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Flashcards in EWT - anxiety Deck (6)
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What are the effects of anxiety on EWT?

Stress/anxiety has a negative effect on memory and performance


What was Johnson and Scott's study on the effects of anxiety and the weapon focus effect?

the weapon focus effect = our attention turns to the weapon because it increases anxiety and this distracts us, decreasing accuracy of the event as a whole

• participants overhear argument
• man runs through with 'weapon'
• two conditions, having a different weapon:
1: weapon = pen covered in grease (low anxiety)
1: weapon = knife covered in blood (high anxiety, causing the weapon focus effect)
• participants asked to identify the man from a set of photos
• results show that more people recognised man with the grease pen + eye movements during event showed people focused on weapon


What is an alternate argument about the effects of anxiety on the accuracy of EWT?

high anxiety/arousal creates more accurate memories. Our senses are heightened. This would be a good adaption as remembering stressful events well could help us identify and avoid similar situations in the future, and help us respond to escape dangerous situations the same way we did the last time


What was a study on the positive effects of anxiety on EWT?

• real bank robbery witnesses were asked to retell the story 4-15 months after robbery
• some were direct victims and some were bystanders (different levels of anxiety experienced)
• all witnesses showed good memory of event, but the direct victims (highest anxiety level) had the most accurate recall
• anxiety does not reduce accurately of recall


Resolving the contraction between the negative and positive effects of anxiety on EWT

(Yerkes-Dodson effect)

• too low anxiety = less accurate recall (positive effect argument)

• too high anxiety = less accurate (negative effect argument)


• moderate/medium anxiety = best performance and best recall


Evaluation of the effects of anxiety on EWT

(-) Pickel - the weapon focus effect may be due to surprise rather than anxiety
(+) applies real life study - the robbery victims were real witnesses (ecological validity/mundane realism)
(-) Bothwell - individual differences and emotional sensitivity may influence results
(-) Fazey and Hardy - created an alert native model showing there may be a more complex relationship between anxiety and performed than the original model