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8 Cards in this Set

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Leading Questions

Response-bias explanation: wording of question doesn't effect eyewitness's memory of event, but influences answer given.

Substitution explanation: wording of a question does affect eyewitness's memory, interferes with original memory, distorting accuracy.

Key Study 1: Loftus and Palmer (1974) - Leading Questions

PROCEDURE: 45 participants watched film clips of car accidents and then answered questions about speed e.g. about how fast were the cars going when they hit each other.

-5 groups given different verb in critical question: hit, contacted, bumped, collided or smashed.

FINDINGS: verb 'contacted' mean estimated speed = 31.8 mph

verb 'smashed' mean speed = 4-.5 mph

CONCLUSIONS: leading question biased eyewitness recall of an event.

Post-event Discussion (PED)

Memory Contamination: when co-witnesses discuss a crime, they mix (mis)information from other witnesses with their own memories.

Memory Conformity: witnesses go along with each other to win social approval as they believe other witnesses are right.

Key Study 2: Gabbert et al (2003) - Post-event discussion

PROCEDURE: paired participants watched video of same crime, but filmed so each participant could see elements in event that others could not. (both participants discussed what they'd seen)

FINDINGS: 71% participants mistakenly recalled aspects of event they hadn't seen in video but picked up in post-even discussion.

CONCLUSIONS: in control group (no discussion) no errors.

A strength is real-life application.

LOFTUS: claims leading questions can have distorting influence on memory, police need to be careful of question phrasing.

THEREFORE, research into EWT can improve legal systems and expert witnesses.

A limitation of Loftus&Palmer is use of artificial materials.

YUILLE & CUTSHALL: found witneses of traumatic real armed robbery had accurate recall after 4 months.

THEREFORE, shows using artificial tasks tells little of effect of leading questions on real EWT for real crimes.

A limitation is there may be individual differences.

ANASTASI & RHODES: found older peoples less accurate than younger people giving eyewitness reports.

HOWEVER, all age groups more accurate in identifying own age group.

THEREFORE, some age groups may be less accurate.

A limitation is many EWT research studies lack external validity.

FOSTER et al: what you remeber in real EWT has big impact in real life, not the same in studies.

- real eyewitnesses may apply more effort when trying to recall

THEREFORE, EWT accuracy may be greater in real world due to seriousness of role.