Starter - Discuss
Who do you think would make the better eyewitness?
Why is it important to assess the
impact of age on EWT?
 Jurors perceive young children to be less credible as
eyewitnesses than adults
However children have an important role in cases involving
sexual or physical abuse
It is also well established that cognitive abilities, such as
memory, decline as a result of aging
By being aware of this factor, jurors may regard testimonies
of elderly adults with less reliability than younger adults
However, crimes against older people are increasing as the
crime rate increases and elderly people are living longer so
are becoming more likely to be bystander witnesses to
The effect of age on EWT
 The indication that cognitive abilities diminish with age,
suggests that the accuracy of EWT will decrease as a person gets
older. Older people have less accurate and less detailed recall
generally but may be less suggestible to misleading information.
 Children appear more willing to accept inaccurate information
from adults for fear of contradicting them (Roberts and Lamb
1999), but have more accurate recall if the event is serious or the
context of the original event is reinstated. However, they are very
likely to be misled by leading questions.
 Research findings are not always consistent due to
methodological flaws
Effect of age on EWT
 In groups of 4 you will receive key study handouts
 You need to read each study as a group and discuss what
it suggests about the effect of age on eyewitness testimony
 Write a paragraph on your A3 paper outlining the study and
what it suggests about EWT – you should be able to plonk
this straight into your essays, so make it concise but
detailed and accurate
 Write up the paragraph in your individual notes so you can
use it to answer the following question:
‘Outline and evaluate research into the effects of age of
witnesses on accuracy of eyewitness testimony’
Coxon and Valentine
 No. of questions answered correctly was lower for older
adults and children
 Children are more susceptible to misleading
information than adults
 Older adults were not suggestible to the misleading
Cohen and Faulkner
 Elderly are more susceptible to misleading
 Older adults found to be less accurate when witnessing
a staged event
 Accurate identification when suspect present
 Suspect absent – older adult more likely to incorrectly
identify the individual
Poole and Lindsay
 Young children seemed unable to distinguish between the
original event and post-event information
 Younger children are more affected by post-event
Gordon et al.
 Younger children provide accurate and detailed recall but
are more vulnerable to leading questions
Group task
Produce an essay plan for the
following question:
‘Outline and evaluate research into the effects of age of
witnesses on accuracy of eyewitness testimony’
Question 3
AO1 = 6 marks Outline of relevant research
Candidates must select research which relates to both age of
witness and eye-witness testimony.
Candidates might describe a limited range of research in some
detail, or describe a wider range in less detail. Some of the
research is contradictory, so unsubstantiated statements such as
“memory declines with age” should not be credited.
Candidates may refer to research with older and younger adults
e.g. Anastasi & Rhodes (2006) used participants aged 18 – 78
years and found evidence for own age bias.
A02 evaluation = 6 marks
Evaluation in relation to lack of ecological validity in
laboratory studies or lack of control in real life situations
would be relevant.
Candidates might refer to the problem of own age bias which
could be a factor in research using identification of college
aged photographs (Anastasi and Rhodes).
Ethical issues could be relevant as could practical
applications of research.
Commentary on the contradictory nature of the research and
the implications of this for court cases would also be
Candidates may refer to a number of issues in reasonable
depth or elaborate on a more restricted range of issues.
Plenary – Quiz, quiz, trade
• Think of one question related to something we
have studied today
• Write the question and the answer on your piece
of paper
• You will ask one person in the room your
question, then you will try to answer their
• You will then trade questions and put your hand
up to show you are ready to switch partners

similar documents