The Effects of Emotion on Children’s Eyewitness Testimony Essay

1859 Words 8 Pages
During the identification and prosecution of a suspect, eyewitnesses are of the utmost importance. They provide crucial information that determines the fate of the criminal, whether their memories are true to the event or slightly altered. Many eyewitnesses, being the victims of these crimes, have strong emotions related to the event. It has been found that emotions play a role in the accuracy and completeness of memories, especially in eyewitness testimony (Huston, Clifford, Phillips, & Memon, 2013). When emotions are negative in content, accuracy increases for memory of an event (Storbeck & Clore, 2005; Block, Greenberg, & Goodman, 2009). This finding holds true for all types of eyewitnesses, including children. There is no difference in …show more content…
Therefore, when talking to young eyewitnesses, questioners must be mindful to ask questions that are emotion-focused. Overall, it is evident that emotion plays a large role in children’s eyewitness testimony, and this has practical implications in the real world.
In this paper, I will discuss the importance of emotion in eyewitness testimony, followed by the differences between children and adults in eyewitness testimony. Further, I will discuss how emotional focusing can be used during the questioning of children.
Emotions play a significant role in eyewitness testimony, and are of interest to many psychologists. This is due to the fact that emotion has a large role in memory—specifically for aversive events. Crimes, being aversive in their nature, are very conducive towards testing this type of emotional memory. It was found that memory for aversive events are more complete than memory for neutral events (Huston, Clifford, Phillips, & Memon, 2012). In one study, adult participants watched slightly different versions of a scenario; one where a woman was mugged, and one where she was asked the time. In both of these versions, a woman withdraws money from an ATM, and walks down a trail into a wooded area, followed by a man. In the mugging condition, the man raises his voice, grabs her purse, and runs away with it. In the time condition, the man asks the woman what time it is, and as

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