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Flashcards in Anxiety [EWT] Deck (14):
1

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

Johnson & Scott

2

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
RESULTS
49% low anxiety recalled him correctly
33% high anxiety recalled him correctly
= high anxiety makes EWT less reliable

3

What does Johnson & Scott's study really test?

The weapon focus effect

4

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

5

Which ethics do Johnson & Scott's study breach?

DECEPTION - ppts didn't realise it was fake
+ PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM

6

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

7

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

Yuille & Cutshall

8

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
RESULTS
witnesses who reported highest stress levels were more accurate - 88% vs 75%
= in real life situations, high anxiety improves recall

9

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

Uses a real life event = no artificially created psychological damage

10

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

11

How has the different results been explained?

Using the Yerkes-Dodson Law

12

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

13

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

14

Why are there contradictory findings?

Anxiety is difficult to measure and all people may respond differently