Have you ever wondered about how a crime comes to court?
Key to any crime is the interviewing of the witnesses, who may have vital evidence to give. However, psychologists have shown through much earlier work that what a witness sees and remembers is influence by many factors
SYNOPTIC LINK: Loftus & Palmer examined the way leading questions and schemas can influence the accuracy of recall.
In witnessing a crime a witness may experience strong emotions or only a partial view of events which may be over in seconds. Added to this days may elapse before a witness is asked to give their first statement to the police and the complexity of the legal process means many months may pass before the witness testifies in court.
For obvious reasons, recollection needs to be as accurate as possible. Several psychologists have investigated ways to encourage accuracy. They have also considered factors that will affect the testimony of the witness that the police and courts should be aware of. Three influences are examined in this section.
Bruce - Recognising faces
Loftus - Weapon focus
Fisher - Cognitive interviews