Presentation on theme: "Eye Witness Identification"— Presentation transcript:
1 Eye Witness Identification Psychology and the LawEye Witness Identification
2 Plan for TodayMemory ConstructionEye witness identification
3 Memory ConstructionIt is surprisingly easy to distort and/or create memoriesMemory is strongly influenced by our views, attitudes and beliefs at the time of recallReform Party MP Jack RamsayElizabeth Loftus’ studiesSchooler (1986) – Psychologists can’t tell the difference between real and implanted memories
4 Eye Witness Identification Loftus (1979)“Did another car pass the red Datsun while it was stopped at the stop sign?It was a yield sign at the intersection the subject had previously seen.
5 Loftus & Palmer (1974)How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?How fast were the cars going when they hit each other.In the first condition subjects “remember” the cars were going much faster than do subjects in the second condition.
6 Our Preconceptions Control our Interpretations and Memories FOLKCROAKSOAKWhat do we call the white part of an egg?
7 Priming Scary movie Subliminal priming Stereotype priming e.g., the elderly
8 False Identification Most common reason for convicting the innocent. In U.S cases founded on eyewitness identification are tried each year.The Innocence ProjectAssociation of the Defense for the Wrongfully Convicted
9 Eyewitness Testimony Loftus (1979) – Robbery/murder case 18% conviction rate jumps to 72% with addition of eyewitnessOnly falls to 68% with witness discreditedWells (1981) – even with poor conditions 62% still believed eyewitness(1980) – both correct and incorrect eyewitnesses were believed 80% of the time
10 Jurors belief of Eyewitnesses Wells (1981) – jurors tend to believe witnesses whose memory for trivial details is poor, but these are usually the best (most accurate) witnessesThe more details remembered about the scene, the less details remembered about the face and victimThe more confident the witness, often times the more likely they are to be wrong
11 Eye Witness Research Estimator variables e.g. physical and temporal context of the crime (distance, lighting, duration, weather)Age, gender, race, emotional state, witness eye-sightTheir impact on the accuracy of an identification can only be estimated
12 System VariablesE.g. procedures used to select members of line-up, the presentation, instruction given to witness, conditions in the interview, interview styleThese are factors over which the police and justice system have at least some control
13 Line-ups Photo line-ups “head and shoulders” Distractors - lineup members other than the suspectMatching to Appearance strategyThey don’t have to look the similar, they just have to match the witness’s oral descriptionUnconscious transference
14 Double Blind Procedure Can advertantly or inadvertantly cue the witnesse.g. “Take your time” - to tentative descriptionsubtle unconscious cues (coughing, voice inflection)reinforcement can raise witness confidence levels (witness confidence trumps accuracy)
15 Instructions to the Witness “The person you saw commit the crime may or may not be in the photos you are about to see.”Present the photos sequentially (Lindsay and Wells 1985)relative vs.absolute judgement strategies
16 Sequential Photo Lineup 1. You are going to see a series of photos to determine whether you can identify the person you saw commit the robbery last week. Please keep in mind that the person you saw may or may not be in the photos.2. You will be shown the photos one at a time and you will not be told how many photos there are. For each photo, please decide, “Yes that is the person I saw” or “No, that is not the person I saw.”3. If you say no to a photo you will not be able to return to it later and if you choose a photo you will not be allowed to see any remaining photos.
17 Other Identification Procedures Cold mugshot searchWalkthrough procedureShow up procedure “Oklahoma lineup”Composite sketchIdenti-Kit and Photo-Fit
18 Eyewitness Identification Confidence is not a reliable indicator of accuracyWe perceive events selectively and use imagination to fill in the gapsAmple evidence that witnesses often choose the wrong person from a line upDiscussion or questioning about events can alter or add to memoryCross racial identification is harder to do than identification within race