Suggestibility in adult witnesses: Exploring the impact of different factors that can impact eyewitness memory accuracy

Deering, Kara (2022). Suggestibility in adult witnesses: Exploring the impact of different factors that can impact eyewitness memory accuracy. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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Mistaken eyewitness memory is thought to be the most common cause of wrongful convictions. This thesis explores the impact of factors that can contribute to eyewitness memory inaccuracy, including the misinformation effect. The misinformation effect refers to the tendency for post-event information to interfere with a person’s memory for an original event. As discussed in Chapter One, the misinformation effect is commonly studied using a misinformation paradigm: participants experience a to-be-remembered event and then are presented with information that is either consistent or inconsistent with the information that was presented during the witnessed event. Afterwards, participants are tested to examine the extent to which they can distinguish between their memory of the event and the post-event information they encountered. Chapter Two presents a systematic literature review of experimental studies that used the misinformation paradigm. The key aim was to explore whether the congruence between the modality (e.g., visual, auditory, text) in which information presented across the different stages of the misinformation paradigm (encoding, misinformation, test) plays a role in misinformation susceptibility. The findings suggest that congruence between the modality in which information is presented at encoding and at test reduces misinformation acceptance. However, although there was some evidence that modality manipulations across the different stages of the testing paradigm influence misinformation susceptibility, the evidence was limited and results across studies were conflicting. Chapter Three presents empirical research that was undertaken to explore the impact of misinformation on a lineup identification accuracy. Participants watched a mock crime wherein the perpetrator’s face was shown from the front or profile facial angle, and then they were presented with misinformation about the perpetrator’s appearance. Misinformation presentation was controlled by exposing participants to a video of a news report that featured an innocent suspect, who was presented either in the same pose as the perpetrator or shown from a different angle. Memory for the perpetrator (i.e., the guilty suspect) was tested using a simultaneous lineup procedure, wherein the test faces matched the same facial angle that participants saw at encoding. This study found that participants were more likely to be misinformed when profile faces were presented at encoding compared to frontal faces. Chapter Four presents a psychometric critique of the only validated measure of adult interrogative suggestibility, the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale. The tool was found to be both a reliable and valid measure of interrogative suggestibility. The theses findings are discussed within the context of the misinformation literature and practical implications are considered in Chapter Five.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Other Funders: Self funded
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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