An examination of the role played by threat, unusualness, duration and complexity on producing the weapon focus effect.
(2015) An examination of the role played by threat, unusualness, duration and complexity on producing the weapon focus effect..
The Weapon Focus Effect is a well documented phenomenon whereby the presence of a threatening or unusual object during a crime will capture an individuals attention to the extent where there memory for the event is reduced along side their ability to correctly identify the perpetrator of the crime. The current study will examine this effect, and the extent to which it is influenced by; the perceived level of threat or unusualness of an object; the duration for which the object is seen; and the complexity of the scene in which it is viewed. Participants watched a short video in which an actor held either a gun, knife, flamingo or hole-punch before their memory of the scene was tested. The results suggested that the more threatening or unusual the object the more likely it was to be remembered. Results also suggested that threat, duration and complexity in combination lead to reductions in memory. Only the threat condition was found to have an effect on lineups, with threat resulting in more correct identifications in target-present lineups.