National science day essay - Eyewitness testimony essay psychology

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only.38.9/page, hire Writer, we will write a custom essay sample. (1978) as cited by Wells and Olson (2003 they found that amount of attention given by the witness affects the identification of the attacker. According to The Innocence Project, 75 of eyewitness testimony which were used to convict suspected criminals in the United States of America was erroneous in light of DNA testing. However, over the years researchers have provided a great deal of empirical evidence to suggest that there are a number of limitations in the testimony of witnesses that must be taken into consideration. Scheck and Peter. APA, mLA, chicago, eye Witness, testimony. M, (December 31, 1969). Therefore, it can be said that age of witness also has an effect on eye-witness testimony and it poses as a risk for misidentifications. Witnesses also often give error-prone identifications whereby the witness fails to distinguish details of the incident. In one such case in New Zealand, a man named David Dougherty was found guilty of rape and abduction of a little girl who pleaded against him in the court of law as being the man that raped her (Cleave Gower, 2012). A study done by Clifford and Scott (1978 as cited in McLeod (2009) found that people who saw a movie of a violent attack cant remember much information about the event compared to the "control group who saw less stressful movie". Psychological research shows that eyewitness testimony is not always accurate; therefore it should not be used in the criminal justice system solely as a piece of evidence. Barlett (1932 cited in Gross 2010) introduced this approach to explain that people interpret and reconstruct events by using schemas - 'the generalized mental representations of everything that people understand by a given type of object or event based on past experience' (Gross 2010). Changes in facial characteristics also play a role in whether an eyewitness can recall what they saw. Witness also often taken in information learned after the incident into the memory. Retrieved July 14, 2012, from Lindsay,., Wells,. This case shows the errors made by the victim/ eyewitness and how certain she was of the suspect and The Innocence Project has proven that eyewitness testimony is often mistaken. Witness often cant properly recall an incident. In a study dealing with eye-witnesses testimony, "Weber State University professor Sheree Josephson" examined forty participants in a multi-racial area of the United States, they had the participants watch a video of a crime being committed. Postidentification Feedback Affects Subsequent Eyewitness Identification Performance. When the police have a suspect, a lineup of non-suspect will be chosen so that an innocent suspect is not mistakenly identified just because he was "standing out and so that the suspect does not escape just because he was blending in" (Wells Olson, 2003.

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Although DNA evidence exonerated Mr Dougherty of the crime. Rydell, mcAuliff, and expert opinions were clouded eyewitness due to the publicity of this case. Brewer 2008 suggested to the courts that rather than relying on the 15 metre rule. Lindsay, point out that if the participants were aware of the importance of their recall. In general, memory of the event may not be fresh and may be altered every time it is retrieved from memory and not only that.

Early research has cited that more viewings of potential suspects should theoretically improve the accuracy of the eyewitness choosing the offender Penrod. Elderly people mistakenly identifies at a higher rate than younger adults Wells Olson. An paper 1 explorations in creative reading and writing exam experiment done by Lindsay and Wells 1980 as cited in Wells and Olson 2003 shows that when the suspect and nonsuspect look similar. It was concluded that eyewitness recognition deteriorated as the distance between them and the target increased Wagenaar van der Schrier. And disguises can dramatically affect recognitionWells Olson 1996, when a lineup is shown to a witness they neither may nor may not contain the actual culprit.

Long time-lapse in retrieving a witnesss statements can stretch their recall memory.This usually happens when there is a time-lapse between the witnessing of the incident and questioning of the witness.


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It can be said that, manipulation of the line-up content can cause the testimony of the eye-witness to be questioned.Journal of Experimental Psychology : Human Learning and Memory, 4, 19-31.It has been thoroughly investigated and concluded that people are better at identifying facial features of their own race than those of other races (Meissner Brigham, 2001).”

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