How accuracy is the memory? A research studies which was done by Loftus and Palmer (1974) as to find out the accuracy of memory. 45 Participants watched a film of different car accidents and after the film the participants were asked to answer the questionnaire which asked them to describe the accident. Some of them where asked how fast were the car going when they hit each other. And the other group was asked about how fast the cars were going when they smashed this was a misleading question. The group given the word smashed estimated a higher speed rate compared to the other group. A week later participants were brought back and asked if they had seen any broken glass. However, there was no broken grass but the group who received the question with smashed were more likely to say they had certainly seen some glass. Loftus research suggested that post event information does change the way the information is stored. However, the strengths of the laboratory experiments done by Loftus and Palmer are that the experiment is able to exercise a great deal of control over what happens and the experiment test can be repeated. However, it has been criticized by Yuillie that the experiment does not represent the real life situations.
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However, Yuille and Cutshall (1986) argued with Loftus's results for regarding leading questions for lacking validity in the real life situations. Yuille and Cutshall (1986) did a research whereby they interviewed 13 people who had witnessed an armed robbery in Canada. The interviews were done 4 months after the crime and included two misleading questions. However, despite these questions the witnesses provided correct recall that matched with their detailed reports and this suggested that post-event information may not affect memory of the eye witness. This study is seen as validity because it is based on real life events and numerous witnesses
However, a research study about adults versus children was done by Poole and Lindsay (2001) suggested that children are more suggestible to misleading past event information than adults. However, Duncan, Whitney and Kunen (1982) disagree with the findings. They found that younger children were less susceptible to misleading past event information than the older.
Offender profiling is the concept of creating a profile or to aid identification of an unknown criminal based on a crime scene. Scene evidence helps the authorities with the idea as to what sort of the person who has committed crime, his profession, personality, his environment, age, race, marital status , level of education and the behaviour as this will give them the idea of catching the criminal. Offender profiling is into two types which is which is the Top down approach and the Bottom up approach but both use different approaches.
The Top down approach is sometimes known as ''crime scene analyses'' is used in America by FBI. This approach looks at the evidence and data on the crime scene and then compares the evidence with the previous crime scenes. This approach tends to focus much more on criminals whereby they do interviews with the convicted criminals and they also tend to match a type of criminal to the features of a particular crime. This approach classifies criminals in two categories which is the 'Organized' crime prepared in advance or 'Disorganized' a crime which is not planned. Research studies shows that the Top down approach was successful on the case of Ted Bundy a serial killer who killed a number of people. The Top down approach failed in (2002) in the case of John Allen Muhammad who was known as (The Washington Sniper) ex us soldier whom the expects thought the sniper was an angry white man and yet the offender was black with another person.
The Bottom up approach is used in UK and it involves working from the crime scene directly whereby any data in the scene is collected. This approach was first used in UK in 1986 by David Canter and he believes that this approach is good for catching up the offenders. However, this approach uses any physical evidence found at the scene such as blood samples, forensic, hair, and fingerprints and they go and look for links and patterns in the data. Canter uses scientific statistical analysis of past crime scenes to examine the crime being committed Canter used a bottom up approach to do a research study in 1986 about a guy called John Duff, the railway rapist who committed 23 attacks on women before arrested. However, the results were very successful in assisting the police to catch the offender. Canter had to build up an idea on how the offender was like and what he did. However a research study was seen as a failure of offend profiling in the case of Albert Desalvo a rapist and a serial killer who was known as the 'Boston Strangler' The profile suggested that he was a male homosexual school teacher living alone, however when he was arrested he was found to be a heterosexual construction worker living with his family. However, offender profiling may not be reliable this is because it only works well with offenders in the data base. If the offender is not in the data base the search is not decreased in size.
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The implications of findings in Eyewitness testimony and Offender profiling.
Loftus research suggested that eyewitness tends to be incorrect and not reliable as they can get things wrong because of interpretation but they are the most believed evidence by a jury. According to The Innocent Project (2008) Eyewitness misidentification is mainly the cause of wrongful convictions and over 75% convictions are reversed by DNA but the criminal justice relies on eye witness identification for investigating crime. (Wells and Olson, 2003) However, the research studies believes that the people's memories are not accurate, stress can have a negative affect for an eyewitness to remember or recall events and also weapon focus can affect the witness from recalling as much information.
Offender Profiling has raised some form of ethical issues is the sense that the that police makes an assumption of guilt in the fact that finding out a suspect happens to fit the profile does not prove that they have committed the offence. Offender profiling have been found by some other studies that it is useful in other crimes and not useful in other crimes so the purpose of psychology in everyday life in this is regarded as not useful. Interviews with criminal are untrustworthy as the criminal might be manipulative.
In this assignment I have talked about how effective the Eyewitness and the Offender profiling is in crime cases. I have looked at different type of approaches used in UK and in America and have found out that they both help in detecting crime.