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1. -339090-437515AS Psychology PSY1 <br />Cognitive Psychology Memory <br />Eye Witness Testimony<br /><ul><li>This booklet covers the…
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  • 1. -339090-437515AS Psychology PSY1 <br />Cognitive Psychology Memory <br />Eye Witness Testimony<br /><ul><li>This booklet covers the following sections of the syllabus‘Eyewitness testimony (EWT) and factors affecting the accuracy of EWT, including anxiety, age of witness. Misleading information and the use of the cognitive interviewAQA Spec A Section 3.1 </li></ul>Name ...........................................................................................................................................<br />What is Eye Witness Testimony (EWT)?<br />_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />19050288925Why are Psychologists interested in EWT?<br />EWT allows Psychologists to study theories on memory in real life situations; enabling them to show how memory works in everyday life. Research into the accuracy (validity) of EWT suggests it is an unreliable source of information; it is estimated that in the US alone there are about 10,000 wrongful convictions per year as a result of EWT. <br />In the UK the Devlin Report 1976 found that in 75% of cases where EWT was the only evidence the defendant was found guilty, many of these convictions were later overturned. In 1977 the appeal court rejected EWT without any other evidence in the case of Crown versus Turnbull. This set a precedent in the UK where CPS will not prosecute based on EWT alone further evidence e.g. CCTV, Forensic evidence etc is usually needed. <br />EWT is a legal term; Psychologist refers to eye witness memory (EWM) instead. EWM goes through 3 stages: <br />Encoding ............................................................... .................................................................................................................................................... <br />Retention .............................................................. ....................................................................................................................................................<br />Retrieval .............................................................. ....................................................................................................................................................<br />EWT in Context<br />T1061363719he CrimeAt 3.55pm on Thursday 28th September 1999, a man entered the West Bromwich branch of the Black Country Building Society on the high street. At the time there were three customers in the branch and one cashier working at the counter. The man approached the cashier and pushed aside the customer she was talking to. He then produced a handgun, which he raised in the air and shouted for the customers to lie down on the floor. They complied. He then pointed the gun in the face of the cashier and demanded that she fill a cloth bag with the cash from the till. At this point, the cashier activated the silent alarm, alerting the police. She complied with the man’s demand and put around £1500 in mixed notes into the bag. The robber then shouted for the cashier to lie down on the floor behind the desk. He warned the customers not to move and ran out of the branch. Before running out, he fired his weapon into the ceiling.The WitnessesPolice questioned four witnesses who were present in the branch when the robbery took place. They were:Gillian Thomas – the cashier, a 28 year-old womanMark Stevens – a customer, a 47 year-old small businessmanAmil Gupta – a customer, a 68 year-old retired machinistCathy White – a customer, a 19 year-old studentThe witnesses were interviewed at the scene as a group. In this first interview, there was some inconsistency in their descriptions of the robber and what had happened. Although all the witnesses described a white man in his 30s with a local accent, two of the witnesses claimed he had brown hair, whilst the other two claimed he had blonde hair (although they weren’t so sure). They were then taken to the police station and interviewed separately. The accounts they gave in the second interview contained fewer inconsistencies. All the witnesses now claimed the man had blonde hair. They were interviewed a third time some weeks after the crime occurred to see if they had recalled any more details. By this time, the police had identified James Taylor as a strong suspect and the witnesses were shown his picture to see if they could confirm that he was the man they remembered from the robbery. Mark Stevens and Cathy White stated that they thought it might have been him, but the remaining two witnesses were unsure. Subsequently, the witnesses attended the police station to take part in a line-up, at which all of them identified the man who was eventually convicted of the crime. This was several months after the crime. Prior to the trial, the witnesses spent several hours with the prosecution lawyers, who took them carefully through their statements to the police and their identification evidence from the line-up.The AccusedJames Taylor is a 32 year-old man with one previous conviction for robbing a sweet shop when he was 18. He served 18 months in prison for this crime, was released on parole and had not been in trouble with the police since. His name first came up in the investigation when the police received an anonymous tip off from a man with a local accent giving his name. Being unable to track Taylor down from his last known address, the police obtained a photograph and arranged for it to be shown on ‘Crimewatch’ along with an appeal for information. They also put the photo on a poster to be distributed in the local area and displayed in shops, community centres etc. Taylor gave himself up to the police accompanied by his solicitor, in order to clear his name. He claimed that he had been in Wolverhampton at the time, but was unable to supply any witnesses to confirm his alibi.The TrialThe trial took place at West Bromwich crown court before a jury drawn from the local area. The judge turned down an application for the case to be heard elsewhere. At the trial, the Crown Prosecution Service did not put forward any forensic evidence to link Taylor with the scene of the crime. However, they argued that he was a local man with previous convictions who was unable to account for his whereabouts when the robbery occurred. Their case hinged on the testimony of the four witnesses, all of whom had identified Taylor in a line up. In court they confirmed their identifications. Gillian Thomas particularly impressed the jury, saying she was ‘absolutely certain’ that Taylor was the man who had held up the building society at gunpoint.After deliberating for 45 minutes, the jury returned a guilty verdict. Sentencing Taylor to 5 years in prison, the judge commented that he wanted to send out ‘a clear message’ to other potential criminals that they would be caught, convicted and severely punished if they attempted to carry out similar crimes<br />In small groups you will re-read the case study of James Taylor. You will need to produce a document covering:<br /><ul><li>The possible reasons why the conviction was not safe.
