Identification Of Eyewitness

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An eyewitness is considered to be a valuable asset for police officers who are involved in solving crimes in order to protect the community and convict those who are in the wrong. An eyewitness is a person who has either seen a crime or has some sort of knowledge of the wrong doing and can be a victim or bystander. When the police begin to question the witness, the accuracy of the answers will depend on the clarity of the memory, and the ability to recall and retrieve the memory. In order to understand eyewitnesses and their reliability when it comes to identifying a perpetrator, we must study memory which falls under the umbrella of cognitive psychology.

In the process of memory, there are three stages which are; encoding, storage and retrieval. All three stages determines whether or not a memory is stored or forgotten.The first stage is the processing of information which is known as encoding. Encoding involves converting information into a useable form so that it can be stored in memory. There are many ways of encoding such as acoustically, visually or semantically. Storage, which is the second stage, involves the retention of the information. This is done by organising information so it can be used or retrieved when required. Lastly the retrieval process is where locating and recovering the information stored in the long term memory occurs. In order to retrieve this information back to the short term memory, prompts or cues may be used. The information can be recalled and recognised. Recall is when material can be retrieved without providing a cue whereas recognition is the ability to bring forth information through the use of a cue (Lecture,2013) This is important as eyewitnesses may be asked to ...

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...e reliable as eyewitness, it is important that when they are being interviewed, it is in a non suggestive manner in order to avoid them from answering the way the interviewer desires.

Another factor that influences the eyewitnesses reliability is the weapon focus effect. In this effect, witnesses are likely to recall details about the weapon, but less likely to remember other details such as the description of the perpetrator. This obviously affects the reliability of the eyewitness as they pay less attention to other important details of the crime scene. it is suggested that because the weapon diverts the attention of the witness, details can not be recalled. The witness may also feel emotional stress such as anxiousness which can once again affect the ability to remember certain details and therefore influence the eyewitnesses ability to identify a perpetrator.
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