Talk:Eyewitness memory

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To do[edit]

refs need sorting - i've just provided links to some journal articles

  • Face Recognition
  • confirmation bias
  • weapon focus
  • role of confidence see [1]
  • role of conformity see [2]

[3] Nk.sheridan   Talk 22:51, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Plan for Improvement[edit]

We will be editing this article in stages until October 21st as a project for our Cognitive Psychology class at Davidson College. We hope to improve the organization of this article by combining a few of the subsections to better direct the reader. In doing so, we want to arrange the current subtopics in order of occurrence (interference, mental state, weapon focus and the other race effect during the event; confidence, mug-shot searches, the misinformation effect, and facial recognition during the testimony, after the event). We also want to add a few sections focusing on 1) effective procedures for line-up and interrogation, 2) bias, and 3)the influence of age and intellectual ability of the testifier. Finally, we will include a section indicating the methods of psychological research used in studying eyewitness memory. This will be helpful for the reader to understand how the psychologist arrived at their significant conclusions.

In the procedure for line-ups and interrogration, we will use articles by Steblay, N. al.1 and Fisher, R. et al. P.2 to explain the correct procedures that an interrogator should follow. We will use real testimonies to provide examples of how false testimonies occur and how they can be prevented.

In the bias category, we will use an article by Kopietz, R. et al.3 to identify how bias can play a role in false eyewitness testimonies. We will address various sources of bias including racial bias and a cowitness' liking of a suspect.

In the influence of age and intellectual ability of the testifier category, we will use an article by Ternes, M., & Yuille, J. C.4 to help us explain eyewitness memory as it pertains to testifiers of different ages and intelligence levels. We will expand on the child eyewitness testimony category as well to make the accounts more complete.

We welcome any comments and suggestions.


1Steblay, N. K., Dietrich, H. L., Ryan, S. L., Raczynski, J. L., & James, K. A. (2011). Sequential lineup laps and eyewitness accuracy. Law and Human Behavior, 35(4), 262-274. doi:10.1007/s10979-010-9236-2

2Fisher, R. P., & Schreiber, N. (2007). Interview protocols for improving eyewitness memory. In M. P. Toglia, J. Read, D. F. Ross, R. L. Lindsay, M. P. Toglia, J. Read, ... R. L. Lindsay (Eds.) , The handbook of eyewitness psychology, Vol I: Memory for events (pp. 53-80). Mahwah, NJ US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

314. Kopietz, R., Echterhoff, G., Niemeier, S., Hellmann, J. H., & Memon, A. (2009). Audience-congruent biases in eyewitness memory and judgment: Influences of a co-witness’ liking for a suspect. Social Psychology, 40(3), 138-149. doi:10.1027/1864-9335.40.3.138

410. Ternes, M., & Yuille, J. C. (2008). Eyewitness memory and eyewitness identification performance in adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 21(6), 519-531. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3148.2008.00425.x

Blford (talk) 21:42, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Tamara Hill (talk) 23:01, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Sentence doesn't make sense[edit]

The following sentence under Photographic Memory:

"It is also hypothesized that eidetic imagery is not exactly related to memory and improve recall for visual details. If this is true, photographic memory is not particularly in the courtroom, which could explain the general failure to detect its existence in adults."

doesn't make sense. I would edit it, but I'm not sure what is tring to be conveyed. Should the first sentence have an 's' after 'improve'? In the second sentence there appears to be a word missing after 'particularly'. Is the missing word 'useful'? Since I'm not sure, I didn't want to edit it.Van Vidrine (talk) 19:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

The article cited (Brady et al. 2008) for these sentences doesn't seem to be particularly related to what it states here, as well as it not making much sense. The article in question seems to be looking into the visual capacity of memory. This paper should be more thoroughly reviewed in regards to this section on photographic memory. FranGleisner (talk) 27 March 2012. (UTC)

Suggestions for changes[edit]

2.2.4. - Source and Verb Tense[edit]

The first sentence, "An alteration of context was found to be one of the most important predictors of recognition accuracy," seems to be referencing Smith, or some other source, and deserves a citation. Also, can it be worded in a more active verb tense? Kvadla (talk) 20:26, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

2.1 - Lineups[edit]

In the general explanation of lineup methods, it might be worth adding that lineups can be conducted via a video array as well as with photos or a live group. Also, the addition of links to pages explaining "perpetrator (vs suspect)" and "recognition (vs recall)" might aid understanding of these sections but such pages don't exist. Consider creating these pages? Emountier (talk) 20:59, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

2.1.1. - Police Role in Lineup[edit]

In line 6 of this section there is an unclear sentence: "Feedback can produce a false confidence in the witness' selection". I read this as "Giving eyewitnesses affirmative feedback can increase their confidence int heir selection" bu am unfamiliar with what the source actually says about the effects of feedback; this should be reviewed. Emountier (talk) 20:59, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

2.1.2 - Style of Lineup[edit]

A better explanation of absolute and relative judgements should be made - it should be clear that a relative judgement means that the eyewitness is choosing the lineup member that looks most like the offender compared to the others, while during an absolute judgement the eyewitness is comparing each lineup member to their memory of the event. For details see: Wells, G. L. (1993). What do we know about eye witness identification? American Psychologist, 14, 89-103. Daronsen (talk) 23:02, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

5 - Photographic Memory (Eidetic Memory)[edit]

The sentences at the end of the article need to be referenced, and the last paragraph. It would be useful to expand on the evidence for flaws in superior photographic memory to give a fuller picture of both sides of the debate. This section could also include information on Iconic Memory. Also, see Neisser (1967) for original account of Iconic Memory.

