Violent, realistic and unexpected staged crimes: do participant-witnesses behave differently?
In: 9th Conference of The Society for Applied Research in Memory & Cognition (SARMAC IX), 27-29 June 2011, New York City, NY, USA.
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Ecological validity is an acknowledged problem in eyewitness research, particularly that ethical and practical constraints mean that the expectations and emotions of participant-witnesses are usually a poor match for those of real witnesses. With the help of the BBC and Greater Manchester Police (GMP), two extremely realistic violent crimes were staged (a murder in a pub and an armed robbery) using trained actors and hidden cameras. These were seen by ten 'unsuspecting' participants who were then treated as real witnesses by the GMP who investigated the crimes. The investigation was also filmed to allow further study of the participant's behaviour.
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