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Title: The mediating and moderating factors of fabricated evidence on false confessions, beliefs and memory
Author: Wright, Deborah S.
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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Fabricated evidence (e.g., doctored videos) can induce people to falsely confess to committing a 'crime' and change the way people remember an event. This happens because memory is both malleable and reconstructive: people remember their past using information available to them in the present. Sometimes people rely on external evidence to tell them what happened, which may or may not be accurate. A wide range of studies have demonstrated the robust and persuasive effect of false evidence in different situations, and some have examined the theoretical mechanisms behind the effect. However, little is known about factors that might mediate or moderate the power of false evidence. This thesis examines some of these factors and their behavioural consequences. Experiments 1 and 2 use a novel method to investigate whether changes in when false evidence is presented, or how many times it is presented, make false evidence more powerful. The results highlight the importance of several theoretical mechanisms, which are then explored in the succeeding chapters. Experiments 3 and 4 use the same method to examine whether the type of evidence presented, or the order in which it is presented, influences its effect. The findings build upon those of Experiments 1 and 2 and suggest some interesting interactions between the different moderating and mediating factors. Combined with a questionnaire examining peoples' perceptions of digitally edited materials, the findings of Experiments 1-4 have practical and methodological implications. Importantly, the results also have potential theoretical implications and suggest modifications to Mazzoni and Kirsch's (2002) model of autobiographical belief and memory. The amended model includes the role of the examined moderating and mediating factors, and thus is better able to account for how external evidence influences memory processes. In sum, this thesis helps us to understand situations in which false evidence might be particularly powerful.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology