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The effect of training on perception of crime scenes

Hill, Melissa Jane (2010) The effect of training on perception of crime scenes. University of Salford.

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Abstract

Eyewitnesses are a vital part of the Criminal Justice System, thus their reliability is critical. The current research aimed to establish whether training can improve memory recall, and investigate the impact of time delay on memory for crime scenes. Fifty-six undergraduates were allocated to one of three training groups (untrained, attention trained, attention and memory trained) and then viewed three crime scene images whilst receiving relevant training instructions. A further ten crime scenes were viewed for five seconds each. A recognition memory test was administered either immediately (n = 30) or after seven days (n = 26). Eye fixations were recorded to assess the relationship between viewing behaviour and later recall. The findings highlighted the negative impact of time delay on recall (p < 0.001). Training affected accuracy, but not as predicted. The untrained group and the attention and memory trained group both scored significantly higher than the group trained in attention only (p = 0.004 and p = 0.001 respectively). Fixation count, but not duration, was linked to accuracy of recall (p < 0.001) but this did not differ across training group. It was concluded that training can influence eyewitness memory but more investigation is required.

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