Earwitness testimony

Earwitness testimony
Matt Jarvis
Earwitness testimony
The benefits of earwitness testimony
There has been a lot of research into
the accuracy of eyewitness memory
— less so with earwitness memory
However, there are some situations
in which earwitness would be
expected to recall more information
Such as when a criminal is
wearing a mask…
Earwitness testimony
Difficulties with voice identification
The same voice varies
over time and between
Criminals often
deliberately disguise
their voice
There may be
considerable time
between the event
and the identification
Both criminal and
witness will be under
stress during the event
Earwitness testimony
Laboratory procedures
Procedures are similar to an eyewitness line-up
Participants listen to a spoken word or sentence
There is a delay, from minutes to days
Participants attempt to identify the voice from a selection
Earwitness testimony
It was expected that voice identification
would have similar accuracy to a visual
line-up method (55–60%)
However, it was much lower. Accurate
identification only took place 9–28%,
depending on the number of voices to
choose from
Earwitness testimony
Explaining the findings
There may not be enough
context information to access
a remembered voice
Evidence against
Evidence for
Voice recognition is no better
Recognition gets better when a
or worse when a face is
voice is presented with a face at
presented just at learning
both learning and recognition
Earwitness testimony
Earwitness memory is significantly less accurate than eyewitness memory
We are currently unsure why this is or how to improve its accuracy
Currently earwitness testimony has credibility in the court system
This may result in miscarriages of justice
More research is urgently needed in this area

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