Eyewitness Testimony

1131 Words 5 Pages
I. Research Question:
Laura Smalarz and Gary L. Wells conducted a study, Post-Identification Feedback to Eyewitnesses Impairs Evaluators’ Abilities to Discriminate between Accurate and Mistaken Testimony. The main research question in this study was whether feedback interferes with evaluators’ abilities to discriminate between accurate and mistaken identification testimony. This study is interesting because many people have been wrongfully convicted because of mistaken eyewitness testimonies. This study tackles the question from the evaluator’s point of view and their ability to notice the difference between an accurate and a mistaken identification testimony. In the 1990’s they found that 75 % of the wrongful convictions were released due
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Introduction & Methodology Sections:
The purpose of this study is to focus on discrimination, “the ability of testimony evaluators to believe accurate witnesses more than they believe mistaken eyewitness” (p.195). To evaluate will confirming feedback increase the perceived credibility of mistaken eyewitness more than it increases the perceived credibility of accurate eyewitness? This study was conducted with 140 participants, who were college students and received course credit for participating in the study.
This study is compared to the Douglass et al. (2010) and MacLean et al. (2011) studies that were conducted. Those previous studies tested whether confirming feedback to eyewitnesses harms testimony evaluator abilities to discriminate between accurate and mistaken eyewitness-identification testimony. In contrast to Douglass and MacLean the study conducted by Smalarz and Wells had a different main focus. Douglass and MacLean only used mistaken eyewitness in their studies, Smalarz and Wells, tested both mistaken and accurate eyewitness.
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The participants were not originally told the real reason behind the study at first, but then they were informed they were going to help identify a guy who committed a crime. The participants were shown a video of 28 seconds of a fake crime scene, where a man in the airport swapped bags with another passenger. The quality of the video was very good and the participants were shown the man in the video from different angles where his face was shown clearly. Then they were told that the object in the bag was a bomb and the reason behind the study was to see if they were able to identify the culprit. Based on this crime scene that was created the study was divided into two

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