Angry Voices from the Past and Present: Effects on Adults’ and Children’s Earwitness Memory
Lisa Öhman, Anders Eriksson and Pär Anders Granhag
A critical review
Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
2013 Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 57 – 70
Word count: 3347
As the old adage goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Often for investigating officers, eye witness testimony and what is seen, is heavily relied on in order to prosecute crimes (Wells and Olsen, 2003). As such eye witness testimony and memory has become one of the most researched areas in Cognitive Psychology. What can be quite disconcerting is that from the research conducted into this…show more content… as the focus is behaviour relating to criminal and civil investigations whether it be interviews, decision making or expert evidence to name just a few (“wileyCDA,” n.d.). It is therefore of importance to have relevant and contemporary research to ensure that the criminal justice system conducts itself in a balanced and impartial way. After all in the English and Welsh judiciary system the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Using the most appropriate techniques that have empirical research to support its use will ensure that justice is carried out correctly. The authors set out to investigate what, if any, conditions would make the accuracy of aural recall more reliable on not only adults, but children also, since children from a young age can provide a testimony. For instance, in relation to child abuse cases, as such cases could occur at night in the dark, therefore the child’s earwitness testimony would be of importance as they would not be able to see to confirm who it was. Öhman et al (2013) investigated the effects of time delay (immediate or 2 weeks), tone of voice (normal or angry) and type of interview (global questions or scale ratings) in two separate age groups (11-13 or adults).
It would be virtually impossible to conduct a study on every possible effect on earwitness testimony in one go. Mullennix et al (2011) highlighted some factors