the construction of a question systematically affect the answer of the witness. Levene's test for Equality of Variances (as shown in appendix D) indicated that the likelihood of the population variances being equal in the case of the 'smashed' and the 'bumped' condition scores is 0.161. ...read more.


BEFORE PROCEEDING, PLEASE INDICATE YOUR s*x AND AGE IN THE AREAS PROVIDED, AND THEN CHECK THAT THE BOX LABELLED 'PARTICIPANT CODE' IS COMPLETED. s*x: MALE/FEMALE (Please circle one) AGE: PARTICIPANT CODE: _______________________________________________________________ Please read the following short vignette, and then answer the question printed below it. John Adams left his friend's house at 2.20am. Although he had been drinking, John decided to drive home because he had been unable to get a taxi. On his way home, John took a short cut. While he was travelling at 38 miles per hour, he lost control of the car and smashed into a garden wall. The police arrived shortly afterwards in response to a call from the house owner, and breathalysed John. Question Please estimate John's blood alcohol content relative to the British legal limit when his car smashed into the wall (e.g. 200% = twice the limit, 100% = on the limit, 50% = half the limit). You can give any number, and this should be entered into the box below: APPENDIX C -ETHICS FORM APPENDIX D - RESULT Means Case Processing Summary Cases Included Excluded Total N Percent N Percent N Percent response * condition 60 100.0% 0 .0% 60 100.0% Report response condition Mean N Std. Deviation bumped 138.33 30 45.016 smashed 195.03 30 61.776 Total 166.68 60 60.739 ?? ?? ?? ?? Aditi Handa 1 ...read more.

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