Investigating the effects of age and gender on co-witness suggestibility during blame attribution

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Abstract

Despite a large body of research investigating the effects of age and gender on eyewitness suggestibility, the majority of studies has focussed on the impressionability of participants when attempting to recall the presence of items from an event. Very little research has attempted to investigate the effects of age and gender on the suggestibility of eyewitnesses when attempting to attribute blame. Participants (N = 268) viewed and discussed a crime (video) with cowitnesses before giving individual statements. Confederates were used to expose the participants to misinformation during the discussion, suggesting that the wrong bystander was responsible for the offence. Findings indicated that participants who encountered the misinformation were more likely to make a false blame attribution and were more confident in their erroneous judgements. The results found no significant age- or gender-related differences in blame conformity rates; however, male eyewitnesses showed greater levels of overconfidence in their false responses than female participants, after encountering cowitness misinformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-168
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Volume16
Issue number3
Early online date20 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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