Eyewitness Research Paper

2537 WordsApr 26, 201211 Pages
Eyewitness Testimony Eyewitness testimony is defined as, “an area of research that investigates the accuracy of memory following an accident, crime, or other significant event, and the types of errors that are commonly made in such situations.” Much emphasis is placed on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony as often-inaccurate eyewitness testimony can have serious consequences leading to wrong convictions. Eyewitness testimony is a powerful tool within any field, particularly that of justice, as it is a readily accepted form of evidence that allows for convictions. However, tests conducted by Loftus have shown an enormous swing from a non-guilty verdict, to guilty within the same case, simply through the introduction…show more content…
We can store the main features of the events, without having to store the details. We make sense of information by filling in oddities. We distort memories for events to fit in with prior expectations, and lastly, we may use out schemas to provide the basis for a guess. Schemas, therefore may lead to distortions in memory. Research on schemas by Brewer and Treyens supports Bartlet in his claims. The study involved participants waiting in an “office” that contained 61 objects. Some were comparable with ordinary office schemas others were not. They were less successful at recalling the incompatible items. Most of the errors in recall were substitutions. These findings suggest that participants were using schemas. At the retrieval stage, recall was influenced by the schemas participants had of what objects are usually contained in an office. Bartlett’s research shows us just how much memory can be interfered with and that memory is not stored passively as it is often perceived to be. Some may strongly argue then against the accuracy of eye witness testimony, with the evidence supplied by Bartlett, depending so much on eyewitness accounts is an extremely unreliable source, although some may contain elements of accuracy, some criticise the importance placed on eyewitness testimony. However Bartletts experiment has been criticized for using folk tales that he assumed would be less
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