Group size, misinformation and unanimity influences on co-witness judgements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Researchers have typically observed the effects of co-witness influence on eyewitness pairs. However, research suggests that individuals are more likely to witness crimes in larger groups. Additionally, there is an abundance of evidence suggesting that social influence is heavily moderated by group size. Therefore, the present study aimed to gain a more accurate understanding of the risks of co-witness influence in relation to unanimity and group size effects. Participants (N=608) viewed and discussed a CCTV footage of a fight breaking out, with co-witnesses, before giving individual statements, where they were asked to identify which person had started the fight; confederates were used to suggest that the wrong man had started the fight. Results indicated that participants were vulnerable to co-witness influence, but only when exposed to misinformation from a majority of co-witnesses. Misinformation presented by an individual confederate did not have a significant influence over the participants’ responses. This study was the first to investigate the effects of group size on blame attribution. The findings suggest that the true risks of co-witness influence may not be as high as originally predicted from research on eyewitness pairs.
LanguageEnglish
Pages844-865
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date20 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018

Fingerprint

Communication
Crime
Research
Research Personnel

Cite this

@article{01dcce6526d24d508f905c290717e72f,
title = "Group size, misinformation and unanimity influences on co-witness judgements",
abstract = "Researchers have typically observed the effects of co-witness influence on eyewitness pairs. However, research suggests that individuals are more likely to witness crimes in larger groups. Additionally, there is an abundance of evidence suggesting that social influence is heavily moderated by group size. Therefore, the present study aimed to gain a more accurate understanding of the risks of co-witness influence in relation to unanimity and group size effects. Participants (N=608) viewed and discussed a CCTV footage of a fight breaking out, with co-witnesses, before giving individual statements, where they were asked to identify which person had started the fight; confederates were used to suggest that the wrong man had started the fight. Results indicated that participants were vulnerable to co-witness influence, but only when exposed to misinformation from a majority of co-witnesses. Misinformation presented by an individual confederate did not have a significant influence over the participants’ responses. This study was the first to investigate the effects of group size on blame attribution. The findings suggest that the true risks of co-witness influence may not be as high as originally predicted from research on eyewitness pairs.",
keywords = "eyewitness, social influence, conformity, group size, misinformation effect, eyewitness confidence, Eyewitness",
author = "Dara Mojtahedi and Maria Ioannou and Laura Hammond",
year = "2018",
month = "9",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1080/14789949.2018.1439990",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
pages = "844--865",
journal = "Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology",
issn = "1478-9949",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "5",

}

Group size, misinformation and unanimity influences on co-witness judgements. / Mojtahedi, Dara; Ioannou, Maria; Hammond, Laura.

In: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 5, 03.09.2018, p. 844-865.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Group size, misinformation and unanimity influences on co-witness judgements

AU - Mojtahedi, Dara

AU - Ioannou, Maria

AU - Hammond, Laura

PY - 2018/9/3

Y1 - 2018/9/3

N2 - Researchers have typically observed the effects of co-witness influence on eyewitness pairs. However, research suggests that individuals are more likely to witness crimes in larger groups. Additionally, there is an abundance of evidence suggesting that social influence is heavily moderated by group size. Therefore, the present study aimed to gain a more accurate understanding of the risks of co-witness influence in relation to unanimity and group size effects. Participants (N=608) viewed and discussed a CCTV footage of a fight breaking out, with co-witnesses, before giving individual statements, where they were asked to identify which person had started the fight; confederates were used to suggest that the wrong man had started the fight. Results indicated that participants were vulnerable to co-witness influence, but only when exposed to misinformation from a majority of co-witnesses. Misinformation presented by an individual confederate did not have a significant influence over the participants’ responses. This study was the first to investigate the effects of group size on blame attribution. The findings suggest that the true risks of co-witness influence may not be as high as originally predicted from research on eyewitness pairs.

AB - Researchers have typically observed the effects of co-witness influence on eyewitness pairs. However, research suggests that individuals are more likely to witness crimes in larger groups. Additionally, there is an abundance of evidence suggesting that social influence is heavily moderated by group size. Therefore, the present study aimed to gain a more accurate understanding of the risks of co-witness influence in relation to unanimity and group size effects. Participants (N=608) viewed and discussed a CCTV footage of a fight breaking out, with co-witnesses, before giving individual statements, where they were asked to identify which person had started the fight; confederates were used to suggest that the wrong man had started the fight. Results indicated that participants were vulnerable to co-witness influence, but only when exposed to misinformation from a majority of co-witnesses. Misinformation presented by an individual confederate did not have a significant influence over the participants’ responses. This study was the first to investigate the effects of group size on blame attribution. The findings suggest that the true risks of co-witness influence may not be as high as originally predicted from research on eyewitness pairs.

KW - eyewitness

KW - social influence

KW - conformity

KW - group size

KW - misinformation effect

KW - eyewitness confidence

KW - Eyewitness

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85042227439&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/14789949.2018.1439990

DO - 10.1080/14789949.2018.1439990

M3 - Article

VL - 29

SP - 844

EP - 865

JO - Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology

T2 - Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology

JF - Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology

SN - 1478-9949

IS - 5

ER -