/ 16 []

Eyewitness Testimony

Reconstructive Memory. Bartlett (1932)Memory is not a direct record of what was witnessedWhat is encoded and how it is retrieved depends on:Information already stored in memoryHow this info is understood, structured and organised. Reconstructive Memory. SchemasKnowledge

Download Presentation

Eyewitness Testimony

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only and may not be sold or licensed nor shared on other sites. SlideServe reserves the right to change this policy at anytime.While downloading, If for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Eyewitness testimony l.jpg

Eyewitness Testimony

  • Reconstructive memory

    • Schema driven errors

  • Effect of leading questions

  • Other factors

    • Weapon focus

    • Effects of anxiety/arousal

    • Retrieval cues

Reconstructive memory l.jpg

Reconstructive Memory

  • Bartlett (1932)

  • Memory is not a direct record of what was witnessed

  • What is encoded and how it is retrieved depends on:

    • Information already stored in memory

    • How this info is understood, structured and organised

Reconstructive memory3 l.jpg

Reconstructive Memory

  • Schemas

    • Knowledge structures that relate to commonly encountered objects, situations or people

    • Enable us to predict events, make sense of unfamiliar circumstances, organise our own behaviour

    • Act as filters to perception & recall

Computer information processing l.jpg

Computer Information Processing


Can you wreck a nice beach?

Schema driven processing l.jpg

Can you wreck a nice beach?

Schema Driven Processing

Yes. I can recognise speech.

Bartlett 1932 l.jpg





‘Turf cutter’

Bartlett (1932)

Bartlett (1932)

Bartlett 19327 l.jpg

Bartlett (1932)

  • War of the Ghosts

  • When recalled by UK PPs:

    • Shorter

    • Less detailed

    • Some details changed (e.g. seal hunting changed to fishing)

    • More ‘Western’ structure

Ewt schema driven errors l.jpg

EWT: Schema Driven Errors

  • Witnesses to crimes filter information during acquisition & recall

    • Their schematic understanding may influence how info is both stored & retrieved

    • Distortions may occur without the witness realising

Ewt schema driven errors9 l.jpg

EWT: Schema Driven Errors

  • Past experiences

  • Assumptions about what usually happens

  • Stereotypes & beliefs about crime & criminals

Ewt leading questions l.jpg

EWT: Leading Questions

  • Loftus (1970s onwards)

  • Effect of leading questions on recall

    • Leading questions introduce new information

    • Leading info may activate wrong schemas in witness’ mind

    • Consequently, witness may recall events incorrectly

Ewt leading questions11 l.jpg

EWT: Leading Questions

  • Loftus’ studies using film/video/slides road accidents

  • ‘How fast were cars going when they hit…’ or ‘…when they smashed…’?

    • ‘Smashed’ led to higher speed estimates

  • ‘Did you see a/the broken headlight’?

    • ‘The’ produced more affirmative (incorrect) responses

Ewt leading questions12 l.jpg

EWT: Leading Questions

  • Loftus’ research usually lab based:

    • Restricted samples (students)

    • Artificial stimuli (slides, videos, not real events)

    • Potential for demand characteristics to influence responses

    • No legal/moral consequences for inaccurate answers

Ewt leading questions13 l.jpg

EWT: Leading Questions

  • EWT most affected by leading Qs when:

    • Witness believes questioner knows more than them

    • Witness does not realise they may be misled

    • Leading information is peripheral, not central

    • Leading information is not blatantly incorrect

Ewt weapon focus l.jpg

EWT: Weapon Focus

  • When a weapon is used to threaten a victim, their attention is likely to focus on it

  • Consequently, their recall of other information is likely to be poor

Ewt arousal effects l.jpg

EWT: Arousal Effects

  • Memory is most effective at moderate arousal levels

  • If the witness was in a state of extremely low or high arousal then recall may be poor



Ewt retrieval cues l.jpg

EWT: Retrieval Cues

  • Recall typically takes place in a different context to acquisition

    • Lack of retrieval cues (state and context) can inhibit recall

    • Reconstruction of the events (either imagination or simulation) can lead to enhanced recall