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IMPROVING EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY: METHODS FOR MORE ACCURATE RECALL OF EVENTS

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Date Issued:
2011
Abstract/Description:
Eyewitness testimony has as long history in the court system, and is very persuasive to juries. Jurors are hard pressed to ignore a witness' assertion of a perpetrator's identity. However, the juror's perception of eyewitness testimony is problematic as it has been documented as inaccurate and unreliable in numerous experiments. With the advent of DNA testing and efforts such as The Innocence Project, it has become apparent that faulty eyewitness accounts are central to many wrongful convictions. The intent of this thesis was to explore how law enforcement can facilitate more accurate eyewitness accounts via their interview process. Research suggests that a key problem in the current interviewing system is "post-event information," or outside information introduced by leading questions, exposure to police conversations or other witnesses' accounts. This information can contaminate a witness's memories of events and lead them to report things they did not see. The current experiment explores the effects of 1) warning and educating witnesses about suggestibility and 2) interviewing with leading or open-ended questions. Accuracy scores were then compared for each condition. The hope was to gain insight into methods for improving accurate recall of events and reducing memory contamination from "post-event information."
Title: IMPROVING EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY: METHODS FOR MORE ACCURATE RECALL OF EVENTS.
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Name(s): Schachter, Ashley, Author
Chin, Matthew, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2011
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Eyewitness testimony has as long history in the court system, and is very persuasive to juries. Jurors are hard pressed to ignore a witness' assertion of a perpetrator's identity. However, the juror's perception of eyewitness testimony is problematic as it has been documented as inaccurate and unreliable in numerous experiments. With the advent of DNA testing and efforts such as The Innocence Project, it has become apparent that faulty eyewitness accounts are central to many wrongful convictions. The intent of this thesis was to explore how law enforcement can facilitate more accurate eyewitness accounts via their interview process. Research suggests that a key problem in the current interviewing system is "post-event information," or outside information introduced by leading questions, exposure to police conversations or other witnesses' accounts. This information can contaminate a witness's memories of events and lead them to report things they did not see. The current experiment explores the effects of 1) warning and educating witnesses about suggestibility and 2) interviewing with leading or open-ended questions. Accuracy scores were then compared for each condition. The hope was to gain insight into methods for improving accurate recall of events and reducing memory contamination from "post-event information."
Identifier: CFH0004116 (IID), ucf:44867 (fedora)
Note(s): 2011-12-01
B.S.
Sciences, Dept. of Psychology
Bachelors
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): eyewitness testimony
interviewing witnesses
improving eyewtinesses
eyewtiness error
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFH0004116
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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