Testifying through another tongue:Examining the effects of language barriers on accuracy and suggestibility in eyewitness testimonies.

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Psykologiska institutionen

Abstract: Language barriers in eyewitness testimonies may pose threats toward witnesses’ accuracy, and consequently on the outcome of judicial procedures. The present study aims to investigate the credibility and the extent of reported detail information of eyewitnesses’ testimony of a crime event, when the testimony is given in witnesses’ first language, second language, or second language through interpreter. Moreover, the study examines whether eyewitness suggestibility is affected by the language to which the testimony is provided. Participants (N=60) were exposed to a mock crime event and subsequently performed memory tests about that event. Results showed no differences in accuracy of suggestibility between experimental conditions. The personality trait social desirability showed no relation to suggestibility or the extent of inaccurate detail information provided in the present study. The findings are discussed in the context of implications, limitations and future directions.

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