Age as a factor affecting eye witness testimony

Tess W
Mind Map by Tess W, updated more than 1 year ago
Tess W
Created by Tess W about 5 years ago


AQA Psychology AS Cognitive psychology Mind map summary of a few studies into research into the accuracy of EWT with regards to the age of the witness. Notes are taken from class and textbook combined

Resource summary

Age as a factor affecting eye witness testimony
1 Children as witnesses
1.1 STUDY ONE Warren et al (2005) - Children are more vulnerable to leading questions
1.1.1 Procedure: Reading out a story to a group of children and adults. Asked 20 questions with 15 of them being misleading questions
1.1.2 Findings: Children appeared to be more influenced by leading questions than adults
1.1.3 Conclusion: Age may be a factor in EWT with children more prone to influences than older people
1.1.4 Evaluation Doesn't specify the age of the children i.e. is there a range of ages? If so is this reliable to generalise this? The experiment was carried out in a lab so are he children likely to react to this e.g. will it evoke anxiety? Demand characteristics - adults will pay more attention as they know (or suspect) they will be asked questions at the end Extraneous variable/Individual differences - child is not likely to such a high attention span
1.2 STUDY TWO Carter et al - Formal language can have an effect as childen have problems understanding the formal language used in inerviews by police
1.2.1 Investigated language style and age
1.2.2 Findings: children aged 5-7 made the most errors and more formal language caused more mistakes. Question tags ma also lead to errors in a child's EWT. This pushes the witness to make a desired decision
1.2.3 Evaluation Cannot generalise to all children as some may have been brought up to speak 'formally' Small age range More detail from research to make clear conclusions Real world applications so it can be useful to the police Might have been anxiety that led to the errors
1.3 STUDY THREE Samuel and Bryant (1984) - Children may be unreliable in court cases
1.3.1 Procedure: Conservation task. Split into groups and either asked the same question as before and after the transformation or just after
1.3.2 Findings: The same question before and after were likely to change their original answer. May be due to children being used to being asked another question after getting it wrong e.g. in school
1.3.3 Conclusion: Children may be unreliable in court cases, depending on the wording of a question
1.3.4 Evaluation Can be applied to the real world so good ecological validity Individual differences e.g. IQ of children Lab experiment so affects validity Social desirability effect might be the reason they changed the answer rather than because it was repeated twice
1.4 STUDY FOUR Lewis et al (1995) - Children may be unreliable in court cases
1.4.1 Procedure: Children aged 3-4 were shown photos of adult males in a line and one photo said 'Daddy' underneath
1.4.2 Findings: 29% of children misidentified the photo labelled 'Daddy'
1.4.3 Conclusion: Questions need to be detailed enough that they don't make mistakes
1.4.4 Evaluation Identifying photos is not the same as real life identification Social desirability effect - children pick one at random to 'impress' the experimenter Didn't consider the relationship with the father Good real world applications
2 Adults and EWT
2.1 STUDY FIVE Memon et al (2003) - Officers say that any witness over 60 is less accurate and reliable when giving EWT than someone who is younger. May mean police treat over 60s differently because they believe they are less reliable and may have to simplify the wording of a question
2.1.1 Procedure: Studied accuracy of young (16-33) and old (60-82) eyewitnesses
2.1.2 Findings: Delay under 35 mins there is no difference in accuracy between the two age groups. Delay of one week then the older group are less accurate
2.1.3 Evaluation The week delay can create false memories The experimenter cannot control if they talk to other participants Research is socially sensitive as this puts them at a disadvantage Individual differences
2.2 STUDY SIX Antasi and Rhodes (2006) Own age bias
2.2.1 Procedure: Individuals from 3 age groups (18-25, 35-45, 55-78) were all shown 24 photos representing the 3 different age groups which they had to rate for attractiveness. They were then given a short 'filler' activity, shown 48 photos (24 of which they had seen previously and 24 which were used as distractors)
2.2.2 Findings: Correct recognition rates showed that young and middle-aged participants were significantly more accurate than the older participants. All 3 age groups were more accurate in identifying photographs from their own age group.
2.2.3 Conclusion: Own-age bias (alo the case for own-race bias) means you are more likely to recognise someone from your own age range Differential experience hypothesis - the more contact we have with members of a particular age/ethnic group, the better our memory would be for such induviduals
2.2.4 Evaluation Wide age ranges Not considered over 75s and under 18s Real world applications Idenitfying photographs and rating them for attractiveness is different to real life identification
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