Eyewitness Testimony Paper

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Eyewitness testimony serves as a vital part of cases being heard in the court system as evidence for both the prosecution and defense. However, such a crucial piece of evidence is easily influenced by factors that can alter its accuracy and consequently its reliability (Olson & Wells, 2003). In order for the court system to continue allowing this form of evidence a great deal of research has been spent on finding these influences, and the affects it has on eyewitness recall and testimony. The research in this paper will research the effect listening to instrumental and lyrical music has on eyewitness testimony.
Loftus and Palmer have conducted several studies involving eyewitness testimony. Loftus and Palmer (1974) studied the effects of verb choice in questions on the eyewitness’s answers. The results of the accuracy of the participant’s eyewitness testimony showed support of being effected by the language used in the questions (Loftus & Palmer, 1974). The following verbs were varied based on the groups eyewitnesses were placed in: “collided”, “bumped”, “hit”, and “smashed”
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The results demonstrated that if a question included a false presupposition (the existence of an object that did not exist in the video) or a true presupposition (the existence of an object that was in the scene) that subjects have an increased chance at remembering the presuppositions at a later time (Loftus, 1975). The data supports that questions immediately asked may alter the memory representation of the event by introducing “new—not necessarily correct—information” (Loftus, 1975, p.1). The results agree with the findings in the Loftus and Palmer (1974) and further expand on the effects of the language used in questions have on retrieval and shaping of a

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