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Memory and the power of suggestion

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Presentation on theme: "Memory and the power of suggestion"— Presentation transcript:

1 Memory and the power of suggestion

2 Objectives Describe how valid eye witness testimony is
Analyze the power of suggestion Explain children's testimony

3 The eyewitness on trial
chapter 8 The eyewitness on trial Eyewitnesses are not always reliable Factors influencing accuracy Cross race identification Question wording (e.g., “crashed” vs “hit”) Misleading information

4 Eye witness trial Alan Newton
Most misidentifications cross race Because lots of people unfamiliar with or prejudiced toward ethnic groups Ignore distinct features that could help The Power of Suggestion Distort Memories or Create False Ones

5 Elizabeth Loftus Testing memories of eye witness accounts
Showed videos of car collisions Afterward researcher asked some of them “how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?” Then asked for different words (independent variable) smashed, collided, bumped, hit, contacted… estimates varied on the word used Smashed 40.8, collided 39.3, bumped 38.1, contacted 31.8

6 Headlight study (Loftus 1975)
Did you see a broken headlight? Did you see the broken headlight? the in the question presupposes a broken headlight OTOH, a makes no such presumption Word Interjection is key People who received the more likely to report seeing a broken head light than those receiving a

7 Misleading information
Loftus & Green (1980) witness report Students shown picture of a man with straight hair, then heard description msn hsad light curly hair When students reconstructed (like your memory) pictures of man 1/3 of students had curly hair But when shown picture and hear correct description 95% create face correctly

8 Sum up power of suggestion
Leading questions Suggestive comments Misleading information All affect memory of events and things you experience

9 chapter 8 Children’s testimony Under what conditions are children more suggestible? When they are very young When interviewers’ expectations are clear When other children’s memories for events are accessible

10 Power of suggestion and children
1980’s and 1990’s child abuse acquisitions sky rocketed in U.S. over day care centers Therapists and police interview children Children claim abuse, physical, emotional, sexual Parents never saw abuse and children never complained about it Some teachers go to jail Most children do recall accurately most of the time However many children will say something happened when it did not Leading questions and suggestions

11 chapter 8 Children’s testimony When asked if a visitor committed acts that had not occurred, few 4–6 year olds said yes. 100% of 3-year olds said yes. When investigators used techniques taken from real child-abuse investigations, most children said yes.

12 Summary Eye witness Children

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