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MCalavera
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16 Oct 2013, 12:13 pm

fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
lol @ "highly reliable witnesses"

I think there was a nuclear facility near Rendlesham so technically the world was reliant on the "reliable" judgement of these men to protect the free world from nuclear warfare.


Testimonies are testimonies and prone to a lot of errors even by people you deem to be expert at testimonies (if there's even such a thing). Especially when it comes to very extraordinary claims, one should not just trust what people say they saw.


This is a fantastic video demonstrating a psychological experiment that was done in 1999 demonstrating the invalidity of eye witness testimonies and how fallicious the brain can be when perceiving reality. Thought you might find it interesting :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo


Yeah, it's very interesting. I always show this to people who haven't seen it whenever I get the chance.

Heard about a study that demonstrated that people actually recalled false testimonies simply due to word tricks by the interrogators?

http://www.simplypsychology.org/loftus-palmer.html



fibonaccispiral777
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16 Oct 2013, 12:25 pm

MCalavera wrote:
fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
lol @ "highly reliable witnesses"

I think there was a nuclear facility near Rendlesham so technically the world was reliant on the "reliable" judgement of these men to protect the free world from nuclear warfare.


Testimonies are testimonies and prone to a lot of errors even by people you deem to be expert at testimonies (if there's even such a thing). Especially when it comes to very extraordinary claims, one should not just trust what people say they saw.


This is a fantastic video demonstrating a psychological experiment that was done in 1999 demonstrating the invalidity of eye witness testimonies and how fallicious the brain can be when perceiving reality. Thought you might find it interesting :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo


Yeah, it's very interesting. I always show this to people who haven't seen it whenever I get the chance.

Heard about a study that demonstrated that people actually recalled false testimonies simply due to word tricks by the interrogators?

http://www.simplypsychology.org/loftus-palmer.html


Haha, that is absolutely fascinating. I shall have to research that further when I get the time. It is amazing to see how easy the mind can be be manipulated when given the appropriate information and the relativity of memories. It's interesting when you hear someone tell an anecdote when they tell it to two people. It always changes depending on the person they tell it too. They may exaggerate certain areas of the story or choose certain words that give it a more hyperbolic nature. Here is another website that actually mentions the one you just referenced interestingly enough showing how certain types of language alter our perception of reality -

http://beta-lab.nl/content/falsifiable- ... estimonies

It's compelling to think that even stories one finds in the bible and miracles apparently performed by Christ could have been down to people misinterpreting what they were seeing. Walking on water, turning water into wine- all of these things could be down to things that actually happened but that were eventually distorted by eye witness testimonies.



wozeree
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16 Oct 2013, 12:41 pm

fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
lol @ "highly reliable witnesses"

I think there was a nuclear facility near Rendlesham so technically the world was reliant on the "reliable" judgement of these men to protect the free world from nuclear warfare.


Testimonies are testimonies and prone to a lot of errors even by people you deem to be expert at testimonies (if there's even such a thing). Especially when it comes to very extraordinary claims, one should not just trust what people say they saw.


This is a fantastic video demonstrating a psychological experiment that was done in 1999 demonstrating the invalidity of eye witness testimonies and how fallicious the brain can be when perceiving reality. Thought you might find it interesting :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo


I hate to break it to you dude, but this study in no way invalidates eyewitness testimony. My education is in forensic psychology and this was trotted out many a time with the same claim. This is why nobody should ever trust psychology studies. You cannot create a false environment with specific instructions that has nothing to do with witnessing crimes and then say, hey this proves that is wrong. The reason people don't see the gorilla is because they are told to focus on the players. It's so false and so facile.

Fortunately we do know because of DNA that eyewitness testimony is often horribly mistaken. The reasons are many and complex and have nothing to do with being told to watch a sports team in action. Usually it's much more tied up to people's emotions such as terror, honest confusion, bad lighting, intentional lying. Not just a matter of looking in the other direction (that could be one reason, but it's just one scenario among hundreds and it can't explain for instance how people mistakenly identify what they actually saw, which is what happens in bad eyewitness testimony). Something entirely different. This study and the claims people make around it really piss me off!



