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Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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5 Summary of Week 3

Figure 10

This week you have seen that just because someone sees something, it does not mean they notice it, and that people can fail to spot significant changes in the world around them, even if the person they are talking to suddenly changes into a different person!

The implications for eyewitness testimony are that the attention of a witness can be focused on just one aspect of the crime (particularly a weapon) at the cost of not noticing other significant events, and that an eyewitness can easily confuse the identity of the perpetrator with an innocent person.

You have also seen that our memories are open to suggestion, and that we find it hard to distinguish between information we saw while an event is taking place and post-event information. This can lead to us constructing memories of things that we did not originally see if we are asked a question that suggests new information. This means that investigative interviewers have to be very careful to ask questions in particular ways, e.g. by using ‘open’ questions and avoiding ‘leading’ questions.

You can now go to Week 4 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .