Final Project – Sampling

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Final Project: Sampling

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PSY302:  Research Methods

Instructor: 

Argosy University

Research Hypothesis

The common law, with its preference for oral evidence from witnesses, developed its own rules relating to them. This has generated literature in other disciplines relating to witnesses and their credibility and reliability in visual identification in particular. Two classes of witnesses are presently controversial: children in sexual assault cases and those claiming to have recovered lost memories of sexual assaults. Much of the literature conceals common-law rules about onus of proof, particularly in criminal trials. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt while the defendant need only raise a reasonable doubt. This makes issues of witness reliability less significant for the prosecution than they are for the defendant.

Final Project: Sampling

Eyewitness testimony is a reliable source of evidence in today’s judicial system: An Annotated Bibliography

Bentham, Jeremy, Rationale of Judicial Evidence, Specially Applied to English Practice, edited by Mill, John Stuart, 5 Vols., London: Hunt and Clarke, 1827; reprinted Littleton, Colorado: Rothman, 1995.

BENTHAM saved some of his most caustic sarcasm for the common law’s irrational treatment of witnesses, “the most remarkable singularity of the law of England”. His “natural system of proof” based on family disputes, where family members give their account and are questioned in the presence of others, required that all witnesses be available for the legal process to produce a decision marked by integrity. In book three, chapter one “Cases enumerated”, volume 5, pp.1-8, he outlines the categories of those excluded as witnesses by the common law because their evidence might be deceptive. They included those with an interest in the case including a pecuniary interest, both defendants and plaintiffs in civil cases and the accused in criminal prosecutions, those convicted of perjury or other infamous crimes, atheists, those with religious objections to oaths, infancy and insanity, and other infirmities. In book three, chapter two, “Danger of deception not a proper ground for exclusion of evidence”, volume 5, pp.9-33, he demonstrated why reasons for deception should go to weight rather than admissibility. He preferred the term “inadmissible” to the common law’s “incompetent” or “not credible”. In spite of Bentham’s abusive language, which reaches a minor climax in book three, chapter three “Impropriety of exclusion on the ground of interest”, volume 5, pp.34-77, lawyers responded positively and in the course of the 19th century these grounds of incompetency were removed. A major exception was the retention of the right to silence of the accused in a criminal trial with the accused becoming a competent but not a compellable witness.

Biskupic, J. (2011, November 2). Supreme Court examines reliability of eyewitness testimony. USATODAY.COM. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/story/2011-11-02/supreme-court-eyewitness-testimony-reliability/51049540/1

“This article discusses how eyewitness testimony can be unreliable.” “Controlled experiments as well as studies of actual identifications have consistently found that the rate of incorrect identifications is approximately 33 percent.”

Ceci, Stephen J.; Maggie Bruck, “Suggestibility of the Child Witness: Historical Review and Synthesis”, Psychological Bulletin, 113/3(1993): 403-39.

CECI & BRUCK review the turmoil in studies of suggestibility in child witnesses, a controversial topic particularly in sexual assault criminal trials where the child is the only witness. Suggestibility is the incorporation of information obtained after an event into the memory of that event. They conclude that, in spite of significant variability depending on age, children are capable of recalling much that is relevant but that better ways to elicit that testimony and provide a solid basis for prosecution and conviction or acquittal are required. This will reduce, if not avoid, the serious cognitive and social hazards of suggestibility. The resolution of the conflict, to which they looked forward, is overly optimistic.

Cutler, Brian L.; Steven D. Penrod. (1995). Mistaken Identification: The Eyewitness, Psychology, and the Law, New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

CUTLER & PENROD deal with the well-documented subject of misidentification of people by eyewitnesses. They critically analyze the interdisciplinary studies, mainly in psychology, which show how unreliable such identification can be. They find that legal safeguards are inadequate as judges resist the calling of evidence from psychological experts who are the best sources of information for judges and jurors about memory processes and eyewitness confidence and presentation bias. The result, they claim, is that erroneous convictions continue to occur. The authors understate two problems. Observers in the courtroom itself cannot know what is the reality or truth about identity. Laboratory studies are difficult to apply to the trial process with its many sources of evidence.