MCalavera
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16 Oct 2013, 1:10 pm

wozeree wrote:
I hate to break it to you dude, but this study in no way invalidates eyewitness testimony. My education is in forensic psychology and this was trotted out many a time with the same claim. This is why nobody should ever trust psychology studies. You cannot create a false environment with specific instructions that has nothing to do with witnessing crimes and then say, hey this proves that is wrong. The reason people don't see the gorilla is because they are told to focus on the players. It's so false and so facile.


All this talk and you didn't point out what is so false and facile about it. The point is that people only see what they are led to see. This applies for all settings, whether crime settings or something else. So what exactly is the problem again?

Quote:
Fortunately we do know because of DNA that eyewitness testimony is often horribly mistaken. The reasons are many and complex and have nothing to do with being told to watch a sports team in action. Usually it's much more tied up to people's emotions such as terror, honest confusion, bad lighting, intentional lying. Not just a matter of looking in the other direction (that could be one reason, but it's just one scenario among hundreds and it can't explain for instance how people mistakenly identify what they actually saw, which is what happens in bad eyewitness testimony). Something entirely different. This study and the claims people make around it really piss me off!


So eyewitness testimony is unreliable for a number of factors. Ok, and?



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16 Oct 2013, 1:36 pm

Ok, here I'll be more specific:

1. Conditions of the study are no where near the same conditions of witnessing a crime. There is no fear, much less terror involved, no need to get a criminal off a street, no sense of personal violation, etc. etc.

2 To show a video with the instructions to count how many times somebody does something is to intentionally take the viewer's attention away from the gorilla. In a crime, there are no such artificial constraints. (It's possible an eyewitness could be told to look away, but that's a whole other thing which again is going to be highly emotional and involve their safety, it doesn't take away the need or desire to see what's going on so somebody may still peek - compare that to just count how many times a player does something where they have no need or desire to watch the rest of the screen and will just be focused on the players).

3. MOST IMPORTANTLY - the only thing that happens when someone watches this video is that their attention is diverted from one part of the screen to another. Thus, they don't see the gorilla. They admit later, I did not see the gorilla.

If this were to happen after a crime, say someone said, I saw the guy that was holding the gun, but not the guy on the other side of the room -- that's not an eyewitness error. That's simple and correct (it's what happens when people watch the video).

Eyewitness error is when somebody believes they saw something they did not see. Or they saw something and did not remember correctly so that the wrong person was identified.

See the difference - nope, didn't see that (correct). Vs. That's they guy who crawled into my bed and raped me (false).

The study doesn't even ask the correct question (which is do people misidentify what they have seen or believe they have seen?) - much less does it provide any answers to that question.



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16 Oct 2013, 1:59 pm

wozeree wrote:
Ok, here I'll be more specific:

1. Conditions of the study are no where near the same conditions of witnessing a crime. There is no fear, much less terror involved, no need to get a criminal off a street, no sense of personal violation, etc. etc.


Why the focus on crime? They were actually discussing aliens. And besides, so what if there is no fear involved in that video Fib posted? What is the significance of fear again in this context if selective attention occurs either way.

Quote:
2 To show a video with the instructions to count how many times somebody does something is to intentionally take the viewer's attention away from the gorilla. In a crime, there are no such artificial constraints. (It's possible an eyewitness could be told to look away, but that's a whole other thing which again is going to be highly emotional and involve their safety, it doesn't take away the need or desire to see what's going on so somebody may still peek - compare that to just count how many times a player does something where they have no need or desire to watch the rest of the screen and will just be focused on the players).


It's not about being told to look away or anything like that. It's about the fact that no witness, whether in a crime scene or elsewhere, gets to pay attention to every single detail. So we end up practicing what is called "selective attention".

Sure, during a crime, witnesses may be more alert but change blindness and selective attention are always a possibility.

No one is arguing that there aren't multiple other factors to consider anyway.

But if your main argument is that selective attention shouldn't be considered unreliable testimony, maybe you're right. But they're all linked together in the long run, and testimonies are all about being selective in what they spotted.



