Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony?

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Abstract

False information can influence people's beliefs and memories. But can fabricated evidence induce individuals to accuse another person of doing something they never did? We examined whether exposure to a fabricated video could produce false eyewitness testimony. Subjects completed a gambling task alongside a confederate subject, and later we falsely told subjects that their partner had cheated on the task. Some subjects viewed a digitally manipulated video of their partner cheating; some were told that video evidence of the cheating exists; and others were not told anything about video evidence. Subjects were asked to sign a statement confirming that they witnessed the incident and that their corroboration could be used in disciplinary action against the accused. See-video subjects were three times more likely to sign the statement than Told-video and Control subjects. Fabricated evidence may, indeed, produce false eyewitness testimony; we discuss probable cognitive mechanisms.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899–908
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume24
Issue number7
Early online date20 Aug 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

Bibliographic note

Nominated by Graham Davies – Editor in Chief to be re-published in Special Issue: Celebrating 25 years of Applied Cognitive Psychology: Volume 25, Issue S1, pages S272–S282, January 2011. From the archive: ‘Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony?’ by K. A. Wade, S. L. Green, & R. A. Nash (2010). Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 899–908 with commentary. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.1777

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