Discussion Post 3
The assignment is to choose only two of my classmate’s post and reply to their post. One paragraph or two is enough for each of my classmates. Because it is like a discussion post try to be informal and use words like ( I like your points on…, I found your post really interesting, you have a good point…, when I read your post I…, I believe that ….) something like that (using the “I” word)
For the Response Posts you will be graded as follows:
You did not complete any response posts, or your response Posts did not contribute to the discussion question.
You only completed one response post and/or your responses did not contribute to the discussion in a significant way.
Your responses advanced the conversation in a meaningful way, and provided a helpful and unique perspective on the discussion topic.
The question was:
This week we started learning about memory, including memory reconstruction. You read Loftus and Palmer’s landmark study on memory reconstruction. Were you surprised by the results? Why or why not? What do the results suggest about the maleability of memory? The second article surveyed experts in eyewitness testimony. Overall, how do the experts feel about the accuracy of eyewitness testimony? What is the role of an eyewitness expert? If this survey were to be completed now, in 2019, what topics could/should be added to this survey and why?
Your answer was:
Reading through the Loftus and Palmer (1974), I was not surprised at all due to the fact when it comes to the description of events seen by the same person there is often different accounts. The main section of the research, however, described the probability of perspective and reconstruction of memory as the main culprit owing to the fact that memory seems to be central in the way the information was processed. However, in my opinion, the definitive section is the fact that connection of the memory is in life with the perception that was already in place and thus the events were connected to information that was already in eth brain. In this way, it became hard for the recount not to be associated with eth conclusive information. on this account, therefore, there I depiction of mirrors in the smashing of the cars due to the fact that it was expected from the beginning and thus when accounting, this seems to be important information.
The support of this fact is given by Kassin, Tubb, Hosch, and Memon (2001) when they describe the fact that error of witness account is a psychological issue and thus definitive of the bias when it comes to the description of the events and how they occurred. In recognition of this fact, there is a great support in the fact that malleability of information is a factor of learned and perceived information and by this definition, a psychological burden in which information processing is associated to the connection that was made before and the implication that was perceived. Hence prioritization of information is one of the elements that affect the way transference of information is done as there is an unconscious association of the effect of information to the way that it is presented.
In understanding this fact, I found that experts are almost divided on the accuracy of information but are all reliant on the fact that the correlation of information to its presentation is important in viewing their accuracy. At the same time, the concern is voiced on the generalization of conclusion and by this effect, accountability and validity of information are based on circumstance and exposure that affect the memory recount (Kassin, Tubb, Hosch, & Memon, 2001). Therefore, the role of the eyewitness is to give validity to the account and thus a validation for a situation that has already been established. If the survey were to be completed now, the topic that should be added is the “populism effect” of the court session, the media influence, and the socio-economic factors. This due to eth fact that popularity id=s driven by the interest of the media and eth social media issue in the “tell it all” phenomena which often translate to reality and instantaneous fame.
The classmate’s answers:
The results of Loftus and Palmer’s study were not at all surprising, given what we have learned to date about how memories are formed and how information is recalled. In both experiments, the movie clips of the accidents were only seconds long, and there was no emotional connection to the information that was presented- the participants weren’t watching a video of an accident that they or a loved one were involved in, which would help establish better connections to the memory.
The verbs used to describe the accident have significant meaning- I associate the word ‘smash’ with pieces, whether it is a pumpkin, a window or a car accident. Schematic knowledge and the interviewer’s word choice led the participants to regularize the memory, by adding in what they thought must have happened, based on the meaning of the words (Reisberg, 287). The results suggest that memories can be malleable. In this case, it was a single word that introduced bias in the participants’ memories, causing them to add details that didn’t occur.
The eyewitness research survey indicates that the experts don’t have much confidence in the accuracy of eyewitness testimony with regard to the survey factors. One clear example of this is topic 12, ‘Unconscious Transfer’, which addresses perhaps the most critical job of an eyewitness: identification of a suspect. The experts feel strongly that misidentification can occur. The role of the eyewitness expert is to educate the jury about factors that may influence the accuracy of the eyewitness’s account of the incident or the accurate identification of a perpetrator.
