Expectancy Effect In Psychology

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Memory is a very mysterious and intricate process of human behavior, without it we would have nothing. “Memory is the mental capacity to encode, store, and retrieve information” (Gerrig, 174). From this main concept comes many branching factors making up an intricate memory network, similar to a computer motherboard. Together these factors form a whole and allow us to perform the simplest to the most delicate tasks. Recalling a memory is usually a simple job. In some instances, effort is required to pull the memory from our indexed library mind. The less a memory is used, the more difficult it becomes to recall specific detail. Add other outside factors such as stress and the once simple task can seem like a chore. While our mind is great at…show more content…
“Expectancy effects occur when a researcher or observer subtly communicates to the research participants the behaviors he or she expects to find, thereby producing the desired reaction. Under these circumstances, the experimenter’s expectations, rather than the independent variable, actually help trigger the observed reactions” (Gerrig, 25). For instance, a lawyer or attorney may subtly annotate to eyewitnesses the kind of interpretation of the specified memory they expect, therefore, possible altering memory retrieval and creating an expected outcome or reaction. This method can be done both intentionally and unintentionally. Lawyers usually go over eyewitness details many times before the actual trial. This “rehearsal” can make the eyewitness testimony more like a practiced script rather than a genuine account, leading to an intended incrimination or innocence depiction. This is the most widely controversial influence on eyewitness memories, highly supporting the doubtful opinions of their…show more content…
Race, gender, and sexual preference are some of the few key areas associated with stereotypical labeling. A type of stereotyping in the legal world that influences eyewitness memory recall and can lead to altered testimonies is known as criminal face bias. “People have well-formed stereotypes about the physical traits of criminals. Stereotypical criminal perpetrators are deemed to be unattractive, have long or shaggy dark hair, tattoos, beady eyes, pock marks, and scars. People also readily agree on whether a face looks criminal. Although research has shown that facial appearance has little to no validity for predicting actual behavior, stereotypes about criminal appearance have been found to affect legal decision making” (Flowe, 509). This unintentional, yet highly influencing psychological factor again supports the inaccurate and declining validity of eyewitness testimonies. Combined with possible preexisting personal biases, eyewitness evidence such as suspect line ups look less and less reliable. Even though the eyewitness should be selecting the suspect who best matches their memory, usually they end up selecting the most “criminal” based on physical appearance rather than the person matching closest to their

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