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16 Oct 2013, 2:10 pm

1. Conditions of the study are no where near the same conditions of witnessing a crime. There is no fear, much less terror involved, no need to get a criminal off a street, no sense of personal violation, etc. etc.


We were not saying that it was in relation to a crime. Although I can empathize with your point as people are probably more likely to have their senses distorted when in a state of hysteria, we were discussing UFOs not a criminal scene. Furthermore, one does not need to be in a state of fear to have their perception distorted. As many studies have shown, which i referenced in the website above in one of my other posts, people's perception of events change, not only due to fear, but also because of the status of the person they are recollecting the event to, the need to weave a common cultural narrative into what they saw so that the meaningless takes on a meaning and the so forth. Fear is not the only thing responsible for a distortion in the perception of reality.


2 To show a video with the instructions to count how many times somebody does something is to intentionally take the viewer's attention away from the gorilla. In a crime, there are no such artificial constraints. (It's possible an eyewitness could be told to look away, but that's a whole other thing which again is going to be highly emotional and involve their safety, it doesn't take away the need or desire to see what's going on so somebody may still peek - compare that to just count how many times a player does something where they have no need or desire to watch the rest of the screen and will just be focused on the players).

Again, I can concur with your point that in a criminal scenario, such constraints are not present however, again as I said, we were not discussing a crime, we were discussing ufos and what the experiment suggests is that as human beings we tend to focus on what we think is most important to the point that we do not perceive other things that may be of equal importance. We tend to filter out sensory information we consider less prominent to the point that our testimonies cannot be valid. Someone who has their car followed by a ufo may only focus on the ufo since they consider it the most important piece of sensory information and this will lead them to block out the other relevant sensory information that may be causing them to see the ufo in the first place. A hierarchy of importance is placed upon what we see and hear.

3. MOST IMPORTANTLY - the only thing that happens when someone watches this video is that their attention is diverted from one part of the screen to another. Thus, they don't see the gorilla. They admit later, I did not see the gorilla.

If this were to happen after a crime, say someone said, I saw the guy that was holding the gun, but not the guy on the other side of the room -- that's not an eyewitness error. That's simple and correct (it's what happens when people watch the video).

Eyewitness error is when somebody believes they saw something they did not see. Or they saw something and did not remember correctly so that the wrong person was identified.

See the difference - nope, didn't see that (correct). Vs. That's they guy who crawled into my bed and raped me (false).

The study doesn't even ask the correct question (which is do people misidentify what they have seen or believe they have seen?) - much less does it provide any answers to that question.[/quote]



I do not think me or Mcalavera were saying that the people who say they have seen ufos did not see anything at all. I am certain that people have seen objects in the sky that they could not identify, however I would say their perception of such objects could be distorted as the experiment suggest. Considering the rarity of such a spectacle, they would have focused solely on the lights and failed to pick up on other details in their environment that may have helped explain the objects that they were seeing. Thus, if an individual says 'I saw the UFO and there was NOTHING strange about the sky', we might be skeptical. The sky may have been rather odd and strange temperature changes may have caused some orb like object to appear, however they may not have taken into account such weather conditions because they selected the ufo and nothing more.



fibonaccispiral777
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16 Oct 2013, 2:12 pm

MCalavera wrote:
wozeree wrote:
Ok, here I'll be more specific:

1. Conditions of the study are no where near the same conditions of witnessing a crime. There is no fear, much less terror involved, no need to get a criminal off a street, no sense of personal violation, etc. etc.


Why the focus on crime? They were actually discussing aliens. And besides, so what if there is no fear involved in that video Fib posted? What is the significance of fear again in this context if selective attention occurs either way.

Quote:
2 To show a video with the instructions to count how many times somebody does something is to intentionally take the viewer's attention away from the gorilla. In a crime, there are no such artificial constraints. (It's possible an eyewitness could be told to look away, but that's a whole other thing which again is going to be highly emotional and involve their safety, it doesn't take away the need or desire to see what's going on so somebody may still peek - compare that to just count how many times a player does something where they have no need or desire to watch the rest of the screen and will just be focused on the players).