If the survey were to be completed today, substance abuse (other than alcohol), may be a factor to consider, since it is shown to impact cognitive function. Research indicates that addiction results in alteration of certain brain regions, including the hippocampus, which plays an important part in memory (Gould, 2010).
Loftus and Palmer’s study on memory reconstruction was pretty explicit in it’s results showing just how malleable, and in some thus unreliable, memory can be. The results showed that largely, the memory of witnesses can be altered by how the questions probing for information is asked. Using more poignant words such as smash when referig to a car crash often resulted in higher estimations of speed in a collision, whereas words such as hit or tapped would result in much lower estimations of speed. This suggests that memory is highly influenced by the original perception of the information combine with the secondary external information provided after the fact. In other words, memories can be combine with new information to essentially modify or falsify the reality of what happened. In a follow up study regarding experts opinions of eyewitness testimonies, the results were not inspiring in terms of experts opinion of reliability. In a selection of eyewitness topics, more than half of them had a reliability percentage of less than 90%. More than a quarter had less than 60%. The results seemed to indicate certain types of eyewitness topics are regarded as more reliable than others. For example, wording of questions and lineup instructions are incredibly reliable while long-term repressions is incredible low. With this in mind, the article states that the role of these expert witnesses is to educate the jury rather than to assist one side or another. Given that times have changed since the original publication of this article it’s extremely important that keep in mind how we determine reliability of information in 2019. I believe that the influence of media needs to be looked at as well as the influence of misinformation within eyewitnesses.
Eyewitness testimonies are one of the many pieces of evidence which can be used in court, whether in defense or offense towards someone being accused. For many years it was simply accepted as perfectly valid to use in court. However, research in the field of psychology, specifically in how our memory works and can be manipulated, is starting to raise the question “how valid are eyewitness testimonies really?”
A study was conducted by Elizabeth F. Loftus and John C. Palmer, which had experiments which aimed to address that concern. In the first experiment, forty-five students participated in varying group sizes. Seven films were shown, each depicting traffic accidents. After each film, the students were asked to describe the accident they had just watched happen, and then were asked specific questions about them. The key question they were asked is how fast the cars were going when they hit each other. Different students were asked the question slightly differently, however. The verb hit was sometimes worded as smashed, collided, bumped and contacted instead of hit. The estimates the students gave did vary based on the word choice, with the highest mean speed estimate being 40.8 when the word smashed was used and the lowest mean speed estimate being 31.8 when the word contacted was used. Furthermore, collided had a mean speed estimate of 39.3, bumped had a mean speed estimate of 38.1 and hit had a mean speed estimate of 34.0. All of these estimates were in miles per hour. Four of the seven crashed were actually staged, with one collision taking place at 20 mph, one at 30, and the other two at 40. The mean estimates of the speeds were 37.7, 36.2, 39.7, and 36.1 mph respectively. Not only does this study agree with previous work which concluded people are awful at judging how fast a car is moving, it also showed how altering even just one word can markedly and systematically affect someone’s answer to the question. The actual speed of the vehicles controlled little variance in the responses whereas the phrasing of the question controlled a lot of variance. For example, the word smashed had the highest mean speed estimate, because simply using the word smashed there may have changed the students memory to “see” the accident to be more severe than it actually was.
The second experiment was conducted with a similar goal in mind. One-hundred and fifty participants were also shown films of car accidents, and filled out a questionnaire about them afterwards. Among the questions, fifty participants were asked how fast the cars were going when they hit each other, fifty were asked how fast the cars were going when they smashed into each other, and fifty were not asked about vehicular speeds at all. One week later, the subjects returned and without viewing the films again, were asked several questions about the accidents. The critical question here was “did you see any broken glass?” In reality, there was no broken glass in the film. Of the fifty who were asked how fast the cars were going when they smashed into each other, sixteen said yes to there being broken glass, and thirty-four said no. Of the fifty who heard the word hit instead of smashed, seven responded with yes and 43 responded with no. Of the fifty who were not asked about vehicular speeds, six said yes, and forty-four said no. The reasoning is similar to the previous experiment, being that if you heard the word smashed you likely recalled the memory of the accident being far worse than it actually was. The worse a car accident is, the more likely that it is to spawn broken glass.
