Attentional Competition: Weapon Focus, Encoding Time, and Memory Accuracy Correlations between Crime Scene Items

Seyram Mawuko Kekessie, Florida International University

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.^

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychology|Experimental psychology

Recommended Citation

Kekessie, Seyram Mawuko, "Attentional Competition: Weapon Focus, Encoding Time, and Memory Accuracy Correlations between Crime Scene Items" (2015). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10002869.
https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI10002869

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