Segments in this Video

Eyewitness Testimony: Context (02:16)


The narrator lists cases of people convicted based on eyewitness testimony. Elizabeth Loftus's experiments demonstrated the unreliability of memory and eyewitness testimony.

Eyewitness Testimony: The Experiments (04:14)

Loftus found that question wording affected estimates of the speed of crashing cars. This implies that leading witnesses with questions affects answers. She also discovered that effects of the wording were long-lasting; affecting memories a week later about a separate question.

New Information Influences Memories (01:44)

In false rape convictions, leading questions may have influenced victim identifications. Loftus provides an explanation for her results showing that new information influences memories.

Constructing Perceptions and Memories (00:52)

The brain's perceptual systems attempt to make sense of input, making inferences. Elizabeth Loftus applied this idea to memory; she discusses constructive memory.

Evaluating Loftus and Palmer Study (03:02)

Loftus and Palmer's finding of malleable memory has strong experimental design. Critics dispute ecological validity; Yuille and Cutshall found real life witnesses more resistant to leading questions.

Eyewitness Research: Implications and Applications (02:08)

Loftus and others have planted false memories in study participants using the "lost in the mall" technique.

Loftus's Influence on Legal System (02:23)

Elizabeth Loftus's influence has led to measures to prevent biasing witnesses. She favors having interviewers who do not know who the police suspect is. Loftus and Palmer’s research was novel in the early 1970s, when memory research was based on getting people to remember word lists.

Credits: Elizabeth Loftus: Eyewitness Testimony (00:31)

Credits: Elizabeth Loftus: Eyewitness Testimony

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Elizabeth Loftus: Eyewitness Testimony

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



In deciding the fate of someone accused of a crime, the most important testimony often comes from people who saw the crime – or a fragment of it – happen. Eyewitnesses often add a devastating credibility and clarity to a very confused moment in time. But today we realize that eyewitness reports can be tainted by subjectivity. This program explores the groundbreaking research of psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, as she takes us through her discoveries on eyewitness evidence, focusing particularly on her seminal study with John Palmer, ‘Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction’. The program explores the context of the study, the experiments, criticism, evaluation and implications.

Length: 18 minutes

Item#: BVL94186

ISBN: 978-1-60057-915-8

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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