Does the public hold a stereotypical view of the reliability of eyewitness testimony?

Luther, Lee (2015) Does the public hold a stereotypical view of the reliability of eyewitness testimony? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The evidence provided by an eyewitness in a criminal trial can be of tremendous significance to the outcome of the trial, to the lives of those involved in the trial, and to justice itself. More than one hundred years of psychological research has produced a vast amount of published material evaluating eyewitness testimony and the functions, strengths and limitations of memory.
    While much research exists concerning the influences, both external and internal, that might affect the ability of an eyewitness to provide accurate and meaningful evidence in a criminal trial, research shows that public perceptions and scientific knowledge around the reliability of eyewitness testimony differ significantly.
    This study examines 55 responses to an anonymous questionnaire designed to explore the perceptions and attitudes of the public to the reliability of eyewitness testimony and to ascertain whether the attitudes of the public are influenced by stereotyped ideas of the effectiveness of such testimony. The findings illustrate that despite the long history of experimental psychological research, science and the general public hold opposing views on some highly significant areas concerning memory and eyewitness reliability. Analysis of the responses reveals that the public has a tendency to adhere to ideas that could be considered stereotypical, rather than empirically robust, when estimating the effect of some psychological influences known to affect memory.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 12:29
    Last Modified: 30 Jun 2015 12:29

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