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1. Unit 1<br />1524000201930<br />Models of memory The multi-store model, including the concepts of encoding, capacity and duration. Strengths and limitations…
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  • 1. Unit 1<br />1524000201930<br />Models of memory The multi-store model, including the concepts of encoding, capacity and duration. Strengths and limitations of the model The working memory model, including its strengths and limitations Memory in everyday life Eyewitness testimony (EWT). Factors affecting the accuracy of EWT, including misleading information, anxiety, age of witness Improving accuracy of EWT, including the use of the cognitive interview Strategies for memory improvement <br />Contents TOC o "1-3" h z u PAGEREF _Toc301440223 h 2Wrongfully Convicted by an Inaccurate Eyewitness PAGEREF _Toc301440224 h 3Reconstructive Memory Theory PAGEREF _Toc301440225 h 6The influence of misleading information PAGEREF _Toc301440226 h 8Anxiety and EWT PAGEREF _Toc301440227 h 12Weapon focus effect PAGEREF _Toc301440228 h 12Age and EWT PAGEREF _Toc301440229 h 14Cognitive interview PAGEREF _Toc301440230 h 16Strategies for improving memory PAGEREF _Toc301440231 h 18Past exam questions PAGEREF _Toc301440232 h 19<br />Wrongfully Convicted by an Inaccurate Eyewitness<br />43319701905By RUTH REISS<br />March 25, 2008<br />Julius Earl Ruffin knows all too well how inaccurate eyewitness identification can be.<br />On May 3, 1982, in a Norfolk, Va. circuit court, the 29-year-old was convicted of a rape that he did not commit and was sentenced to five life sentences.<br />The case rested solely on the testimony of the victim, Ann Meng, a young mother of three who confidently pointed to Ruffin as her assailant.<br />Twenty-one years would pass before Ruffin was able to prove his innocence with DNA evidence. He details his experiences in the book "Why Me? When It Could've Been You!"<br />Ruffin's story is not unusual. In fact, eyewitness identifications contributed to more than 75 percent of the more than 200 wrongful convictions in the United States that have been overturned on the basis of DNA evidence.<br />"Primetime" wanted to see what would happen if we set up scenarios where we asked onlookers to identify the person involved in a purse snatching.<br />We hired actors to play the role of the victim and the thief. Because scientific research has found that race plays a significant role in the accuracy of a witness' ability to identify a perpetrator, we chose three different actors for the experiment: a Caucasian, an African-American, and a Hispanic.<br />Along the edge of Atlanta's Piedmont Park we positioned seven hidden cameras to capture the scene from every possible angle. The customers were unaware of what was about to interrupt a leisurely weekend lunch at the outdoor cafe.<br />In the first scenario Justin, the white actor playing the "thief," walked up to Elizabeth, the "victim," and asked if she had a pen that he could borrow, explaining that he needed to write down a phone number. And then, suddenly his whole demeanour changed.<br />"Give me your purse! Sit down! Don't move!" he barked at her. Justin quickly grabbed the handbag and ran away.<br />Elizabeth was horrified and asked the other customers if they saw anything, knowing she'd need witnesses to help pick out the thief.<br />At that point ABC News correspondent John Quinones walked over to let people know that what just happened was not an actual robbery but instead an experiment about eyewitness identification. John asked the people to describe the thief.<br />Eyewitness Memory<br />Joe Donnelly recalled that "he had blond hair, had a hat on, about 35, 6 feet 1 inch."<br />But William Stark described him as "late 20's, white male … I would guess 5 feet 10 inches maybe."<br />Both were certain they could pick him out of a lineup.<br />But when we showed the videotape of the experiment and the bystanders' reactions to Professor Jennifer Dysart of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a psychologist who consults on criminal cases, she was doubtful.<br />"Eyewitness memory … does have its downfalls though, in that it is particularly susceptible to influences and biases," she said.<br />To test this idea we put together a line-up with six headshots of different Caucasian men, including Justin's, and showed it to the customers from Willy's Mexicana who represented many different races and ages.<br />We asked why they chose the photos they did.<br />William Stark noticed Justin's facial features and his hat, but added, "It's not so much that I recognize him exactly, but I tried to eliminate the ones that I strongly felt were not the guy."<br />It's exactly that kind of strategy that can lead to faulty identifications, according to Dysart.<br />"The lineup is supposed to be a memory test for the witness," she said. "And so therefore if you look at this particular lineup, this six-pack, you see it's almost like a multiple choice question … this tends to be the type of procedure that leads to inaccurate choices."<br />It's one reason this type of line-up is widely criticized.<br />Dwayne Winrow, a customer who came very close to the robber, was so sure about his choice that he claimed he "would probably go as far as to press charges."<br />But even though Winrow seemed very certain he chose the right person, it turned out that he was 100 percent wrong. Dysart cautions that "eyewitness certainty or confidence doesn't necessarily predict how accurate a witness is going to be." 25 percent of the customers got it wrong; they identified someone other than the actor Justin as the thief. <br />Cross-Racial Identification<br />The next set-up involved Aemon, a black actor. It was a perfect example of what happens during cross-racial identification — when someone of one race is asked to pick out someone of another race.