The Dangers of Co-witness Familiarity: Investigating the Effects of Co-witness Relationships on Blame Conformity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of pre-existing relationships between co-witnesses on statement similarity, after a post-event discussion. Although research studies have attempted to observe the effect of a pre-existing relationship on eyewitness pairs, few have investigated these effects on larger groups of co-witnesses. Four hundred and twenty participants took part in an eyewitness simulation experiment. Participants were placed into groups of five, and viewed video footage of a bar fight. After witnessing the event, participants discussed the event with group members before giving individual statements privately. The study employed a one-way between subjects design with three conditions: (1) participants discussed the event with familiar co-witnesses, (2) participants discussed the event with unfamiliar co-witnesses and (3) participants were not permitted to discuss the event with their co-witnesses (control). It was found that post-event discussion between co-witnesses increased the level of similarity in blame attribution within the eyewitness groups; however, this difference was only significant in groups where eyewitnesses shared a pre-existing relationship. In addition, the level of uncertainty was reduced when eyewitnesses took part in post-event discussions. It is suggested that this might be attributed to an increased level of informational influence between familiar co-witnesses. However, there was no evidence suggesting that post-event discussions led to an increase in false eyewitness statements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-326
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Volume33
Issue number4
Early online date22 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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  • Activities

    • 3 Oral presentation

    The Effects of Memory Conformity as a Function of Co-Witness Familiarity

    Dara Mojtahedi (Speaker), Maria Ioannou (Contributor to Paper or Presentation) & Laura Hammond (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)

    14 Jul 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    Investigating the Effects of Pre-existing Co-Witness Relationships on Statement Similarity

    Dara Mojtahedi (Speaker), Maria Ioannou (Speaker) & Laura Hammond (Speaker)

    15 Jun 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    Investigating the Effects of Co-Witness Familiarity on Statement Similarity

    Dara Mojtahedi (Speaker), Maria Ioannou (Contributor to Paper or Presentation) & Laura Hammond (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)

    27 Apr 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

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