It's not about being told to look away or anything like that. It's about the fact that no witness, whether in a crime scene or elsewhere, gets to pay attention to every single detail. So we end up practicing what is called "selective attention".

Sure, during a crime, witnesses may be more alert but change blindness and selective attention are always a possibility.

No one is arguing that there aren't multiple other factors to consider anyway.

But if your main argument is that selective attention shouldn't be considered unreliable testimony, maybe you're right. But they're all linked together in the long run, and testimonies are all about being selective in what they spotted.


Sorry, I just virtually posted exactly the same argument but in a much more convoluted form( for some reason I cannot express myself simply). Excuse what may appear to be plagarism :lol: :)



MCalavera
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16 Oct 2013, 2:20 pm

It's funny because I was thinking that you express yourself more clearly than I do. I may not look like it but I am not that strong when it comes to verbal intelligence. My strength is more on the quantitative intelligence end.



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16 Oct 2013, 2:24 pm

You are exactly correct. Eyewitnesses cannot pay attention to everything. That is the point. That can't see everything no matter how hard they try.

Not seeing everything and remembering things differently than you saw them are two entirely different things. Erroneous convictions are about people "seeing" or believing they saw something specific that they can point to and testify against.

The reason that emotions have to do with is because in eyewitness testimony, emotions have A FREAKING TRUCKLOAD to do with what the person believes they saw. To create a true scientifically grounded study in eyewitness testimony, the emotions need to be replicated and this is one of the strong long known ethical problems with creating such studies. Researchers are not allowed to make participants believe their lives are in danger, thus they have to prepare studies that are largely irrelevant.

Imagine a scientific study where one of the key components was just dropped. Say you are studying how divorce affects women's blood pressure. But you can't get any divorced women so you just use women who have broken up with boyfriends. Then you claim, it's the same thing as if you studied women who were divorced women, but it's not even close.

The only thing this video demonstrates is that if you direct someone's attention to one part of the screen, and absent any reason to look away from where you directed them to look they won't see what they're not looking at.



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16 Oct 2013, 2:29 pm

MCalavera wrote:
It's funny because I was thinking that you express yourself more clearly than I do. I may not look like it but I am not that strong when it comes to verbal intelligence. My strength is more on the quantitative intelligence end.


I wouldn't say that is the case but thank you, i appreciate the compliment. Your logic is very good I would say.



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16 Oct 2013, 2:43 pm

wozeree wrote:
You are exactly correct. Eyewitnesses cannot pay attention to everything. That is the point. That can't see everything no matter how hard they try.

Not seeing everything and remembering things differently than you saw them are two entirely different things. Erroneous convictions are about people "seeing" or believing they saw something specific that they can point to and testify against.

The reason that emotions have to do with is because in eyewitness testimony, emotions have A FREAKING TRUCKLOAD to do with what the person believes they saw. To create a true scientifically grounded study in eyewitness testimony, the emotions need to be replicated and this is one of the strong long known ethical problems with creating such studies. Researchers are not allowed to make participants believe their lives are in danger, thus they have to prepare studies that are largely irrelevant.

Imagine a scientific study where one of the key components was just dropped. Say you are studying how divorce affects women's blood pressure. But you can't get any divorced women so you just use women who have broken up with boyfriends. Then you claim, it's the same thing as if you studied women who were divorced women, but it's not even close.

The only thing this video demonstrates is that if you direct someone's attention to one part of the screen, and absent any reason to look away from where you directed them to look they won't see what they're not looking at.


