‘The language used in eyewitness testimony can alter an individual’s memory’, the Loftus and Palmer study was carried out to test that hypothesis. Two experiments were carried out within the study. The study had a quasi-experimental design. Experiment one involved forty-five students participates, the participants were shown various films of automobile accidents, after the participants viewed the films they were questioned about what they have just seen. A number of questions specific to the automobile accident were presented in a questionnaire to the participants, however the question contained a paramount question of interest, this being
Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has been particularly concerned with how subsequent information can affect an eyewitness’s account of an event. The fact the eyewitness testimony can be unreliable and influenced by leading questions is illustrated by the psychology study by Loftus and Palmer (1974). The aim of the study was to test their hypothesis that the language used in eyewitness testimony can alter memory. To test this, Loftus and Palmer asked people to estimate the speed of motor vehicles using different forms of questions.
Jo’ana Meyer is a sociologist at the Rutger’s University who has carried out valuable research on children’s susceptibility to leading and suggestive interviews in the context of court testimony. She has discussed the effects of stress, prompting and imagination on children’s memories and powers of recall. She stresses the importance of Milgram’s research and points out that children are likely to obey authority at an even higher level than the adults in Milgrim’s experiments. Meyer has made important suggestions about ways to interview children that would increase the accuracy of their testimony. (“Meyer’” Inaccuracies in Children’s….).
Eyewitness testimony is generally seen as reliable, but as of lately research has found psychological factors that affect one’s testimony. They are anxiety/stress, reconstructive memory, and leading questions. A study was conducted on the impact of anxiety and life stress upon eyewitness testimony; subjects completed self-reports, an eyewitness task, and a self-preoccupation scale to determine the relationship. Results showed that anxiety and preoccupation limits the eyewitness’s ability to perform; a highly anxious individual may miss important cues that are task-relevant (Seigel & Loftus 1978). Other cognitive processes like perception, imagination, and semantic memory influence reconstructive memory the act of remembering. Bartlett’s theory of reconstructive memory is understood that an eyewitness testimony is influenced by what is learned or cultural norms. We store information in a way that makes the most sense to us, organizing information into schemas, mental units of knowledge that correspond to people, objects, or situations that are close to us (Wagoner 2013). When in a police interrogation, leading questions can provide misinformation that causes the witness to question everything they saw and whether or not they are saying the right thing. A study was conducted on a number of subjects that saw a complex and fast moving event. They immediately after were asked questions that suggested information that was necessarily correct due to the wording of the question (Loftus
Over the last thirty years, the idea of children as witnesses and the accuracy of their testimony has been widely debated. People are asking themselves if the memories of young children, specifically between the ages of five and ten, can be accurate and in return trusted. So, can children’s memory and testimony be accurate? Prolific amounts of research have been conducted in an attempt to answer this question. Most of the research suggests that unfortunately we can not rely on their accurate recall in testimony. I would have to say I agree with the findings.
Information is the lifeblood of a criminal investigation. The ability of investigators to obtain useful and accurate information from eyewitnesses of crimes is crucial to effective law enforcement, yet full and accurate recall is difficult to achieve (Stewart, 1985). Such elicitation of complete and accurate recall from people is important in many aspects of life; specifically, eyewitness recall may determine whether a case is solved. Principle advocates of the cognitive interview (Fisher, Geiselman, Holland & MacKinnon,
Recent news stories, such as, ‘Operation Yewtree’, the police investigation into historic child sexual abuse allegations made against the British media personality, Jimmy Savile and others have highlighted the debate about eye witness testimony. The historic nature of these cases is only now being looked into due to the incidents taking place over four decades ago, which means the most of the witnesses where recalling memories from when they were children. However, this does raise the issue as to why these cases were not looked at when they occurred. Since 1980’s-1990’s it has been more common for children to testify in court; this is particularly important in abuse cases.
I used open ended questions by asking what the problem is that she wanted to discuss. I asked, “What kind of issues is Rufus having?” within in the first eleven seconds. I also asked if there were any other issues with this student at about fifteen seconds. In addition, I continued to ask questions in order truly understand the issues. I did wait for a response to each of my questions but a couple of times she interrupted me. Around one minute and forty-five seconds, I was asking a question but she interrupted me. As soon as she started talking, I stopped.
The reviewed article is about a study in which children of two different age groups, and a group of adults were asked general-to-specific questions and misleading questions in an interview to see if the timing of the misleading questions and temperament affected the quality of the witness’s testimony. The researchers hypothesized that the use of misleading questions by interviewer’s causes the witness to unwittingly incorporate false information into their testimony.
To reduce some of the problems that have been found with eyewitness memory and testimony, I recommend not mistaking confidence for memory accuracy and using multiple techniques and interviewing models to develop more accurate and consistent information (i.e. using the cognitive enhanced interview model and combined with the Reid model or other models). Also, courts and jurors need to test/check for suggestibility and coercive interview or investigative practices before trials
The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trial: Many children and people were harm due to false memory accusations. In the case, the Social Worker, Kee MacFarlene her style of interviewing the children was wrong and misleading to the witnesses. A social worker is conducting an interview, must be done in an ethical manner and style. Their goal is to have the witness give the correct and honest answers to the questions asked. A valuable lesson for a Social worker when they are speaking with a client is not to contaminate their client’ memory is to ask questions that are not suggestive, leading, and misleading questions. After viewing the different Elizabeth Loftus clips, I realize that your memory can be easily manipulated, by making you believe something
Things such as how the questions are asked by either prosecutors, or defense attorneys could play a role in if children feel this trauma from testifying again (Ahern, Stolzenberg & Lyon, 2015). However, this was of similar finding on the research that was for allowing children to testify in court as well. The research that supports’ not allowing children to testify is persuasive because it brings up issues of competency and that children are more susceptible to these “bad” practices that investigators and the court personnel use in trying to receive information towards a case (Cashmore & Bussey, 1996). This can be detrimental to having a fair trial if the child is persuaded (even if unintentionally) to say anything but the truth (Cashmore & Bussey, 1996). Another aspect that is persuasive on the side of the opposition is this issue of the confrontation clause that is a right given to defendants from the sixth amendment of the Constitution, and can seemingly be obscured by safeguards of protecting the child who testifies against them (Orcutt et all., 2001). Granted protecting this vulnerable population should be something everyone wants to do, but it seems there are better ways in which to help protect and create less stress for children then just these safeguard techniques studied so far (Quas &
The second study evaluated how the emotions of a witness can cause errors in the retelling of their story when there were no suggestions made. The participants in the study watched a violent video clip, then they were split into three groups. These groups consisted of an emotional aspect, factual and the controlled group. In the emotional group the individuals were instructed to talk about how the video made them feel when they were retelling the story. In the factual group they were told to just tell exactly what they remember what happened. The controlled group did an activity that was unrelated to the subject. All completed a free call and cue driven memory tests. The cue tests showed that it had little effort on the focus of telling the
The area of cognitive psychology that this article focuses on, is the impact that cognitive interviews have on false memories and beliefs. A false memory appears when a person recalls memories of events that did not actually happen to him or her. Nonetheless, a study conducted by S.J. Sherman and M.B. Powell, consisted of exposing people to false events using instructions taken from a cognitive interview, a method of interviewing and questioning people about events they may have witnessed (Sharman et al., 2013). In this specific study, researchers examined the integration that cognitive interviews may have on making participants feel more confident towards the validity of their childhood experience, regardless or not whether it actually happened