“Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” Factors influencing eyewitness testimony
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Several factors considered to be reliable indicators of eyewitness accuracy were examined. lt was hypothesized that personality traits and position on the field dependence/independence dimension would be two prerequisites that alter suggestibility of the eyewitness. Additionally, the relationship between suggestibility to leading questions and reported confidence of the answers was examined. Thirty adults viewed a video of a staged shop robbery not knowing about a memory recall task. Participants completed Eysenck's Personality Questionnaire and Embedded Figures Test. A new questionnaire was constructed to measure suggestibility. lt consisted of 13 normal and five leading questions. Participants' confidence in their answers was assessed on a separate scale. Univariate ANOVA was performed on individual suggestibility scores which were also correlated with confidence rating, overall EFI' score and scores on three personality scales (introversion/extraversion and neuroticism). The results suggest that with regards to leading questions introvert participants with field dependent style have more difficulty providing the correct answer than extrovert, field independent participants. Correlations obtained for confidence suggest that it is a trait independent of suggestibility. Reported levels of confidence were similar for subjects who provided correct and incorrect answers to leading questions. The finding re-emphasized the importance of using correct methods to elicit eyewitness evidence. The results are discussed in relation to applying knowledge about factors influencing eyewitness evidence in the forensic settings.