Reinstatement In Criminal Investigations

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Psychologists have contributed immensely on the ways in which an appropriate investigative interview should be conducted. As would be clear by the above discussion, incorrect questioning can bias the memories of the witnesses. The classical studies by Loftus and her colleagues have emphasized the importance of suggestibility. A study conducted by RAND Corporation (1975) found that although eyewitness testimony was an important variable that determined whether a case was solved or not, yet many eyewitnesses were unreliable as they were highly suggestive. Hence, it is extremely important that police officials and others who are involved in the criminal investigation process are properly trained in conducting interviews. However, sadly most of…show more content…
Mental reinstatement of the context of the crime: The witness needs to recall the context of the crime and hence is instructed to reconstruct mentally the circumstances of the crime. The context is both internal as well as external. Internal context may include for e.g. the emotions being experienced by the witness during the crime (e.g. fear) or the thoughts of the witness during the crime (e.g. “she seems so tall”; “she has such a hoarse voice”). Hence internal context is with reference to the emotions and cognitions happening inside the witness. External context may include various external aspects of the circumstances of the crime such as the time of the day, distinctive smells, placement of the furniture, weather conditions etc. Mental reinstatement of the context of the crime increases the overlap of the conditions that exist when the crime was being observed (also called encoding) and the conditions that exist when the crime is being recalled (also called retrieval). The greater the overlap in the contexts of the encoding stage and the retrieval stage, the greater the recall. This principle is in line with encoding specificity principle of memory (Tulving & Thomson,…show more content…
One issue investigated has been if there a functional difference between 6- and 12-member juries. Benefits of smaller juries include more equal sharing by the members in the discussion, higher satisfactions of deliberations, and higher levels of group cohesiveness. However, juries of 12 people recalled more evidence accurately and generated a larger number of arguments. They were also more likely to contain member of minorities and hence were more demographically representative of the community than 6-person juries. Research has also been undertaken by psychologists to the study of how beliefs and attitudes of jurors can influence their decision making. The ‘Story Model’ is the most popular model to describe decision making by a jury which rests on the assumption that jurors organize evidence in a narrative, story-like format. The reliability of the witness has also been questioned by psychologists. Many factors may affect the reliability of eyewitness evidence. One factor may be the kind of information that the witness is exposed to after the crime has occurred. This distortion in memory after exposure to post-event misinformation is known as the ‘postevent misinformation effect’ or the ‘suggestibility effect’. Other studies have found that if there

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