Methodological Issues in the Study of Eyewitness Memory and Arousal

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Bornstein, Brian H.
Robicheaux, Timothy R.
Issue Date
2009
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Journal Article
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INTRODUCTION|Crimes, especially those of a violent nature, can be upsetting to see. Thus, it makes sense that a great deal of eyewitness memory re- search has addressed the effect of negative emotional states such as stress or arousal on eyewitness performance. Yet, not all witnesses experience negative emotional states. Moreover, witnesses to crimes might experience any one of a number of emotional states when viewing the crime-fear, anger, anxiety, disgust, etc.-and eyewitness memory research measures those emotional states in a number of different ways.|This Article does not provide a comprehensive review of empirical findings on the question of eyewitness memory and arousal; such reviews exist elsewhere. For present purposes, it suffices to say that the expert consensus on eyewitness memory and arousal is that in most respects, arousal exerts a negative effect on eyewitness performance. However, this negative effect on eyewitness performance is not uniform; negative emotions can facilitate remembering for certain information under certain conditions...
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42 Creighton L. Rev. 525 (2008-2009)
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Creighton University School of Law
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