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Facing eyewitness identification problems: perceiving and remembering faces

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  • Psychology


This symposium examines several factors that can have a potentially detrimental effect on eyewitness identification. The symposium concentrates on factors linked to face perception, visual attention and memory and follows the process of eyewitness identification through from the disposition of the witness prior and during the event, to the nature of the face they are exposed to and the perceptual representation formed, to providing a visual description to the police and the possible malleability of their memory trace when exposed to potentially contaminating information, to how witness memory and visual attention can be affected by the particular identification procedure used in the investigation. The individual papers within the symposium examine each of the four steps above and consider whether, and to what extent, factors such as alcohol intoxication, own-race bias and repeated presentation to other facial stimuli can have an adverse effect on the way the face of the suspect is perceived, represented and remembered. The final session in the symposium will be based on a discussion of the issues raised by these papers and a consideration of the interaction between the psychological study of face recognition and the applied study of eyewitness identification.

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