Eyewitness Testimonies Essay

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Eyewitness testimonies were a large factor in the conviction of possible suspects. They are commonly asked to recognize the suspect, several years after the actual crime. However, research done by psychologists suggest that eyewitness testimonies are very unreliable. When people encode and process their memories, they lose and alter part of it, and when it is retrieved, the memories have been revised with what they later imagined or experienced. The wording effect and the misinformation effect also plays a large role in leading the witness to reconstruct false memories. For example, by using different verbs like hit, smashed, crashed, and bumped, very different testimonies can be given from the witnesses. Leading questions from investigators…show more content…
Juries can make sure that the questioning process is conducted properly and with little bias. The witness should not be informed of the suspects so they can tell their testimony from a neutral perspective. The one who provides the lineup should also not know the suspect so they cannot provide any cues, like facial expressions, that reveal their thoughts, similar to a double blind procedure. When given a list of faces to recognize the perpetrator from, they should be reminded that the real criminal may or may not be there. The lineup should be organized in a way so that no specific person stands out in comparison. The faces provided should match the witness’ description of the perpetrator rather than the suspect. Rather than giving a long time for the witness to ponder, construct new descriptions of the perpetrator, and thus choose the one they believe seems the most suspicious, they should be given just a few seconds so they must rely on their intuition. This is the speeded confidence procedure, in which they also rate their confidence on the answer chosen. Overall, although eyewitness testimonies have been suggested to be very unreliable, by using these techniques and procedures, the validity of the testimonies can be improved and it can be changed to include minimal bias. However, the

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