The effect of a weapon's presence on witnesses' memory for auditory information

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dc.contributor.advisor Pickel, Kerri L. en_US French, Tricia A. en_US 2011-06-03T19:39:19Z 2011-06-03T19:39:19Z 2001 en_US 2001
dc.identifier LD2489.Z72 2001 .F74 en_US
dc.description.abstract Research supports the notion that weapons impair eyewitnesses' memory for visual information (weapon focus effect). Pickel and Betts (1999) found that the presence of a weapon can also interfere with witnesses' memory for auditory information. The primary objective of the current study was to replicate Pickel and Betts's (1999) findings, to extend their findings by implementing different methodological procedures, and to control for a confound associated with their study. A secondary goal was to further investigate the impact that arousal and novelty have on the weapon focus effect. Participants watched a videotape depicting a story about a man stalking a woman. The man approached the woman holding either a switchblade knife or a black ballpoint pen. The man's conversation varied so that it was either easy or difficult to comprehend. Participants then completed questionnaires assessing their arousal level, memory for visual and auditory information, and perceived unusualness of the object carried by the target. [n addition, they attempted to identify the target in a photo and audio lineup. Results indicate that the presence of a weapon does not affect memory for vocal characteristics or for semantic content of speech when the content of the message is rather simple. As the complexity of the message increases, however, a weapon will interfere with witnesses' memory for the content. Also, results support the hypothesis that the weapon focus effect occurs because the weapon is perceived to be unusual and that increased levels of arousal are not necessary to obtain the effect. Analyses revealed no significant effects or interactions related to witnesses' ability to identify the man in the photo or audio lineup. The results supported Pickel and Betts's (1999) conclusions, thus increasing our knowledge concerning the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
dc.description.sponsorship Department of Psychological Science
dc.format.extent v, 63 leaves : charts ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Eyewitness identification -- Psychological aspects. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Witnesses -- Psychology. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Weapons -- Psychological aspects. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Memory -- Psychological aspects. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Recollection (Psychology) en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Forensic psychology. en_US
dc.title The effect of a weapon's presence on witnesses' memory for auditory information en_US Thesis (M.A.)
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Master's Theses [5454]
    Master's theses submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University master's degree candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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