Eyewitness identification and reliable testimony essay

The victim of a crime is brought into a police station to sit behind a one-way mirror and identify his or her assailant in a line-up. Or, the eyewitness dramatically points to the alleged criminal sitting smugly beside his court-appointed defense attorney during the trial. There may be some cross examination about how dark it was and how good the witness's vision is, but in the movies the eyewitness always picks out the right person. Eyewitness testimony can play a big part in criminal court cases.

Eyewitness identification and reliable testimony essay

Deffenbacher reviewed 21 studies and found that the stress-performance relationship followed an inverted-U function proposed by the Yerkes Dodson Curve This means that for tasks of moderate complexity such as EWTperformances increases with stress up to an optimal point where it starts to decline.

Clifford and Scott found that people who saw a film of a violent attack remembered fewer of the 40 items of information about the event than a control group who saw a less stressful version.

As witnessing a real crime is probably more stressful than taking part in an experiment, memory accuracy may well be even more affected in real life. However, a study by Yuille and Cutshall contradicts the importance of stress in influencing eyewitness memory. They showed that witnesses of a real life incident a gun shooting outside a gun shop in Canada had remarkable accurate memories of a stressful event involving weapons.

A thief stole guns and money, but was shot six times and died. The police interviewed Eyewitness identification and reliable testimony essay, and thirteen of them were re-interviewed five months later.

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Recall was found to be accurate, even after a long time, and two misleading questions inserted by the research team had no effect on recall accuracy.

One weakness of this study was that the witnesses who experienced the highest levels of stress where actually closer to the event, and this may have helped with the accuracy of their memory recall. The Yuille and Cutshall study illustrates two important points: Misleading questions need not have the same effect as has been found in laboratory studies e.

Many people believe that memory works something like a videotape. Storing information is like recording and remembering is like playing back what was recorded. With information being retrieved in much the same form as it was encoded.

However, memory does not work in this way. It is a feature of human memory that we do not store information exactly as it is presented to us. Rather, people extract from information the gist, or underlying meaning.

In other words, people store information in the way that makes the most sense to them. We make sense of information by trying to fit it into schemas, which are a way of organizing information.

Eyewitness identification and reliable testimony essay

Schemas are mental 'units' of knowledge that correspond to frequently encountered people, objects or situations. They allow us to make sense of what we encounter in order that we can predict what is going to happen and what we should do in any given situation.

These schemas may, in part, be determined by social values and therefore prejudice. This can, therefore, result in unreliable eyewitness testimony. Bartlett tested this theory using a variety of stories to illustrate that memory is an active process and subject to individual interpretation or construction.

By this, Bartlett meant that we try to fit what we remember with what we really know and understand about the world. As a result, we quite often change our memories so they become more sensible to us.

When asked to recount the detail of the story, each person seemed to recall it in their own individual way. With repeating telling, the passages became shorter, puzzling ideas were rationalized or omitted altogether and details changed to become more familiar or conventional. For this research Bartlett concluded that memory is not exact and is distorted by existing schema, or what we already know about the world.

When asked to recall details of the picture opposite, participants tended to report that it was the black man who was holding the razor. Clearly this is not correct and shows that memory is an active process and can be changed to 'fit in' with what we expect to happen based on your knowledge and understanding of society e.

In a crime where a weapon is involved, it is not unusual for a witness to be able to describe the weapon in much more detail than the person holding it. In one version the customer was holding a gun, in the other the same customer held a checkbook.

Eyewitness Testimony, Helpful or Hinderance Essay Sample

Participants who saw the gun version tended to focus on the gun. As a result they were less likely to identify the customer in an identity parade those who had seen the checkbook version However, a study by Yuille and Cutshall contradicts the importance of weapon focus in influencing eyewitness memory.

The psychology of rumor. A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology.Validity of Eyewitness Testimony Validity of Eyewitness Testimony In today's court system one of the strongest pieces of evidence, or that most commonly accepted as fact by a jury, is eyewitness testimony.

Below is an essay on "How Reliable Is Eyewitness Testimony?" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples. On Oct. 10, , Fairbanks, Alaska, residents who had lived in the state at least a year received about $1,an equal share of the income produced by the sale of state's oil and other natural resources.

My background Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology Associate Professor of Psychology at ASU My expertise is in legal psychology: The reliability of eyewitness testimony How jurors (and judges) evaluate scientific evidence Extra-legal factors in courtroom decision making (emotion, race) Expert witness in eyewitness identification.

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People can have different interpretations of the same event. Eyewitness Testimony, Helpful or Hinderance; Eyewitness Testimony, Helpful or Hinderance Essay Sample Eyewitness Testimony, Helpful or Hinderance Essay Sample.

eyewitness testimony can still be a reliable source in any criminal investigation. As detailed above, the gender and age of eyewitnesses are proven variables that affect the.

The Accuracy of an Eyewitness Testimony