  • 2. How the witnesses’ testimony might have been distorted
  • 3. The weaknesses and problems with the testimony used in the trial
  • 4. Link these weaknesses with the factors that you think can affect EWT </li></ul>-471170152400EWT and Misleading Information<br />We already know that our memories are reconstructions not reproductions (Bartlett 1932); therefore EWT should be treated with caution. There are a number of studies carried out on EWM many focus on the role of misleading questions. Loftus & Palmer (1974) concluded that EWT is largely inaccurate (in valid) and therefore unreliable in criminal cases. <br />Leading Question _____________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />Exam Practice<br />One of the questions below is a leading question. Identify which is a leading question,<br />A or B, and explain why it is a leading question.<br />A .What weapon was used during the attack?<br />B .Was a weapon used during the attack<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />............................................................................................................................(3 marks)<br />Key Study – Loftus & Palmer (1974)<br />Use the text books available to produce a summary of the study by Loftus & Palmer.<br />The first studyAim:Subjects:Design:Procedure: What actually happened?Results: Conclusion: What the results show!116840-497840-372836-334554The Second StudyAim:Subjects:Design:Procedure: What actually happened?Results:Conclusion: What the results show!Main evaluation issues for both studies:<br />Validity<br />Loftus & Palmer’s studies were Laboratory experiments which are considered to be low in validity in particular ecological validity. So can findings from studies conducted in laboratories tell us anything useful about EWM or do findings from real life tell us something different? <br />Summarise the findings of the following research<br />Yuile & Cutshall (1986)<br />The Impact of situation on EWT<br />You are in a bank that is being robbed; what would you expect to happen? <br />According to research by Tuckey & Brewer (2003) most of hold a schema ( a set of ideas about something) about the sequence of events during a bank robbery. Most people think the following:<br />A bank robber will be male<br />A bank robber will wear something to hide their identity<br />A bank robber will wear dark coloured clothing<br />A bank robber demands money from the cashiers<br />There will be a getaway car outside waiting for them<br />There will be a driver in the getaway car<br />How does this compare with what you imagined?<br />Anxiety – The Weapons Effect – Loftus et al (1987)<br />What is anxiety?<br />Why might it be the case that in violent crime (high anxiety) the accuracy of EWT is more unreliable?<br />This was explained by Loftus et al (1987) who claimed that during violent crimes, arousal may focus the witness more on central details of the attack (e.g. a weapon) rather than the peripheral details - leading to poor and inaccurate recall of details in violent crimes. <br />5502275200025During the study participants heard a conversation in an adjoining room either a:<br /><ul><li>Discussion followed by a man leaving the room with a pen with grease on his hands. </li></ul>OR <br /><ul><li>Heated discussion followed by a man leaving the room holding a pen knife covered in blood. </li></ul>Participants were then asked to identify the man from 50 photos. Those in condition 1 were accurate 49% of the time compared to 33% accuracy for condition 2. This phenomenon is called the weapons focus.<br />Loftus observed that during condition 2 the witnesses’ eye movements were focussing on the weapon drawing attention away from the perpetrator<br />Stebley 1992<br />4606925760095Conducted a meta- analysis of studies on weapon focus effect. The studies reviewed overwhelmingly showed that EWM accuracy of recall and perpetrator identification was reduced by the use of a weapon during the crime. supporting the idea of the weapons focus effect. <br />Anxiety and the Field of View – Oue et al (2001) <br />Showed participants a video that was either emotionally negative or neutral. During the clip numbers were shown briefly in the 4 corners of the screen. Those who had seen the emotionally negative film clip said they were more tense and had seen less numbers than those who had watched the neutral film clip.<br />Yerkes-Dodson Law ( 1908)<br />The relationship between emotional arousal and accuracy is not a simple one! If arousal (anxiety) is either too low or too high accuracy is poor. Accuracy improves under conditions of moderate arousal (anxiety).<br />Complete the diagram to demonstrate the Yerkes-Dodson LawPerformanceArousal <br />The Impact of Age on EWT<br />-160655722630Questions have been asked about the ability of both young children and the elderly to act as reliable eye witnesses. Who do you think would be a better eye witness … a young child or an old age pensioner?