Term of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Rebecca Ryan

Committee Member 1

Amy Hackney

Committee Member 2

Larry Locker

Abstract

Researchers have reported errors in recall or recognition of witnessed events, accounting for the most common cause of false convictions of innocent people. Tiwari (2010) indicated that 25% of suspects who were identified in a line-up were actually innocent. Jurors are strongly influenced by eyewitness testimony and this can lead to false convictions. The validity of eyewitness identification is critical in cases in which it is used as evidence. In the current study we examined specific emotion states by inducing fear, surprise, and neutral moods. We hypothesized that participants in the Fear group would be least susceptible to the effects of exposure to misleading details, and that women would show higher levels of accuracy for details related to persons in a scene, and men higher levels of accuracy for spatial details. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three mood groups, mood was manipulated, they viewed an image of a crime scene, were exposed to misleading details, completed a manipulation check, and lastly their memory for the scene was assessed. Results revealed no significant group differences on the number of correctly answered misleading items. The findings suggest that experiencing these specific mood states during encoding does not result in significant differences in later memory recall.