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Title: The effects of post-event feedback on eyewitness testimony
Author: Dixon, Susan
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis raised new questions about how eyewitness evidence might be distorted by information encountered after having witnessed an event.  First, Experiment 1 explored eyewitness perceptions of ambiguous, unfolding scenarios, before post-event feedback (PEF) had been administered.  The study identified the main risk cues used by eyewitnesses to assess the likelihood of whether a crime might occur, which included situation, behaviour, physical appearance and emotion details.  Behaviour (particularly, actions and movements) was the most frequently reported cue.  Subsequent experiments introduced different types of PEF and examined the effects of each on specific aspects of eyewitness evidence. Experiment 2 explored participants’ beliefs regarding actions and details ‘common or typical’ of a mugging incident.  Experiment 3 then asked how PEF about the outcome of a seemingly ambiguous event might affect eyewitness recall.  Eyewitnesses told the outcome was a mugging were more likely to rate the character of the perpetrator and victim more negatively then a neutral and no outcome group.  Eyewitnesses who believed the outcome would be a mugging reported more details consistent with that outcome (based on the mugging script generated in Experiment 2), highlighting the need to acknowledge eyewitnesses’ own beliefs about an event.  Experiment 4 explored the effect of feedback that could be administered during or after an interview.  High agreement with co-witnesses significantly increased eyewitnesses’ reports about how confident they had been at the time of making a judgement about a crime event compared to those told agreement with others was low.  However, in an exploration of the effects of pre-identification feedback, Experiment 5 revealed that co-witness feedback based on recall performance did not significantly affect performance on an identification task.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available