The Effects of Emotion on Children’s Eyewitness Testimony

1869 Words4 Pages

During the identification and prosecution of a suspect, eyewitnesses are of the utmost importance. They provide crucial information that determines the fate of the criminal, whether their memories are true to the event or slightly altered. Many eyewitnesses, being the victims of these crimes, have strong emotions related to the event. It has been found that emotions play a role in the accuracy and completeness of memories, especially in eyewitness testimony (Huston, Clifford, Phillips, & Memon, 2013). When emotions are negative in content, accuracy increases for memory of an event (Storbeck & Clore, 2005; Block, Greenberg, & Goodman, 2009). This finding holds true for all types of eyewitnesses, including children. There is no difference in memory between children and adults for aversive events, suggesting that the child eyewitness is just as capable as the adult eyewitness to give an accurate testimony (Cordon, Melinder, Goodman, & Edelstein, 2012). For my research paper, I will focus on the role of emotion in children’s eyewitness testimony.
Children are extremely susceptible to recalling false memories due to suggestive questioning (Quas et al., 1999). Therefore, it is very important that the most accurate testimony is retrieved from the child, and this can be done through emotional focusing. It has been found that emotional focusing increases autobiographical memory, meaning that the more emotionally focused the child is, the better they remember events from their own life (Drummond, Dritschel, Astell, O’Carroll, & Dalgleish 2006). In one study, children were taken to a pretend zoo and reminisced about their experience two days later. They found that children who reminisced about emotions recalled more information about the tr...

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