Intelligence, Authority, and Blame Conformity

Co-witness influence is moderated by the perceived competence of the information source

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous research suggests that co-witness influence is heavily dependent on how eyewitnesses perceive the source of information, with perceived credibility, authority and memory accuracy identified as significant predictors. However, very little research has directly investigated the effects of perceived intelligence on co-witness influence. The present study used confederates to expose participants (N = 182) to misinformation about a witnessed event, prior to collecting their statements. Participants were paired up with a confederate who was presented as either a PhD student (high intelligence), police officer (high authority), neutral (no information provided); or completed the study individually (control). Results found that participants were significantly more likely to blame the wrong person for the crime if it had been suggested to them by a police officer or PhD student. Implications of the findings suggest that the characteristics and perceptions of co-witnesses can moderate the risks of statement contamination.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Nov 2019

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Police
conformity
Intelligence
witness
Mental Competency
intelligence
police officer
Students
Crime
Research
Communication
environmental pollution
source of information
credibility
student
offense
human being
event

Cite this

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title = "Intelligence, Authority, and Blame Conformity: Co-witness influence is moderated by the perceived competence of the information source",
abstract = "Previous research suggests that co-witness influence is heavily dependent on how eyewitnesses perceive the source of information, with perceived credibility, authority and memory accuracy identified as significant predictors. However, very little research has directly investigated the effects of perceived intelligence on co-witness influence. The present study used confederates to expose participants (N = 182) to misinformation about a witnessed event, prior to collecting their statements. Participants were paired up with a confederate who was presented as either a PhD student (high intelligence), police officer (high authority), neutral (no information provided); or completed the study individually (control). Results found that participants were significantly more likely to blame the wrong person for the crime if it had been suggested to them by a police officer or PhD student. Implications of the findings suggest that the characteristics and perceptions of co-witnesses can moderate the risks of statement contamination.",
keywords = "eyewitness, memory, authority, Cognitive psychology",
author = "Dara Mojtahedi and Maria Ioannou and Laura Hammond",
year = "2019",
month = "11",
day = "19",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology",
issn = "0882-0783",
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AU - Mojtahedi, Dara

AU - Ioannou, Maria

AU - Hammond, Laura

PY - 2019/11/19

Y1 - 2019/11/19

N2 - Previous research suggests that co-witness influence is heavily dependent on how eyewitnesses perceive the source of information, with perceived credibility, authority and memory accuracy identified as significant predictors. However, very little research has directly investigated the effects of perceived intelligence on co-witness influence. The present study used confederates to expose participants (N = 182) to misinformation about a witnessed event, prior to collecting their statements. Participants were paired up with a confederate who was presented as either a PhD student (high intelligence), police officer (high authority), neutral (no information provided); or completed the study individually (control). Results found that participants were significantly more likely to blame the wrong person for the crime if it had been suggested to them by a police officer or PhD student. Implications of the findings suggest that the characteristics and perceptions of co-witnesses can moderate the risks of statement contamination.

AB - Previous research suggests that co-witness influence is heavily dependent on how eyewitnesses perceive the source of information, with perceived credibility, authority and memory accuracy identified as significant predictors. However, very little research has directly investigated the effects of perceived intelligence on co-witness influence. The present study used confederates to expose participants (N = 182) to misinformation about a witnessed event, prior to collecting their statements. Participants were paired up with a confederate who was presented as either a PhD student (high intelligence), police officer (high authority), neutral (no information provided); or completed the study individually (control). Results found that participants were significantly more likely to blame the wrong person for the crime if it had been suggested to them by a police officer or PhD student. Implications of the findings suggest that the characteristics and perceptions of co-witnesses can moderate the risks of statement contamination.

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KW - memory

KW - authority

KW - Cognitive psychology

M3 - Article

JO - Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

JF - Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

SN - 0882-0783

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