<br />Children as witnesses<br />We will start by looking at the evidence relating to young children. According to Brennan & Brennan (1988) 1/3 of lawyers questions were not understood by children aged 6 to 15. <br />5276850799465Samuel & Bryant (1984) showed that children asked the same question twice in an experimental setting tended to change their answer. If this also applies in real settings it has important implications for the legal system. <br />Older Adults as Witnesses- Wright & Holliday (2005)<br />It is commonly believed that as we age our memories fail. This would suggest that older eye witnesses are less reliable. Wright & Holliday (2005) examined the beliefs of police in relation to the use of people aged 60+ as witnesses… older witnesses were seen as less reliable than younger ones. This is supported by experimental memory test evidence. <br />Research Evidence on age & EWT<br />In your group you will be asked to investigate, summarise and evaluate a piece of research. Your group should be ready to complete a summary on the board in 10 minutes; record your notes below:<br />ResearchersSummaryEvaluationMemon, Holliday & Hill (2006)Coxon & Valentine (1997)Anastasi & Rhodes (2006)<br />The Impact of Individual Differences on EWT<br />796925-1905 Gender79692566040Alcohol/drugs525780119380Age<br />Cognitive Interviews & EWT <br />So far we have learnt that eye witnesses are: unreliable, succumb to stress and fall prey to misleading information easily. However they are still a valuable source of information when used correctly and given the correct memory cues. The police today often use techniques suggested by cognitive psychology over standard interviews. <br />Cognitive Interviews- Geiselman, Fisher, McKinnon & Holland (1985)<br />They proposed 4 key principles for the cognitive interview:<br /><ul><li>Recreate both internal (state) and environmental cues </li></ul>______________________________________________________________________________________________<br /><ul><li>Report everything they can remember </li></ul>______________________________________________________________________________________________ <br /><ul><li>Provide details in different orders</li></ul>____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ <br /><ul><li>Provide details in different perspectives</li></ul>____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ <br />535813071120Enhanced Cognitive Interview – Fisher, Geiselman et al (1987)<br /><ul><li>Distractions during witness interviews such as police question should be minimised
  • 5. The witness should be encouraged to speak slowly
  • 6. Pauses between any questions should be tailored to suit the individual to ensure they have responded fully to the last question.
  • 7. Witness anxiety should be reduced </li></ul>Miami Metro-Dade Police Department Robbery DivisionSummarise the findings on investigations into the use of CI by this police department<br />Criticisms of Cognitive Interviews<br /> Fisher et al 1987- although more correct statements are recalled the technique can lead to more false positives<br />Kebbel & Wagstaff (1996) Found inconsistency in how CI is applied by different police forces. Police officers also find the technique too time consuming<br /> Memon et al (2004) Claims police officers receive inadequate training (4hrs) provided to non experts. <br />Examination Questions<br /><ul><li>Explain why studies of eyewitness testimony have been criticised as lacking validity.</li></ul> ...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />...........................................................................................................................................<br />................................................................................................................... (5 marks)<br /><ul><li>Cognitive interviews have been developed to improve witness recall. Identify and explain</li></ul>Two techniques used in the cognitive interview.<br />Technique 1...............................................................................................................................<br />.....................................................................................................................................................<br />.....................................................................................................................................................<br />.....................................................................................................................................................<br />.....................................................................................................................................................<br />Technique 2 ...............................................................................................................................<br />..............................................................................................................................................
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