Language Barriers in Eyewitness Testimonies : The Effects of Speaking a Non-native Language on Accuracy and Perceived Confidence
Abstract: Testifying can be a highly stressful and taxing experience for an eyewitness. When testifying in a non-native language, the native language may interfere with the memory retrieval process. Thus, non-native speaking eyewitnesses face additional difficulties when providing their testimonies. However, it is unknown how the language barrier may affect the accuracy of the testimony. A sample of 33 Swedish-speaking participants were shown a mock crime film and gave a testimony in either a native or non-native (English) language. Ratings of perceived cognitive effort, perceived credibility and confidence of the testimony were also given. No significant differences were found. However, small differences were found with non-native speaking participants reporting fewer correct details, lower confidence, and lower perceived credibility. This could suggest that the judicial system needs to be aware of the difficulties faced by non-native speaking eyewitnesses and take these into account when evaluating these witnesses in order to achieve legal certainty. Sample size, other limitations and suggestions for future research is further discussed.
AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)