The study shows that stress and fear reduce the likelihood of successful identification, bringing into question a victim’s ability to identify the perpetrator of a crime.
Visitors to the London Dungeon were asked to describe and identify an actor encountered in the ‘Labyrinth of the Lost’ who stepped out to block their path. Whilst they were in the labyrinth, some participants wore a heart rate monitor to measure the level of their anxiety. The researchers found that participants who had experienced a higher state of anxiety were less likely to report correct descriptions of the actor and were less likely to correctly identify him/her in a line-up than participants who had experienced less anxiety.
Most research on the effectiveness of eyewitness identification is likely to overestimate accuracy because the participant witnesses do not feel the fear or stress evoked by crime that would be present in real situations. For ethical reasons, participants in experiments cannot be subjected to the same stress that a victim of crime may experience. This study sought to recreate a similar level of fear and stress, however, by using the scare in the London Dungeon so as to understand what effect such stress may have on memory.
Professor of Psychology, Tim Valentine, who headed the research, emphasised the significance of the results: "We know already that mistaken eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the USA. This research takes us a step closer to understanding the problem.”
“The experience in the Labyrinth of the Lost is much less extreme than the stress a victim of crime may experience, but we still observed a catastrophic failure of identification by visitors who found the experience stressful.”
“The research doesn't suggest there is anything wrong with the identification procedures that the police use, but does demonstrate just how difficult it can be for a victim to identify the offender."
Evidence shows that mistaken eyewitness identification is a common cause of miscarriages of justice. 218 people wrongly convicted in the USA have been exonerated by new DNA analysis from crime scene samples. 75% of these cases were the result of mistaken eyewitness identification.
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06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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