Eyewitness identification under stress in the London Dungeon

Valentine, Tim and Mesout, Jan. 2009. Eyewitness identification under stress in the London Dungeon. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23(2), pp. 151-161. ISSN 0888-4080 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Eyewitness experiments do not induce the stress experienced by victims of crime. It is important to understand the effect of stress if results of laboratory studies are to be generalised to victims and witnesses of real crimes, but previous research has shown a mixed picture. The ability of visitors to the London Dungeon to describe and identify somebody encountered in the Horror Labyrinth was investigated, as a function of their state anxiety. To validate the measure of state anxiety, participants wore a wireless heart rate monitor whilst in the labyrinth. High state anxiety was associated with a higher heart rate. Subsequently, visitors completed measures of their state anxiety experienced whilst in the labyrinth and a measure of trait anxiety. High state anxiety was associated with reporting fewer correct descriptors of the target person, more incorrect details and making fewer correct identifications from a lineup. There was no effect of trait anxiety on eyewitness memory.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Research Office > REF2014


February 2009Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Mar 2011 11:33

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 13:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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