Group size, misinformation and unanimity influences on co-witness judgements

Mojtahedi, Dara and Ioannou, Maria and Hammond, Laura (2018) Group size, misinformation and unanimity influences on co-witness judgements. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. pp. 1-22. ISSN 1478-9949

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Researchers have typically observed the effects of co-witness influence on eyewitness pairs. However, research suggests that individuals are more likely to witness crimes in larger groups. Additionally, there is an abundance of evidence suggesting that social influence is heavily moderated by group size. Therefore, the present study aimed to gain a more accurate understanding of the risks of
co-witness influence in relation to unanimity and group size effects. Participants (N = 608) viewed and discussed a CCTV footage of a fight breaking out, with co-witnesses, before giving individual statements, where they were asked to identify which person had started the fight; confederates were used to suggest that the wrong man had started the fight. Results indicated that participants were vulnerable to co-witness influence, but only when exposed to misinformation from a majority of co-witnesses. Misinformation presented by an individual confederate
did not have a significant influence over the participants’ responses. This study was the first to investigate the effects of group size on blame attribution. The findings
suggest that the true risks of co-witness influence may not be as high as originally predicted from research on eyewitness pairs.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
26 January 2018Accepted
20 February 2018Published Online
Subjects: CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-01 - psychology (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
Depositing User: Silvio Aldrovandi
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2018 11:52
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:42

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