<br />Amazingly, during the line-up every single one of the black eyewitnesses correctly identified the African-American "thief." One customer, Landon Williams recalled a key characteristic: his facial hair.<br />"I remember the hair that he had, the lower lip, it had connected to his beard," he said. But most of the whites got it wrong. Seventy percent chose someone other than Aemon. There's an interesting explanation for why the whites did so poorly and why the blacks did so well. It has to do with the particular details we notice and remember to describe when looking at people.<br />Dysart explained "that we tend to look maybe at the wrong cues. And so, for example, a white person would probably look at someone's hair and eye colour. Unfortunately, that's not very helpful if they're being asked to distinguish amongst black people or Asians, in which hair colour and eye colour really doesn't vary too much. "<br />Scientists at Stanford University wanted to look at what actually happens in the brain during cross-racial identification and what they found is fascinating.<br />They took brain scans of 19 subjects while they were shown more than 100 pictures of Caucasian and African-American faces. Later they were shown some individual faces that were part of the previous group and asked if they had seen them before.<br />The images produced by the brain scans showed that when a white person looked at another white face, the area of the brain responsible for facial recognition lit up, indicating that it is active. But when the white subject was shown a black individual's face, a much smaller area of the brain was highlighted and identification by the white person was less likely to occur, they said.<br />Perhaps this partly explains why eyewitness identification tends to be wrong. In experiments no one suffers the consequences of a misidentification. But in Julius Earl Ruffin's case he paid dearly.<br />Still, he sees the bigger picture. He forgave his accuser but he cannot forgive the system that relied on her testimony.<br />"I'd been in prison 21 years, you know? For a crime I didn't commit, and … what had happened had happened, and I still felt like that it was a mistake, you know? It had to be a mistake," Ruffin said. "And, she didn't make it by herself. The judicial system had something to do with it also, you know."<br />Read the article p.3 & 4<br />What research method was used?<br />Why was this research method used?<br />What was the IV?<br />What was the DV?<br />What conclusion can we draw from this experiment?<br />Facts on EWTThere have been 218 post conviction DNA exonerations in USA16/218 exoneratees served time on death rowAverage age of exonerees at time of their wrongful conviction was 26Races of exonerees134 african americans59 caucasions19 latinos1 asian americanEWT is the biggest contributor to this data...... why can EWT be so inaccurate?There are a few causal factors in inaccuarcy of Eye witness testimony, th eones we will consider on this course are: Schemas & reconstructive memoryLeading questionsAnxietyAge of witness<br />Reconstructive Memory Theory<br />The reconstructive memory theory is concerned with what happens when information is stored and retrieved from memory. Memory is not like a DVD where we mentally play back events and recall them exactly the way they happened. Bartlett suggested that memory is more of an “imaginative reconstruction” of past events; influenced by our attitudes and our responses to those events at the time they occurred.<br />We tend to try and reconstruct memories on the basis of what we think probably happened, what usually happens, and what must have happened and so on. For example, if we saw a car crash and the police interview us, we may tell them we are sure that we saw a lot of broken glass on the road after the accident (even though there may not have been any!). The reason for such an inaccurate memory may be that we thought that that’s what usually/probably happens when two cars crash.<br />Retrieval of stores memories thus involves an active process of RECONSTRUCTION.<br />We piece the event together using a range of information.<br />We use our schemas of things and events to reconstruct our memories of experiences. A schema is made up of all our previous experiences and expectations about an event. It can be thought as a “package of knowledge about a specific event”. For example our schema of a car crash may involve “broken glass”, “blood”, “chaos”, causing us to recall those things even though they may not have been present.<br />How does memory work according to Bartlett?<br />What is a schema? Give an example<br />How do schemas influence our recall?<br />Another study by Bartlett illustrated further the role that schemas can play in the distortion of information in memory. Participants were asked to memorise a short story called 'the war of the ghosts'. The important thing about this story is that it comes from a native American tradition, whilst the participants were British. Native American storytelling uses different conventions to European storytelling, and different assumptions are made about the knowledge that the listener is likely to have. So the schemas needed to understand 'the war of the ghosts' would not necessarily be possessed by a European participant. Bartlett hypothesised that his participants would find the story difficult to understand and memorise and, hence, that when they recalled it they would distort it in a number of ways. As he predicted, the participants' retellings of the story differed from the original in several characteristic ways: <br /><ul><li>The story became significantly shorter.
