Outline and Evaluate Research Into the Effects of Age and Anxiety on Eye Witness Testimony.

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Outline and evaluate research into the effects of age and anxiety on E.W.T Eye witness testimony (E.W.T) is one type of memory that has particular relevance to real life. Juries and British police officers rely on eye witness testimony on a daily basis. E.W.T is criticised enough due to the effects of misleading questions (Loftus 1992.) However also there is a lot of research to suggest that E.W.T isn’t as reliable as previously thought, especially when other factors such as anxiety and age are applied. There’s evidence to prove that anxiety and stress has a conflicting effect on a witnesses recall. It’s said that high levels of stress and anxiety can either have a positive or negative effect on recall. A survey done by Christianson and Hubinette (1993) found that 58 witnesses who had been threatened during bank robberies has more detailed and accurate recall of events that those not threatened, even after 15 month. Although this is a survey it has ecological validity as it was conducted in a real life situation. This research suggests that if a person is threatened which will increase stress and anxiety levels, they are more likely to remember. Conversely a meta-analysis of 18 studies into the effects of anxiety on witness recall concluded that high levels of stress negatively impact on recall. The weapon-focus effect (Johnson and Scott 1976) suggests that the presence of a weapon can diminish accuracy in recall. In the experiment participants sat outside an experimental psychology lab, waiting to take part in an experiment. A receptionist was in the room for a short while and made an excuse to leave. Participants in the controlled condition heard inoffensive conversations about an equipment failure and then saw the target individual leave the lab with a grease pen in hand uttering a sentence. Participants in the experimental condition heard an argument with
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