Eyewitness Testimony Research Paper

Amazing Essays
Eye Witness Testimony Paper
Janessa Gumz
Intro to Psychology

Eye Witness Testimony
2
Eye Witness Testimony Paper
Is eye witness testimony always reliable? An eye witness testimony is when a bystander gives the court their testimony describing what they observed in relation to the case under investigation. Because people can lie and can be judgmental, eye witness testimony is not always reliable, but it is considered to be reliable most times. Although perjury, or knowingly lying under oath, is illegal, the problem with eye witnesses is that their memory may fail them, so they may not be knowingly lying about something they say. In addition, anxiety and stress may impact the validity of the memory. According to the Yerkes Dodson Curve (1908),
…show more content…
On the other hand, if the eye witness is asked questions that lead them to answer in a particular way, the testimony can be faulty. Based on the information that I have found so far, I would say that eye witness testimonies are a valuable way to obtain information, but they should not necessarily be the decided factor of a case. Because there are some flaws with eye witness testimony, they are not always reliable.
Equally important in determining the reliability of eye witness testimony is the reconstruction theory of memory. This theory comes from Bartlett (1932), who’s famous study
‘War of the Ghosts’ showed that memory is not like a video tape recording, but we make “effort after meaning”. When what we remember conflicts with what we know and understand about the world, we change our memories so they become more sensible to us. Bartless proved that our memories are not photographic records, but they are individual recollections that are shaped by

Eye Witness Testimony
3
stereotypes, beliefs, and expectations. Neisser and Harsch (1992) studied the theory of flashbulb memories. They found that when an event is so intense it activates our attention to such an
…show more content…
One type of interview is the standard police interview. Police use a plethora of techniques while interviewing, including visual cues, the baseline method, behavioral analysis, reverse recall, and cognitive interview.
Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages. The most reliable way to question eye witnesses that has so far been discovered is cognitive interviewing. First, witnesses are made aware of all the events surrounding the crime without creating false memories or inventing details. Then, the witness is allowed to provide and open ended account of the situation. Lastly, the interviewer askes follow up questions to clarify the witness’ account, reminding the witness that it is acceptable to be unsure and move on. Although this has been called the most accurate technique of interviewing eye witnesses, it has not been implemented by all. Another type of interview uses hypnosis. The hypnosis technique has been associated with decreases in accuracy, false confidence in incorrect information, and increased suggestibility to leading questions.
Because of these reasons, hypnosis is not a preferred method of interviewing. Based on

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    The Insanity Defense

    • 1935 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Although the Insanity defense is questioned and has negative views, it is a very helpful defense for those who are sane, but commited a crime.The insanity defense helps preserve life and gives second chances. Citizens need to understand that there are many laws in place to help this denfense only to be used when necessary. The insanity defense is a plea that helps figure out the real criminal versus humans who need help and rehabilitation. Delusion is irrelevant and so is any form of intoxication and most citizens do not realize that. Statistics have proven the use and effectiveness of this…

    • 1935 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    One theory for the disparity in sanctions for prosecutors is that prosecutorial misconduct is underreported and rarely sanctioned in the first place. (Georgetown Journal) This is due to the fact that many cases of procedural misconduct are not reported to disciplinary boards. The reason for this, is that is most likely that it would be the criminal defense attorneys that did the reporting as opposed to the defendant. Criminal defense attorneys are skeptical about reporting misdeed by prosecutors for fear of retaliation on their future clients. "Defense attorneys know that their future clients are at the mercy of the [prosecutor 's] office and its wide-ranging discretion in determining charges and plea offers in future cases."…

    • 1434 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The psychologist can be very beneficial in assisting in the interviews. Most police psychologists are experts in their fields they can give an advantage to the officers interviewing regardless if they are participating or just giving advice on the interviews. The witness has been through a traumatic event and may not remember everything that happened at the time of their interview. The police psychologist can make a witness feel more at ease and not feel pressured or scared to speak to the police in a clearer mind at the interview. During a psychologist autopsy the psychologist should always be the one in charge.…

    • 1066 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Some factors, however, affect a good recollection and an accurate one. Anxiety and stress is an example. A theory of this is stress impacts EWT in a curve like diagram called the Yerkes-Dodson Curve (1908) which states, that the efficiency of…

    • 586 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Essay On Eyewitnesses

    • 1203 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Eyewitnesses play a key role in police investigation’s, but how likely is it that they remember correctly. Eye witnesses’ are not as reliable as one might believe and I will be explaining this reason. The eyewitness memory can be of any value good or bad in court cases, depending on the demand which is hard due to the subjectivity of the human perception. The story told by the witness, which depends on the precision of human memory and nothing is more important to a jury than a good eyewitness. As humans we think that our minds can remember everything we see and read like a movie being played back in our heads, but it’s not and that’s why we think that eyewitness testimony so powerful and convincing.…

    • 1203 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In Bernard Roth’s book The Achievement Habit, Bernard Roth had weak arguments in his book, but the chapter “Reasons are Bullshit” is the worst. Roth used too much pathos, which can be hard for people to relate too. His ethos might come of as demeaning or cocky to the reader, making Roth lose his credibility. The last reason is that his logos is confusing, so people will doubt his claim. Bernard Roth may be a Professor of Engineering and academic director of…

    • 973 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    There is not a single thing that could stand on its own to stop it from happening. The main options that would work the best in my opinion are body cameras, squad car cameras, every police officer being required to have a taser that is placed on the opposite side of the gun they are carrying, and police officers being held accountable for their actions. Implementing body cameras would be like automatically putting a reliable eye witness on every scene. In most cases, there would be no question as to who did what first, and that on its own would help a lot of instances become a lot clearer as to who should be at fault. The same goes for squad car cameras, they can catch action and audio that can be very helpful in solving a case.…

    • 2614 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Eyewitness Testimony

    • 1026 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Mistakes in perception can become facts, and peoples can memory fade. According to Barbara Tversky 1999 a professor of psychology at Stanford university, “all other things equal, earlier recounting are more likely to be accurate than later ones. The longer the delay, the more likely that subsequent information will get confused with the target memory”. Memories are susceptible to manipulation, alteration and bias (Azar, 2011). Witnesses can distort their own memories without the help of examiners, police officers or lawyers, every act of telling and retelling is tailored to a particular listener.…

    • 1026 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Essay On Body Cameras

    • 1355 Words
    • 6 Pages

    This shows that people are actually standing up to themselves, when they know they haven’t broken any law. The public is more confident when they know they haven’t broken any laws because they would know that the police officer was wearing a body camera and that it was recording everything that was going on at that moment when he got arrested or accused of a crime. Overall, body cameras improve the system of courts and help the public defend…

    • 1355 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    People might ask to themselves what is a follow-up? a follow-up is when the investigator gathers all the evidences and evaluate them and also do interrogation to the witness from the scene. Having a follow-up investigation is not necessary in all the cases for example rapes and homicides a follow-up investigation it is really necessary. Sometimes you will find evidence years later after the crime took place or sometimes investigators they feel like they need to find the person who did it and they go back and re check all the statement or even re interview any of the witness who were in the scene when it occurred or re check the evidence re test DNA…

    • 1278 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays