Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Distinguishing perpetrator from eyewitness memory on the basis of action, motivation, and arousal
by Perillo, Jennifer Torkildson, Ph.D., City University of New York, 2013, 222; 3601888
Abstract (Summary)

The criminal justice system uses both perpetrator and eyewitness memory to investigate and prosecute crimes. Unlike eyewitness memory, however, the collection and use of perpetrator memory is not subject to official guidelines or recommendations. Whereas the criminal justice system seems to acknowledge that witnesses to crime may sometimes have unreliable memories for crime, there often appears to be an assumption that perpetrator memory should be detailed and accurate. Three studies were conducted to compare perpetrator and eyewitness memory and explore the impact of motivation and arousal on any differences. Study One investigated whether basic role differences could differentiate perpetrators and witnesses and assessed whether any difference would persist over a delay. Study Two parceled out the impact of action and motivation and assess the impact of an observer. Study Three attempted to replicate the first two studies under conditions of higher complexity and realism and explore the impact of arousal. Perpetrators did display superior free recall memory than eyewitnesses across all three studies, but were not superior to motivated witnesses (accomplices) in Study 3. Overall, results suggest that perpetrator memory is not infallible and may be no better than witnesses in certain conditions. Possible implications for the findings will be discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kassin, Saul M.
Commitee: Fisher, Ronald P., Kovera, Margaret B., Read, J. Don, Strange, Deryn
School: City University of New York
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Crime memory, Eyewitness, Memory, Perpetrators, Witnesses
Publication Number: 3601888
ISBN: 9781303536090