  • 2. Much of the detail was lost.
  • 3. Some details were changed e.g. 'seal hunting' became 'fishing'.
  • 4. The structure altered to become more 'Westernised'. </li></ul>The participants attempted to fit the story into their western schemas and, as a result, distorted it during recall. This showed that they were not recalling the information exactly as it had been presented to them, but were making a 'best guess' at the story, based on their own understanding. Bartlett called this the tendency to make 'efforts after meaning'. He concluded that we always try to recall things in a way that is consistent with our schemas and, hence, that memory is 'the imaginative reconstruction of experience'. <br />How could reconstructive memory affect eyewitness testimony? Explain your answer.<br />Evaluate the reconstructive memory theory.<br /> <br />The influence of misleading information<br />4979670-59690Loftus and Palmer (1974) Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction<br />Experiment 1<br />45 student participants were shown short video clips<br />They were split into 5 groups, with 9 participants in each one<br />All of the participants were asked:<br /> ‘About how fast were the cars going when they ________ each other’<br /> Each group was given a different verb to fill in the blank. These verbs were ‘smashed, collided, bumped, hit or contacted’.<br />What research method was used?<br />What was the aim of the research?<br />What research design was used?<br />In the first experiment, what was the IV and how many conditions were there?<br />In Experiment 1 what was the DV and how was it measured? <br />Results<br />Verb used in questionSpeed estimate (mph)SmashedCollidedBumped Hit Contacted <br />What is the conclusion to Experiment 1? <br />Experiment 2<br />150 student participants were shown a short film that showed a multi-vehicle car accident and then they were asked questions about it.<br />The participants were split into 3 groups (with 50 in each group).<br />One group was asked:<br />‘How fast were the cars going when they hit each other?’<br />The second was asked:<br />‘How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?’ <br />The third group was not asked about the speed of the vehicles<br />One week later, all participants returned and were asked:<br />‘Did you see any broken glass?’ <br />There was no broken glass in the film.<br />What was the aim of Experiment 2?<br />What were the IV and DV in the second experiment?<br />IV -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />DV --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />Results<br />Response Smashed Hit Control Yes 16 7 6 No 34 43 44 <br />In your own words describe Loftus and Palmer’s explanation of their findings, referring to the role that ‘external information’ plays in memory reconstruction<br />----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />Do these experiments reflect the way people would behave in everyday life? Explain your answer<br />--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />Read Loftus 1980 (in your booklet), did demand characteristics influence the participants?<br />--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />Evaluate Loftus and Palmer’s experiment<br />What conclusions can we draw from these two experiments concerning the accuracy of EWT?<br />Can you think of ways to avoid giving misleading information to eyewitnesses?<br />Read Yuille and Cutshall (1986) in your booklet.<br />Do their findings support Loftus and Palmer’s findings? Explain you answer.<br />What factors might explain the difference in the results?<br />Read Foster et al. (1994) in your booklet.<br />Do their results support Loftus and Palmer’s findings? Explain your answer.<br />What factors might explain the difference in the results?<br />Evaluate the influence of misleading information on the accuracy of EWT.<br />Anxiety and EWT<br />Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state where we fear something bad is about to happen. People often become anxious when they are in stressful situations. This is usually accompanied by physiological arousal i.e. pounding heart, shallow breathing and sweating.<br />Anxiety has a detrimental effect on memory generally. According to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, an increase in arousal improves performance but only up to a point. Once arousal has passed a critical point called the optimum, performance tends to decline. A possible interpretation of the research on violence distraction is that witnessing violence raises witnesses' arousal level past optimum, leading to poorer memory performance. <br />A graph illustrating the Yerkes-Dodson law. As arousal increases, performance improves, but only until the optimum point is reached. Thereafter, as arousal continues to increase, performance goes into decline. <br />-33020284480<br />Weapon focus effect<br />First described by Loftus: when people are in a stressful situation their attention is focused towards the most fearful aspect of the situation (i.e. a weapon) and away from the other details.<br />Read Loftus et al. (1987) p.18 Follens<br />Describe briefly the study.<br />What research method did Loftus use?<br />What are the advantages of this method? (Link with this study)<br />What are the disadvantages of this method? (Link with this study)<br />Read Christianson and Hubinette (1993)<br />Briefly describe their findings.<br />What research method did Christianson and Hubinette use?<br />What are the advantages of this method? (Link wit
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