Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor's Name

Steve Charman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ronald Fisher

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Lindsay Malloy

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Albert Wuaku

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Keywords

Weapon, Memory, Attention, Memory, Crime Scene, Eyewitness, Lineups

Date of Defense

4-27-2015

Abstract

The present study examines the relationships between recognition and recall accuracy of faces, and recognition and recall accuracy of objects. Secondly, this study examines the influence of weapon presence on description and identification accuracy, and whether encoding time moderates the effect. 713 participants watched an image that was either displayed for five seconds or twenty seconds, and either included a weapon or no weapon. Subsequently, they were asked to give descriptions of what they saw before viewing a lineup that either included the perpetrator or was made up of innocent suspects. Results indicated that witnesses’ description accuracy of the crime scene had little or no predictive abilities with regards to their facial identification accuracy. Secondly, there was a weapon focus effect found for faces but not for objects. Furthermore, this effect was eliminated at long encoding times. Finally, increasing encoding time improved recognition of objects, but not faces. Results suggest that prior inaccuracy on one aspect of testimony is not necessarily indicative of subsequent inaccuracy on another aspect of testimony. This finding has implications for how jurors and judges should evaluate witness testimony when assessing credibility in the courtroom.

Identifier

FIDC000090

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