FranGleisner (talk) 27 March 2012. (UTC)

1.2.1 - Misinformation Effect[edit]

Should be made more coherent - sentences don't seem to flow into one another, they're more like bullet points. Perhaps expanding on some of the ideas mentioned would make it easier to follow. Hsolomon89 (talk) 07:12, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

1.2.2 - Unconscious Transference[edit]

Could add other theories that explain unconscious transference besides familiarity, such as change blindness and source monitoring. Also, the Steblay, N, & Dysart, J. (2003) article that was cited doesn't seem to be correct - this article appears to be much more relevant: Godfrey, R. D., & Clark, S. E. (2010). Repeated eyewitness identification procedures: Memory, decision making, and probative value. Law and Human Behavior, 34, 241-258. Hsolomon89 (talk) 07:12, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

1.1.2 ( Stress and Trauma[edit]

This section advocates for repression and contradicts itself with the flashbulb effect. Controversial arguments against ideas of repression are needed to expand the big picture. The section on psychogenic amnesia is largely incomplete; much can be expanded such as its symptoms and course, and its differences from organic amnesia (details from Richard McNally's 'Remembering Trauma' would be helpful). Statistics of studies were included but were largely incoherent and only served for further confusion. Flow and cohesion of points was lacking. Johunter (talk) 20:41, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

1.1.1 Challenges of identifying faces[edit]

The very first sentence "people struggle to identify faces..." doesn't make sense—for example, I have no trouble recognising my family either in person or from photos. This sentence needs to make it clear that people find it hard to correctly identify virtual strangers that they have seen once before e.g. at the scene of a crime. The second part of that sentence "a difficulty arising from the encoding of faces" could do with revision too—we have to encode faces or else we'd never recognise any of them. What I think this sentence means to say is that poor encoding of novel faces leads to difficulty identifying them later.

The second sentence "When participants..." also needs work. I think that it should start "in one study..." otherwise we don't know who "participants" refers to. Also, the study needs to be described more clearly. For example, what did participants do before being tested on the photos? What is meant by "they struggled to accurately identify the images..."? Surely people could have said that they were looking at an array of photos of faces. In short, there is ambiguity here. Also, I presume this section is describing the findings of the study already referenced in this section, but this needs to be made clear (with more citation links).

At the end of this paragraph, there are two more sentences that aren't as clear as they might be. The sentence which starts "Face-specific cognitive...." doesn't really make sense. I think what it is trying to say is that there is evidence that faces are processed holistically, which bears on how, for example, an EW would encode and recognise faces. The next sentence which starts "Unreliability of EW ID..." also needs revision. We don't know what "composite systems" are, and holistic processing of faces is not described at all either. Adding definitions for both of these concepts would help to convey the point I think is trying to be made here, which is that one of the problems with EW ID is that people are sometimes asked to help construct facial composite images of the perpetrator, which are necessarily constructed one feature at a time, in contrast to how we process real faces, which is more global.

I think the opening to the other-race effect paragraph could be clearer. It needs to make explicit that people are not worse at identifying faces of other races as being faces. Rather, they are worse at distinguishing between them, which may impair their ability to encode those other faces in detail, leading to lower performance in recognition tests of them.

The perceptual expertise account sentence needs tidying too. I think "with an increase" is a slightly misleading way to word it. Better something like "...due to our greater amount of exposure to faces of our own race..." Socio-cog account: what is meant by "over-focus" and how would that lead to better recognition of own race? The reference for the third hypothesis might be better placed (or additionally placed) after the sentence "...other races might not encode these same features"

It would be nice if there was a reference to back up the statement that most work has been done on African Americans and Caucasians.

The sentence beginning "In general, memory is an individual process..." doesn't make grammatical sense, and I couldn't fix this because I'm not sure what it is trying to say. It needs revision to improve clarity. A citation here would also be good. Also in the sentence about mono-racial EW, need to specify what is meant by "categorization"...of what? (presumably, race).

The final two sentences of this paragraph also need revision for clarity. For example, what are the "unreliable notions" being referred to? By prejudices, is it meant "activated racial stereotypes"? Is it "ambiguity" of facial recognition, or is it unreliability? Does "targets" mean faces? What "divergent strategies"? This little section needs to be unpacked more as it is currently a bit hard to follow, plus it needs citations.

MSanson435 (talk) 19:54, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Primary introduction[edit]

Would be nice if there was a citation to support the frequent use of EW testimony by police, in courts etc. Need a citation to support the statement that the reliability of EW memory is sometimes questioned. Not sure describing EW memory as "volatile," perhaps a better word would be "fragile" Need citation for statement has long been speculated that mistaken EW ID plays key role in wrongful convictions. Need a citation for the Innocence Projects stats about the proportion of cases involving mistaken ID, also need to specify what "the 239" cases are, e.g. were they the 239 first DNA exonerations?

MSanson435 (talk) 20:08, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

2.1.5. Retrospective interference[edit]

Could expand on why retroactive interference is a problem and give examples. Information about suggestive police questioning and interrogator bias would fit better in another section, or a new section could be added to expand on this. Lieselm (talk) 10:47, 28 March 2012 (UTC)