Credability of Eyewitness Testimony Essay

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Credability of Eyewitness Testimony

Is Eyewitness testimony reliable and accurate? Include case studies to back this up.

EWT refers to evidence supplied by people who witness a specific event or crime, relying on their own memory. Statements often include descriptions given in a criminal trial and subsequent identification by individuals who were present at the crime scene. EWT is likely to dependent on reconstructive memory(Bartlett,1932) which describes how memory is more than a passive recall. It is the active process of building up memory using fragments to fill gaps of an event in memory plus the expectations and assumptions (schema) of that event. This form of EWT is not 100%
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Emotion can also affect the accuracy of memory. It can enhance recall or suppress it. Loftus (1979) was called as an expert witness on the psychology of memory initial of a shop assistant, Melville, had identified a robber Jose Garcia. One of the points she made into memory was research, was about the effects of emotion. Melville was in a state of extreme distress after seeing a colleague was shot, and psychologists have found that arousal of stress have a negative on memory recall- especially the STM.

Although the EWT is useful, Bartlett and Loftus has been very useful in highlighting the potential biases in EWT and these insights have been applied to the cognitive interview. Loftus' research on EWT has had a positive impact on police and court procedures, as it highlighted that leading questions should be avoided, and so the answer must not be implied in the question; and it identified the distorting effect of post-event information and so information should not be given away to the witness inadvertently (or not) in questioning. For example, the
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