Overall, these results did not surprise me. I have always known the way you word things can affect how someone reacts to your statement, so seeing this applies to how people recall things from memory seems to make perfect sense. Memory is just as malleable and subject to manipulation as any of our thoughts and senses.
The second article I had to read surveyed experts in eyewitness testimony. Overall, experts seem to think that eyewitness testimonies are complete phonies (hey that rhymes). They found a number of factors which can easily affect the testimony of an eyewitness, including stress, the presence of a weapon, wording of questions, how violent an event was, and so many others. It is safe to say that eyewitness testimonies should not be used as direct pieces of evidence, due to how easy they are to manipulate and how difficult it would be to regulate them into being done fairly and legitimately. They could serve as support evidence, but never as a primary source. If this survey were to be completed now, in 2019, I believe there is one huge topic which should be added to the survey: mental heath/stability. How mentally healthy/stable one appeared to act during an event can certainly influence the way you might recall what happened at whatever incident you are recalling. This is mostly due to the recent uprising in people
In experiment 1, I was surprised by the results. In the experiment it came to the conclusion that people are not very good at judging how fast a vehicle was actually going. I new would have thought all those words would have made a difference in the speed of the car or if people were just that unfamiliar/completely off about their predictions. All of the words used for the impact of the two cars sounds the same.
In experiment 2 I was not surprised either. This indicated 1.) More people will say “yes” to seeing broken glass because they expect it with an accident and 2.) When using a different kind of verb for the car crash more people are expected to say, “yes” to broken glass being at the accident. There are two main sources that play a role in our memory when an incident occurs. First information is gleaned during the perception of the original event. Second is external information supplied after the fact. As time passed information can get disorganized from being interrogated. This will result in someone not being able to recall specific accurate information. I was in an accident at one point and I had to recall every detail. I had a very difficult time and it felt more like recognition rather than recall. I was familiar with specific details but I was not positive if it was accurate at sometimes. The malleability of memory can be our friend and our enemy. It reminds you of what you need in your day-to-day lives but it can also convince you of something you saw that wasn’t actually present which leads to reconstructing entire scenarios.
Surveyed experts in eyewitness testimony
Experts feel that the accuracy of eyewitness testimony is unreliable. There are many topics that were tested where the experts proved to make a statement based on how unreliable each topic during was eyewitness testimony. The eyewitness expert can testify during a case stating how the eyewitness memory was inaccurate/unreliable during the event. It can help prove someone’s innocence epically when the victim may have had an impaired recall of memory during that stress time. I think if the survey was to be completed in 2019, there should be more questions based on the mental health of that patient that’s playing the victim. So many factors in each person’s life can cause a fog in someone’s memory. I understand stress is already asked but I think maybe anxiety, family status, any medications or alcohol involved. There are so many factors that could impair someone’s memory that I feel its almost hard to get accurate testing and surveys provided. In the other sense, its almost sad for someone to go through a criminal case and tell the truth and then be told that there memory is unreliable.
I wasn’t really surprised by the results because the terms “hit” and “smashed” can indicate different meaning to everyone. Based on everyone’s memories, it depends on how they see. The result about the malleability of memory suggests that neuroplasticity in our brain allows us to learn quickly through experiences but the memory is information that is neurochemically stored in the brain. Our brian doesn’t get perfect information and able to recall the exact situation that you saw. Everyone has their own different interpretations of how they see and remember the accident. There was a strong consensus from experts but not accurate. Some experiment based on expert’s opinion like repressed and/or false memories of trauma. Their role as eyewitness expert is to provide identification is in question and educate jurors about factors that may influence an individual’s performance. We should add a topic related to technology like if an eyewitness has a video or a photo as evidence that “support” their memories and discuss how they see it through technology. I said technology because today we have technology almost everywhere and we use it every day.
According to this article and the experiment they conducted, the way one phrases a question can influence a witness’s answer. These results did not surprise me because memories can be altered, not always on purpose. However, is it still very interesting that we can create false memories because our brains and memories are so malleable that things can get distorted.
In the other article, the experts felt that due to the wording of questions, suggestibility, biases, and many other factors, eyewitness testimonies are not always accurate. The role of one of these eyewitness experts is to determine whether the eyewitness testimonies are accurate or not. If this survey were given in 2019, factors such as technology, the internet, social media, and more should be covered within the survey.