Knowledge about eyewitness testimony: A survey of Indonesian police officers and psychologists

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Abstract

Faulty eyewitness testimony can be a notorious source of mistakes in the legal system potentially leading to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice. The current study examined the knowledge of a sample of police officers (n = 270) and psychologists (n = 63) in Indonesia regarding factors known to influence the validity of eyewitness testimony given by adults and children. Previous studies have documented that police and psychologists in Western countries have less-than-optimal knowledge about the psychology of eyewitness testimony. Similarly, our non-Western sample also demonstrated a lack of knowledge that may be damaging in the legal context such as the belief that recall of minor details indicates accuracy of memory. For both adult and child eyewitnesses, the psychologists performed significantly better than the police but at the item level these differences were small in size. Intriguingly, we also found that psychologists were more likely than the police officers to endorse the item about repression of memories. The findings show the need for teaching on the psychology of eyewitness testimony for professional groups involved in the legal arena.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology Crime & Law
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • ACCURACY
  • BELIEFS
  • CHILDRENS MEMORY
  • CONFIDENCE
  • Indonesia
  • LAW-ENFORCEMENT
  • Police
  • STUDENTS
  • US JUDGES
  • WITNESSES
  • children
  • eyewitness testimony
  • psychologists

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