Witnesses and Misinformation Effect
explores five articles that were published online all of which analyze the
significance of eyewitness testimonies and the misinformation effect that may
arise.An eyewitness is a person that sees some act, thing or occurrence and
gives a first-hand account on it. Eyewitnesses are so highly regarded as they
are largely believed to be sure of what they saw and in most cases regarded as
those who are telling the truth above other people. Given that eyewitnesses
are, as a matter of fact, at the scene of an occurrence, they observe
everything that happens. However, too much information, which the eyewitnesses
gather after the occurrence makes them biased that they only remember episodic
events. The misinformation turns some eyewitnesses into perpetrators of myths
and incorrect information which is then fit to an-easy-to-believe theory. This
paper explores the usefulness of eyewitnesses and the effect of misinformation
that comes later along with some theories developed to try and explain the
events. It further looks into how one can alienate the truth from false
theories after an occurrence, especially a tragic one.
Witnesses and Misinformation Effect
paper analyzes how misinformation of eyewitnesses, wording of interview
questions, post warning of witnesses, manipulation of memories by speakers and
misleading children by using inappropriate non-verbal cues influences the
memories of a witness. It further analyzes the methodologies applied and their
In Vaitl et al.’s (2017) summary
article focuses on a test was conducted on seventy five participants with a
fully-randomized video with nine randomized details. The participants were left
for ten minutes after which they were given a narrative text which had six fake
details in the sense that only three original details were in the text as in
the video. The three retained details cued memories that were however affected
by the misleading details in the text narrative. The levels of confidence were
assessed. The participants were convinced that they were giving the right
In Higham et al.’s (2017) the article focuses on the effects of post
warnings on the testimonies given by eyewitnesses. This article looks into the
extent of the specificity of the details that the eyewitnesses are exposed to.
A higher distortion is observed when misleading details are given to a larger
extent than the little distortion in a case of less extent of misleading
details in the post warning.
In Loftus E. (2017) the major
proponents of human memory are the details that one is given in a speech. The
presentation, (emotion, non-verbal cues) of a speech determine the details that
the audience will remember based on the varied emphasis on different aspects of
the speech by a speaker. The argument is that misleading information given by a
speaker may to some extent distort the memories of some listeners.
Dodimead et al.’s (2015) a study on how children memories is influenced by the
interviewer’s gestures is evaluated. The children were, in a test, made to
watch a video after which they were interrogated. Misleading gestures by the
interviewer led the children to giving distorted information by using the wrong
non-verbal cues. An interviewer would for example ask a child about the
dressing of a particular character in the video and simultaneously perform a
gestute (of a hat for example) and the children ended up giving wrong
Hickman G. (2017) the article evaluates how wording of questions influences the
answers given by an eyewitness. The study was carried out on youths with an
average age of 19.2 years. In a video involving a car accident for example, the
words “the cars smashed” and “the cars came into with each other” led to
different responses on the same video. The wording of interview triggers false
memories at times
Gurney D., Edwards R.,
Dodimead C.( 2015). Handmade memories: The robustness of the gestural misinformation
effect in children’s eyewitness interviews.
Journal of Nonverbal Behavior.
Hickman G. (2017) . Effects of
question wording on eyewitness testimony. A
Journal of Students Research.
Higham P., Blank H.,
Luna K. (2017) Effects of post warning specificity
on memory performance and confidence in the eyewitness misinformation paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Loftus E.( 2017)
Eavesdropping on Memory. Annual Review of
Volz K., Leonhart R.,
Stark R., Vaitl D. (2017)Psychophysiological correlates of the misinformation
International Journal of Psychophysiology.