Event Title

The Effect of Eyewitness' Attractiveness and Confidence on Blame Conformity

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 2:00 PM

Project Type

Poster

Description

Eyewitness testimonies are an important aspect of the legal system, and not entirely reliable. Blame for an incident can be shifted between individuals as a result of a leading eyewitness statement (Thorley & Rushton-Woods, 2013). The purpose of our investigation is to explore how attractiveness and confidence of the eyewitness affect the phenomenon of blame conformity. Prior experiments have looked at the attractiveness of the defendants and its effect on others or how confidence influences jurors, but there is no research on their interaction and how they influence conformity to an eyewitness statement. In this study the participant is given one of two possible pictures of the eyewitness, a high rated attractiveness image, or a low rated attractiveness image. The participant was also given one of two corresponding statements of an incident. One is a high confidence statement of blame, while the other is a low confidence statement of blame. Participants were then given a questionnaire including questions about details of the incident, which person they blamed, and ratings of the attractiveness and confidence of the eyewitness. We expect that blame conformity will be highest for eyewitness statements that come from an attractive, confident eyewitness. We also expect that confidence will have a stronger effect on blame conformity than attractiveness.

Faculty Sponsor

Martha Arterberry

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Psychology Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

235

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May 1st, 1:00 PM May 1st, 2:00 PM

The Effect of Eyewitness' Attractiveness and Confidence on Blame Conformity

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Eyewitness testimonies are an important aspect of the legal system, and not entirely reliable. Blame for an incident can be shifted between individuals as a result of a leading eyewitness statement (Thorley & Rushton-Woods, 2013). The purpose of our investigation is to explore how attractiveness and confidence of the eyewitness affect the phenomenon of blame conformity. Prior experiments have looked at the attractiveness of the defendants and its effect on others or how confidence influences jurors, but there is no research on their interaction and how they influence conformity to an eyewitness statement. In this study the participant is given one of two possible pictures of the eyewitness, a high rated attractiveness image, or a low rated attractiveness image. The participant was also given one of two corresponding statements of an incident. One is a high confidence statement of blame, while the other is a low confidence statement of blame. Participants were then given a questionnaire including questions about details of the incident, which person they blamed, and ratings of the attractiveness and confidence of the eyewitness. We expect that blame conformity will be highest for eyewitness statements that come from an attractive, confident eyewitness. We also expect that confidence will have a stronger effect on blame conformity than attractiveness.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/155