skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 64833 Find in a Library
Title: INDIVIDUAL AND SITUATIONAL FACTORS IN EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY
Journal: JOURNAL OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY  Volume:63  Issue:3  Dated:(JUNE 1978)  Pages:352-359
Author(s): B R CLIFFORD; J SCOTT
Corporate Author: American Psychological Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: American Psychological Assoc
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS BRITISH STUDY TESTED THE HYPOTHESIS THAT ACCURACY OF RECALL DECREASES WITH INCREASING EMOTIONALITY OF THE WITNESSED EVENT.
Abstract: THE EXPERIMENT INVESTIGATED THE EFFECT ON EYEWITNESS ACCURACY OF TESTIMONY ON DIFFERENT TYPES OF WITNESSED EVENTS, THE SEX OF THE WITNESS, DIFFERENT MODES OF INITIAL QUESTIONING, AND THE PROBING FOR RECALL OF PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS AND PHYSICAL ACTIONS. ALSO INVESTIGATED WERE THE RELATIONSHIP OF PERSONALITY TO ACCURACY AND THE SUSCEPTIBILITY OF SUBJECTS TO LEADING QUESTIONS. A TOTAL OF 24 MALE AND 24 FEMALE UNDERGRADUATE VOLUNTEERS TOOK PART IN THE STUDY. THEY WERE SHOWN TWO VIDEOTAPES--ONE OF A VIOLENT INCIDENT AND ONE OF A NONVIOLENT BUT SIMILAR INCIDENT. A FOUR-WAY SPLIT-PLOT DESIGN WAS USED TO INVESTIGATE THE EFFECT ON EYEWITNESS ACCURACY OF THE NATURE OF THE WITNESSED INCIDENT (VIOLENT, NONVIOLENT), MODE OF INITIAL QUESTIONING (NARRATIVE, INTERROGATIVE), SEX OF WITNESS, AND TYPE OF INFORMATION PROBED (ACTIONS, DESCRIPTIONS). LEADING QUESTIONS, PERSONALITY, ACCURACY, AND CONFIDENCE RATINGS WERE ALSO EXAMINED. ACCURACY WAS POORER UNDER VIOLENT CONDITIONS. ACTIONS WERE BETTER RECALLED THAN DESCRIPTIONS. ALTHOUGH THE TYPE OF INITIAL QUESTIONING HAD NO EFFECT ON LATER ACCURACY, SUBJECTS WERE MISLED BY LEADING QUESTIONS. NO RELATIONSHIP WAS FOUND BETWEEN EITHER PERSONALITY AND ACCURACY OR CONFIDENCE IN CORRECTNESS AND OBJECTIVE ACCURACY. THE CENTRAL FINDING WAS THAT RECALL OF DETAILS FROM A VIOLENT INCIDENT WAS SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE THAN RECALL OF A NONVIOLENT INCIDENT. THIS SUGGESTS THAT TESTIMONY ABOUT AN EMOTIONALLY LOADED INCIDENT SHOULD BE TREATED WITH MUCH GREATER CAUTION THAN ONE CONCERNING A LESS EMOTIONALLY TONED INCIDENT. REFERENCE NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE CITED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED-MJW)
Index Term(s): Evidence; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Testimony; Witness intervention in crime; Witnesses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64833

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.