As I said before in my previous post, I do not think me or Mclavera (sorry if i mispelt your name) were underestimating the role of emotion in the distortion of perception, however all we were saying was that there were other factors that need to be taken into account such as selective perception and when considering the validity of ufos, that is a fallacy of human perception that needs to be taken into account when an individual is claiming they saw aliens hovering above them and that there was nothing there that could have caused it. We have no way of knowing if something didn't cause it since in such scenarios, they most likely zoomed in on the ufo and focused on nothing outside of it. I agree emotions need to be taken into account but the reason I used the invisible gorilla experiment had nothing to do with demonstrating how emotions affect testimonies, it was about selective perception. If I had brought up the invisible gorrila experiment and said 'look at how this beautifully demonstrates how emotion affects eye witness testimony!' then you would have rightly challenged me over it. Yes, it demonstrates that people do not pay attention to certain sensory stimulation and focus on other parts of their reality tunnel but I do not know why that should be considered something frivolous and unimportant. That is a fallacy in human perception that must be considered when considering ufo claims.



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16 Oct 2013, 3:07 pm

Let me try and put this another way - (I know you're thinking OH GOD NO). I'll try to be short! :D

My problem with this study isn't with the conclusions it comes to in relation to the real world, it's with how the study was designed and how the study comes to those conclusions.

By creating the artificial expectation in the viewer that they are going to be asked about the players movements, they are REQUIRING that the viewer look very closely at the players. The viewer is not supposed to be looking at where the gorilla appeared. Yet when it's done, they crow that the viewer did not look there. Well of course not!

Say for instance you are driving and you know there are going to be obstacles jumping out at you. You are going to be focused on the road ahead of you. Say while you are doing this, a big hairy monster jumps up and attaches itself to the rear side window but you never see it. That doesn't mean you weren't paying attention as you should have been, that means you WERE paying attention as you should have been. You just never saw it.

A person who looks at the sky, sees blinking lights and ignores the fact that there is an airplane body behind those lights is not exhibiting the behavior that this study is demonstrating.

That's my point.



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16 Oct 2013, 3:37 pm

fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
[b]Eyewitness error is when somebody believes they saw something they did not see. Or they saw something and did not remember correctly so that the wrong person was identified.


Whilst I agree with the majority of your post the Gorilla experiment has a valid point to make in that people often say I was there, I saw what happened. It is possible (and often the case) they only saw part of what happened. So whilst it is true to say the eyewitness did not make an error, it is erroneous to assume that their account is a full one.


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16 Oct 2013, 3:49 pm

DentArthurDent wrote:
fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
[b]Eyewitness error is when somebody believes they saw something they did not see. Or they saw something and did not remember correctly so that the wrong person was identified.


Whilst I agree with the majority of your post the Gorilla experiment has a valid point to make in that people often say I was there, I saw what happened. It is possible (and often the case) they only saw part of what happened. So whilst it is true to say the eyewitness did not make an error, it is erroneous to assume that their account is a full one.



You are absolutely right - however in any instance where the witness (be it of a crime or of a UFO or anything else) is specifically focused on one point and an event happened at another point, that would be taken into consideration. Say there's a whole stadium of people watching a football game play out at one end of a field, but somebody got punched on the other end. Or a martian walked out on that end - it would be understandable that probably at least half the people there would not have noticed what was going on on that other end even though it was right in front of them in plain view.

Again, it's a different thing if somebody looks at something and refuses to see it or doesn't cognizantly recognize it because it looks like something their imagination identifies as a UFO and they "only see" the UFO.



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16 Oct 2013, 3:52 pm

DentArthurDent wrote:
fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
[b]Eyewitness error is when somebody believes they saw something they did not see. Or they saw something and did not remember correctly so that the wrong person was identified.


Whilst I agree with the majority of your post the Gorilla experiment has a valid point to make in that people often say I was there, I saw what happened. It is possible (and often the case) they only saw part of what happened. So whilst it is true to say the eyewitness did not make an error, it is erroneous to assume that their account is a full one.


Perfectly put DentarthurDent. I think they have a valid point in so far that such experiments do not take into account how emotion is responsible for distorting perception of reality but as I said in my previous post and as you have just said in yours- the person spotting a ufo may genuinely see an object that is unidentified. Such occurrences must happen quite frequently I would imagine and in this sense the UFO-observer is not making a mistake in their perception but they may do when they explain the circumstances in which it happened and miss out vital points about certain features of the environment that could help explain what is was exactly they saw. Anyway, you put it succinctly.