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Eyewitnesses With Intellectual Disabilities Essay

1759 words - 8 pages

Ever since DNA has been used in court cases, hundreds of people have been released from prison because DNA exonerated them from the eyewitness testimony that was given at trial that locked them up in the first place. Once news about this started getting out, how human memory was not as perfect as previously thought, many different studies have shown how easy it is to manipulate memory and create false memories to almost everyone. So when I received this assignment and had to research a topic involving false memories and present it, I chose an issue that I am very connected with, individuals with intellectual disabilities [ID]. Growing up I was a member of Friendship Circle it is a ...view middle of the document...

In late 2013 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) came out with an updated version of the DSM, the DSM V. In this edition they overhauled the criteria for diagnosis for many disorders including Intellectual Disabilities. They moved the disorder from an axis II diagnosis to a single axis along all the other mental disorders and all of them are given equal weight so one disorder does not take precedence over the other. As for the diagnosis, symptoms need to appear before 18 years of age to rule out dementia. According to the DSM-V symptoms vary on the severity of ID but usually include learning and developing slower then other children in the age range, difficulty in short term memory, speech, social communication, and difficulty to think logically. All of these areas are areas that one needs to be able to accurately recall events when they happen and it becomes clear why there is a strong stigma around people who have and intellectual disability. The DSM-V also removed the functioning levels on ID (mild, moderate, severe, and profound) by doing so I. I chose to focus on a few different areas that I thought would be a potential problem for individuals with intellectual disabilities including issues with suggestibility to alter false memories, capacity to be interviewed and recall events, and their credibility with their testimony. These areas have potential concern because of the nature of the disorder and the problems it poses.
One of the major problems with individuals with an intellectual disability is that they are viewed as more suggestible. To find out more about this area of concern I first looked at an article by Temes and Yuille (2008) that focused on eyewitness memory and identification when the eyewitness had an intellectual disability. In this article, researchers took twenty-two participants with an intellectual disability and twenty-three average adults and looked at their ability to identify someone that they had a brief interaction with while being blind to the fact that they should remember the individual. About ten days after the initial interaction, the participants would return and shown a sequential line up of people and asked to identify if the person who they had the brief integration with was there. The researchers looked at three areas, identification accuracy, interview performance, and suggestibility. The researchers looked at target present and absent lineups for individuals with intellectual disabilities and the comparison group. They found for both target present and absent individuals with intellectual disabilities made more errors incorrectly rejecting the lineup 20 out of 22 times for ID compared to 17 out of 23. The researchers also found that they correctly identified the target two times for in ID group and 7 times for the comparison group. The second hypothesis they tested was the interview performance. They looked at closed and open ended questions and found only small difference in the...

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