Debriefing Statement - Cross-age Study

 The purpose of the research in which you just participated is to answer some questions regarding the nature of eyewitness testimony. After an eyewitness witnesses a crime, they are often asked to estimate the criminal's age.  We are assessing how well people can estimate the age of possible criminals.  In addition, we are assessing whether there are any differences in the accuracy of young and older adults.  Previous research indicated that older adults were less accurate at estimating the age of a young criminal, but no one has assessed how well they estimate the age of older adults.  Therefore, we are trying to determine whether older adults are more accurate than younger adults when asked to estimate the age of an older adult.  We predict that younger adults will be most accurate when estimating the age of other young adults and older adults will be most accurate when estimating the age of other older adults.

Debriefing Statement - Intention/Incidental Study

The research you just participated in, along with other studies, will be used to help us better understand the nature of eyewitness memory.  For nearly three decades, psychologists have studied how people remember eyewitness events.  One variable that has not been extensively studied is whether or not the person is expecting to witness a crime.  In the real world, eyewitnesses are not told that they are about to witness a crime.  However, in many eyewitness memory experiments, participants are told they will witness a crime.  We designed this experiment to assess the effects of being informed about an upcoming crime on peoples' memory for that crime.  We predict that people who were told that they would witness a crime will have better memory for details of the event.