Yuille and Cutshall (1986). A case study of eyewitness memory of a crime. Can the findings of laboratory based EWT studies be generalised to more realistic situations?. Problems With EWT Lab Based Studies. Slide sequences and filmed events are not relevant to real work events
A case study of eyewitness memory of a crime.
One spring afternoon in Vancouver, Canada, a thief entered a gun shop, tied up the owner and stole some money and guns. The owner freed himself and picked up a revolver. He went outside to take the car registration number but the thief had not got into the car and he fired two shots at the store owner from a distance of about 6 feet. The owner, after a short pause, fired all 6 shots from his revolver. The thief was killed but the store owner recovered from serious injury. Witnesses viewed the scene from different locations – passing cars, buildings or in the street.
Loss and distortion of memory takes place over time. The idea was to look at eyewitness interviews immediately after the event, which were conducted by a police officer, and to compare these with interviews carried out by research staff. Misleading questions were incorporated into the research interviews to see how an eyewitness might be affected by distortion.
Total reported classifiable details from 13 witnesses
For example, “he looked like he was in his early 20s’ was scored as incorrect (even though he did look like he was in his early 20s’) because he was 35!