BY: DAMILOLA OGUNSHOLA
FOR: MISS EVANS
HOMEWORK: 12 MARK QUESTIONS (EWT)
DATE: 09 NOVEMBER 2011
1) Outline and evaluate research into the effects of anxiety on the accuracy of EWT
Loftus (1979) reported a study where participants were exposed to one of two situations;
1. overheard a low-key discussion in a laboratory about equipment failure, a person then emerged from the laboratory holding a pen, and with grease on his hands
2. They overheard a heated and hostile exchange between people in the laboratory. After the sound of breaking glass and crashing chairs, a man emerged from the laboratory holding a paper knife covered in blood.
Participants were given 50 photos and asked to identify the person left the laboratory
1. Witnesses of the man with the pen accurately identified the person 49% of the time, whereas;
2. Witnesses of a man with bloodstained letter opener were successful only 33% of the time.
This has become known as the ‘weapon focus’ whereby the witness concentrates on the weapon and this distracts attention from the appearance of the perpetrator.
Loftus concluded that fear of anxiety induced by the sight of a weapon narrows the focus of attention and gives rise to key accurate recall of the central details of the scene, but diminishes accurate recall of peripheral details. He concluded that the fear and anxiety induced by the sight of the weapon narrows the focus of attention and gives rise to very accurate recall of the central details of the scene but less accurate recall to peripheral details.
Research by Loftus and Burns in 1982 later provided support for this finding. In this study participants watched either a violent or non violent short film of a crime. Those who saw the violent crime in which a baby was shot in the face were less accurate in recalling information about the crime.
However, it is argued that both studies lack validity as both were laboratory experiments and a different result...