Department or Program

Psychology

Abstract

The current research investigates whether video-records of eyewitness identification procedures can prevent wrongful convictions based on eyewitness errors. Experiment 1 (N=163) targeted eyewitnesses themselves by testing whether viewing the video-record of their own identification can inoculate them against the memory distorting effects of post-identification feedback on confidence reports. Participants viewed a mock crime and were recorded making an identification. Participants were randomly assigned to receive confirming feedback (“Good job you identified the actual culprit”) or no feedback. In addition, half of the participants viewed their video-record prior to the feedback manipulation whereas the other half of participants did not. Results indicated video-records did not inoculate eyewitnesses against feedback effects as confidence inflation occurred regardless of it participants viewed their video-records or not.

Experiment 2 targeted evaluators by examining if viewing a video-record can improve evaluators’ ability to discriminate accurate from inaccurate witnesses. If video-records increase access to non-verbal cues signaling accuracy, video-records might be a useful tool for helping evaluators assess accuracy. Participants for Experiment 2 were 332 individuals who accessed the experiment via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants received a checklist outlining the nonverbal cues associated with inaccuracy either before, not at all, or after viewing a video-record of an eyewitness who made either an accurate or inaccurate identification. Results indicated that viewing a video-record allowed participants to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate eyewitnesses. Moreover, there was tentative evidence suggesting that viewing a checklist outlining nonverbal behaviors associated with inaccuracy before viewing a video-record could significantly improve evaluators’ discriminatory ability.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Bates Community After Expiration]

First Advisor

Douglass, Amy

Date of Graduation

5-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages

125

Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Embargoed

Available to Bates Community via local IP address or Bates login on Friday, March 20, 2020.

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