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Eyewitness Memory

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Eyewitness memory is often presented from a bias perspective due to the false suggestions that have been extracted from the interrogation. In contrast to the popular notion that most individuals would never forget the physical features of a perpetrator, it has become evident that most individuals are unable to correctly identify their perpetrator when tested. A great deal of research has been performed in regard to the circumstances that are often present with regard to memory adjustment. It is clear that on the topic of eyewitness memory, there are quite a few factors that often contribute to the false identification of probable criminals for a specific offense. Research has shown that causes include: the process of experiencing and reporting events, make-believe memories, misinformation and new memory creation, as well as age.

Great concern about the factors that make an eyewitness's testimony accurate as well as the factors that impair accuracy are shared by a great deal of psychologist and researchers. In Ellsworth and Smith's article The Social Psychology of Eyewitness Accuracy Misleading Questions and Communicator Expertise they pose the question of whether or not it is possible to alter a person's memory for a crime and if so how could it be properly operated. The study of misleading questions and their effects on accuracy is the method that is most frequently used by researches. Elizabeth Loftus has performed a great deal of research on the idea suggesting that subjects who are asked misleading questions tend during later questioning, to report the false information that was given to them in the misleading questions they were asked. Consequently, she reports that these subjects make considerably more errors in their statements of the event than subjects who are asked unbiased questions.

Two experiments were performed with intentions of examining the effect of questioner knowledge on the error rates of subjects who were asked misleading versus unbiased questions. One experimental condition depicted the questioner as being very familiar with the crime that the subjects witnessed. Whereas experiment two the questioner was shown as being unaware of what had previously taken place. The researchers hypothesized that when the questioner was allegedly well-informed about the crime, the misleading question effect acquired in previous research would be shown. However, when the questioner was represented as



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