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Flashcards in Anxiety [EWT] Deck (14):

Which study showed anxiety to have a negative effect on EWT?

Johnson & Scott


How was anxiety shown to have a negative effect on EWT?

- ppts sat in waiting room for 'lab study'
- 2 confederates had an argument in separate room
- low anxiety condition:
man walked out carrying a PEN with GREASE on hands
- high anxiety condition:
man walked out carrying a PAPER KNIFE with BLOOD on hands and breaking glass heard
- ppts asked to pick man from 50 photos
49% low anxiety recalled him correctly
33% high anxiety recalled him correctly
= high anxiety makes EWT less reliable


What does Johnson & Scott's study really test?

The weapon focus effect


Why does the weapon focus effect affect EWT?

In high anxiety situations, people focus on the weapon, therefore recall for the peripheral vision is less accurate


Which ethics do Johnson & Scott's study breach?

DECEPTION - ppts didn't realise it was fake


How has Johnson & Scott's study been criticised?

The weapon focus effect may test surprise not anxiety
- PICKEL carried out a similar experiment and found that a handgun and raw chicken were similarly inaccurate for recall
= the weapon focus effect may not say much specifically about EWT therefore cannot help psychologists


Which study showed anxiety to have a positive effect on EWT?

Yuille & Cutshall


How was anxiety shown to have a positive effect on EWT?

- used a real life shooting
- 13 witnesses were interviewed at the time and asked how stressed they were on a 7-point scale
- then interviewed 4 months after the event
- new and original interviews were compared
witnesses who reported highest stress levels were more accurate - 88% vs 75%
= in real life situations, high anxiety improves recall


Why is Yuille & Cutshall's study more ethically sound?

Uses a real life event = no artificially created psychological damage


How has Yuille & Cutshall's study been criticised?

- Field experiment = no control over extraneous variables, post-event discussion may have occurred & could impact recall accuracy due to rehearsal
- A 7-point scale could be different for each person, and social desirability may skew answers


How has the different results been explained?

Using the Yerkes-Dodson Law


What is the Yerkes-Dodson Law?

A bell shaped graph showing how recall performance initially increases as anxiety grows, then it peaks [at the optimal point] and declines dramatically


How has the Yerkes-Dodson Law been criticised?

- It implies that the ppts in the lab experiment suffered from higher levels of anxiety than those who experienced the real life shooting
- The curve is too simple to explain all the cognitive processes


Why are there contradictory findings?

Anxiety is difficult to measure and all people may respond differently