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The Effect of Violent Human Interaction in Eyewitness Memory

Muniz, Lizandra

Years of research in eyewitness reliability have proved that human memory can be fallible producing perpetrator misidentification thus leaving real criminals out on the streets. Many innocent suspects have been wrongfully identified and convicted to years of prison just because the jury and the judge put heavy emphasis on the eyewitness statement. New DNA technology has been able to prove the innocence of many convicted suspects, but it is still a small fraction of the possible unjust imprisonments in the United States. This study aims to explore witnesses fear and empathy as predictors of memory accuracy and correct perpetrator identification from a live lineup. In the first condition subjects will witness a staged violent attack from a person to another person. In the second condition subjects will witness a violent attack from a person towards a non-human target. It is expected that eyewitnesses will better recall the specifics of the event and more accurately identify the perpetrator in the human-object interaction than in the human-human interaction.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychology (Barnard College)
Thesis Advisors
Heuer, Larry B.
Degree
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
May 26, 2011