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Testimony as communication: An interactive analysis of eyewitness accuracy cues
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2008 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Studies have shown that descriptions of real and suggested or fabricated eyewitness memory may differ in ways that could be explained by differences in the formation and cognitive representations of these memories. However, the characteristics of an eyewitness’ description are likely to depend not only on the cognitive features of memory, but also on the witness’ social motivation to display meta-cognitive states to the investigator. Research shows that when answering general knowledge questions, self-presentational concerns drive speakers to signal their certainty in an answer by auditive and visual cues, that these cues are related to response accuracy, and that listeners can use the cues to estimate the speaker’s knowledge of the answer. The current research investigated whether similar communicative cues discriminated eyewitnesses’ accurate and inaccurate responses to questions about a crime event. Furthermore, we examined whether the relation between such cues and response accuracy differed between witnesses who delivered the testimony in their native tongue and those who did not. Native and non-native Swedish witnesses were videotaped while being interviewed about their memory of a simulated crime scenario. Responses to cued recall questions that provided correct or incorrect information about a specific detail were protocoled, and scored with respect to prosody (e.g., interjections, pauses, intonation), hedges, and visual (facial expressions and body movement) cues. Results confirmed a higher frequency of both auditive and visual “uncertainty” cues in witnesses’ incorrect as compared to correct responses, although this tendency was weaker among witnesses who did not testify in their native tongue.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
eyewitness statements, interactive analysis, accuracy cues
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14773OAI: diva2:181293
Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Albuquerque, 2008
Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2012-07-02Bibliographically approved

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Lindholm, Torun
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Department of Psychology

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