Chan, J. (2011, February 8). Eyewitness memory susceptible to misinformation after testing. Phys.org – Science News, Technology, Physics, Nanotechnology, Space Science, Earth Science, Medicine. Retrieved from http://phys.org/news/2011-02-eyewitness-memory-susceptible-misinformation.html

“This article talks about the Orlando Sentinel newspaper reported that Palm Beach County, Fla., law enforcement is working to develop a consistent set of rules for eyewitnesses, hoping it will help prevent false convictions. And a new Iowa State University study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology finds that there may be good reason to question the recall of some eyewitnesses.”

Fisher, G., Tversky, B., & Engelhardt, L. (1999, April 5). The problem with eyewitness testimony. Stanford Journal of Legal Studies. Retrieved from agora.stanford.edu/sjls/Issue%20One/fisher&tversky.htm

“This article discusses how eyewitness testimony can be falsified or how an eyewitness can remember one thing but turning out to be something else entirely.”

“Perjury is a crime, because lying under oath can subvert the integrity of a trial and the legitimacy of the judicial system. However, perjury is defined as knowingly making a false statement—merely misremembering is not a crime.”

Gurney, D. J., Pine, K. J., & Wiseman, R. (2013). The Gestural Misinformation Effect: Skewing Eyewitness Testimony through Gesture. The American Journal of Psychology, 126(3), 301-314.

Hoscheidt, S. M. (2011). Impairing and enhancing effects of psychosocial stress on episodic memory and eyewitness report. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona.

Howry, T., & Dobbs, D. (2000, March 28). The Effects of Authority on the Acceptance of Misinformation. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse. Retrieved from http://webclearinghouse.net/volume/3/HOWERY-TheEffects.php

“The effect of authority on the acceptance of misinformation was examined. A total of 25 students in two different classes were exposed to a statement supposedly completed by their professor, concerning an alleged theft. One class was subjected to authority pressure from a security guard to accept the misinformation. The other class was asked by the same security guard, now with a friendly demeanor, to review the statement and sign if they agreed. All subjects signed the misinformation statements. It appears the effect of authority is stronger than we had hypothesized, since all signed, even though some added disclaimer notations.”

Kerr, Norbert L.; Robert M. Bray (editors). (1981). the Psychology of the Courtroom, New York: Academic Press, 1981.

KERR contains two articles in the field of psychology on witnesses, which are significant in both contemporary legal practice and law reform. Gerald R. Miller & Judee K. Burgoon, “Factors affecting assessment of witness credibility”, pp. 169-94, examine non-verbal aspects of witness behaviour affecting credibility including facial and other body language. Stephen Penrod, Elizabeth Loftin & John Winkler, “The reliability of eyewitness testimony: a psychological perspective”, pp.119-68, identify processes important in human memory and the difficulties in visual identification, particularly cross-racial identification, and also examine the impact of eyewitness testimony on the triers of fact. Both contain detailed bibliographies of previous studies, which are now dated.

Loftus, Elizabeth; Katherine Ketcham, the Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse, New York: St Martin’s Press, 1994.

LOFTUS & KETCHAM provide a number of case studies of witnesses who claim that they have recovered long-repressed memories of being sexually abused. They show how memory does not resemble a camera and is constantly reconstructed. This can make for highly inaccurate representations of what occurred. The examples make the book episodic but this also may be the contextualization missing in abstract legal writing. The informal style may make the book more readable for some and less for others. They insist that scientific principles have an objectivity that gives them priority over ideology or faith.

Lapaglia, J. (20110101). Initial Testing Reduces Eyewitness Suggestibility for Faces. Iowa: Graduate Theses and Dissertations.

Loftus, E., & Hoffman, H. (1989, March 2). University of Washington. Misinformation and Memory the Creation of New Memories. Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/Articles/hoff.htm

“This article discusses misleading information presented after an event that lead people to erroneous reports of that misinformation. Different process histories can be responsible for the same erroneous report in different people.”

Matsiyevskaya, I. (2011). Reducing misinformation effects while maintaining accurate recall in eyewitness memory. Maryland: Towson University. Dept. of Psychology.

McGough, Lucy S., Child Witnesses: Fragile Voices in the American Legal System, New Haven, Connecticut and London: Yale University Press, 1994.

McGOUGH reviews the social science about, and legal challenges to, the reliability and admissibility of children’s testimony in sexual assault trials. She considers their treatment as adult witnesses to be inappropriate. She reviews the hearsay exceptions in US law for such witnesses and is equivocal about whether shielding them in cross-examination produces as reliable or more reliable evidence. Her suggestion that an early interview that is video-recorded may prevent both the loss which occurs with time and the addition that occurs through repetition might be too simplistic an answer to such complex issues.

O’Barr, William M. (1982). Linguistic Evidence: Language, Power, and Strategy in the Courtroom, New York: Academic Press, 1982.

O’BARR uses linguistic and anthropological techniques to analyze the significance of language in assessing the credibility of a witness. Four characteristics make witnesses more credible: a powerful style, a narrative structure, and little assistance from counsel, and avoidance of unnatural formal speech. In chapter three, “Legal assumptions about language and communication”, pp.31-49, there is an interesting analysis of advocacy guide books used by lawyers. In the conclusion nine rules for counsel and witnesses are formulated from the results of the research, pp.120-1. An older study, it is of continuing significance as it is based on empirical court studies and has influenced advocacy techniques.

Ridley, A. M., & Gabbert, F. (2012). Suggestibility in Legal Contexts Psychological Research and Forensic Implications. Hoboken: Wiley.

Stambor, Z. (2006, April 1). How reliable is eyewitness testimony? American Psychological Association. Vol. 37, No. 4, Print version: page 26. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr06/eyewitness.

“This article talks about Psychologists that are helping police and juries rethink the role of eyewitness identifications and testimony.”

Wigmore, John Henry, Evidence in Trials at Common Law, 4th edition, 13 Vols. Boston: Little Brown, 1961-88 (plus yearly supplement).

WIGMORE, Evidence in Trials at Common Law, is a detailed exposition of legal principles and rules set in their historical evolutionary development. Most of the volumes contain significant material relating to witnesses. Volume three, chapters 2.8-9, cover recollection and communication of testimony and, in chapter 27, the special knowledge required for particular evidence including opinion evidence. In volume seven, chapter 68, the opinion rule, which generally prevents witnesses from expressing opinions unless they are specially qualified, is demonstrated with a number of examples. Volume two, chapters 18-25, includes the topics of testimonial evidence and the qualifications of witnesses including moral depravity, mental immaturity and derangement, interests, and marital relationship. These are returned to in volume three a, chapters 31-6, and volume four, chapter 38, in the context of impeachment of witness credibility and its rehabilitation. Volume seven, chapters 80-7, contains immunities from testifying or privileges relating to self-incrimination, the legal profession, marriage, state secrets or public interest, physicians, and priests. Volume six, chapter 63, deals with the exclusion of witnesses from hearings until they have testified. The detail may be too much for some.

Outline

The defendant’s characteristics

  • How reliable is Eyewitness testimony?
    • How persuasive is eyewitness testimony?
    • How accurate are eyewitnesses?
    • The misinformation effect
    • Retelling
    • Feedback to witnesses
    • Reducing error
      • Train police interviewers
          • Minimize false lineup identifications
              • Educate jurors
              • What other factors influence juror judgments?

              Physical attractiveness

              Similarity to jurors

              The judge’s instructions

              Other issues

              Sources of misinformation: media, eyewitnesses, police officers, etc. (can be subtle or blatant).

              • What influences the individual juror?
                • Understanding instructions
                • Understanding statistical information
                • Increasing juror’s understanding
                • How do group influences affect juries?
                • Leniency
                • Are 12 heads better than 1?
                • Are 6 heads as good as 12?
                • System Variables: these are variables under the control of the Justice System. For example, we know that the Cognitive Interview questions affect how the person responds which affects memory accuracy.
                • Misinformation: where you provide misleading information in the retention interval (the time between when you witness an event and when you are asked to recall/recognize it) can reduce our ability to recall memories accurately.
              • Sampling Technique for Investigation

                • Misinformation is more likely internalized when it:
                  • Possible Reasons for the Misinformation Effect:
                • Two types of hypotheses interest psychologists: causal hypotheses and associative hypotheses. The conclusions that can be reached from studies examining these hypotheses and the methods that should be used to investigate them differ. Causal hypotheses examine how a manipulation affects future events, whereas associative hypotheses examine how often certain events co-occur. In general, experimental methods with random allocation are well suited for addressing causal hypotheses, whereas random sampling is an asset when examining associative hypotheses. These hypotheses are discussed primarily with reference to 4 topics within eyewitness testimony research: the own-race bias, emotion and memory, event duration estimation, and system variables in lineups. Some other examples in forensic psychology are provided to illustrate difference between causal and associative hypotheses.

                  References

                  Convictions Based on Credible Evidence. (n.d.). Blind Justice. Retrieved August 28, 2014, from http://www.blind-justice.org/convictions-based-credible-evidence

                  Davies, L. (2011, February 7). Eyewitness Testimony and the misinformation effect. Memory and Cognition. Retrieved August 28, 2014, from http://memoryandcognition.blogspot.co.uk/

                  Lecture 22 Eyewitness Testimony and the Misinformation Effect flashcards | Quizlet. (n.d.). Simple free learning tools for students and teachers | Quizlet. Retrieved June 22, 2013, from http://quizlet.com/5758301/lecture-22-eyewitness-testimony-and-the-misinformation-effect-flash-cards/

                  The Misinformation Effect and Eyewitness Accounts – Free Social Psychology Video. (n.d.). Take Free Online Courses. Earn College Credit. Research Schools, Degrees & Careers. Retrieved June 22, 2013, from http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/the-misinformation-effect-and-eyewitness-accounts.html

                  Zaragoza, M., Belli, R., & Payment, K. (n.d.). Kent Edu. Misinformation Effects and the Suggestibility of Eyewitness Memory. Retrieved June 22, 2013, from http://www.personal.kent.edu/~mzaragoz/publications/Zaragoza%20chapter%204%20Garry%20Hayne.pdf

                  Biskupic, J. (2011, November 2). Supreme Court examines reliability of eyewitness testimony. USATODAY.COM. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/story/2011-11-02/supreme-court-eyewitness-testimony-reliability/51049540/1

                  Chan, J. (2011, February 8). Eyewitness memory susceptible to misinformation after testing. Phys.org – Science News, Technology, Physics, Nanotechnology, Space Science, Earth Science, Medicine. Retrieved from http://phys.org/news/2011-02-eyewitness-memory-susceptible-misinformation.html

                  Fisher, G., Tversky, B., & Engelhardt, L. (1999, April 5). The problem with eyewitness testimony. Stanford Journal of Legal Studies. Retrieved from agora.stanford.edu/sjls/Issue%20One/fisher&tversky.htm

                  Gurney, D. J., Pine, K. J., & Wiseman, R. (2013). The Gestural Misinformation Effect: Skewing Eyewitness Testimony through Gesture. The American Journal of Psychology, 126(3), 301-314.

                  Hoscheidt, S. M. (2011). Impairing and enhancing effects of psychosocial stress on episodic memory and eyewitness report. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona.

                  Howry, T., & Dobbs, D. (2000, March 28). The Effects of Authority on the Acceptance of Misinformation. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse. Retrieved from http://webclearinghouse.net/volume/3/HOWERY-TheEffects.php

                  Lapaglia, J. (20110101). Initial Testing Reduces Eyewitness Suggestibility for Faces. Iowa: Graduate Theses and Dissertations.

                  Loftus, E., & Hoffman, H. (1989, March 2). University of Washington. Misinformation and Memory the Creation of New Memories. Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/Articles/hoff.htm

                  Matsiyevskaya, I. (2011). Reducing misinformation effects while maintaining accurate recall in eyewitness memory. Maryland: Towson University. Dept. of Psychology.

                  Ridley, A. M., & Gabbert, F. (2012). Suggestibility in Legal Contexts Psychological Research and Forensic Implications. Hoboken: Wiley.

                  Stambor, Z. (2006, April 1). How reliable is eyewitness testimony? American Psychological Association. Vol. 37, No. 4, Print version: page 26. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr06/eyewitness.




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