Describe and evaluate at least one way of improving Eyewitness Recall?
The cognitive interview was developed by Fisher & Geiselman (1992) as a series of memory retrieval and communication techniques to improve recall in police interviews. The cognitive interview is based primarily on two factors; 1. Tulving’s idea that there are several retrieval paths to each memory and information not available through one pathway may be accessible through another. 2. The Encoding Specificity Principle (think back to context & state-dependent forgetting), the idea that memory traces rely upon as many retrieval cues as possible and that memory can be improved if an individual recalls the information in a similar context/state to original encoding. Fisher and Geisleman developed the cognitive interview and the first principle of this is to encourage the eyewitness to recall more detailed information and to improve the accuracy of the information recalled. There are 4 techniques used in the interviews and these are read to the witness at the start. Context Reinstatement (CR) Report everything (RE) Recall from a Changed perspective (CP) Recall in reverse order (RO) -- Evaluation: Strengths One strength comes from Milne & Bull (2002) who support the idea that the cognitive interview enhances recall. For example, they found that all 4 techniques used singularly produced more recall from witnesses than the standard police interview suggesting that recall can be improved by using the 4 simple Cognitive Interview techniques as part of the interviewing process. Support for the role of cognitive comes from the Encoding Specificity Principle and research carried out by Baddeley. Baddeley found that drivers were much better at recalling words when their recall took place in the same context in which they had learned the information in comparison to recall words in a different context to which learning took place. -- Evaluation: Weaknesses The cognitive interview doesn’t improve recall in all cases. For example, Geiselman (1999) reviewed many cases and found that in children under 6, recall of events was slightly less accurate possibly due to the complexity of the instructions provided as part of the Cognitive Interview. The cognitive interview raises ethical issues. For example, witnesses are asked to recall the traumatic event over and over again in a variety of different ways.
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