The weapon focus effect on memory for female versus male perpetrators

  title={The weapon focus effect on memory for female versus male perpetrators},
  author={Kerri L. Pickel},
  pages={664 - 678}
  • K. Pickel
  • Published 6 July 2009
  • Psychology
  • Memory
Previous research suggests that weapons are often inconsistent with the schema activated by eyewitnesses, which leads them to attend to weapons more than they would to neutral objects. Therefore an especially strong weapon focus effect should occur when a perpetrator holds an object primarily associated with the opposite rather than the same gender. As predicted, a handgun reduced the accuracy of witnesses’ descriptions of a female perpetrator more than descriptions of a male perpetrator… 
The weapon focus effect is weaker with Black versus White male perpetrators
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In two experiments exploring possible causes of the "weapon focus" effect, undergraduates viewed videotapes depicting interactions in business establishments and had difficulty remembering the low-threat, non-unusual object.
A “weapon focus” effect in children
Abstract Experiments suggest that the presence of a weapon impairs memory for the appearance of the perpetrator (“weapon focus”), although whether this reflects threat or novelty value remains
Do weapons automatically capture attention
Two experiments explored whether weapons automatically capture attention or whether eyewitnesses can overcome the weapon focus effect if so instructed. Witnesses heard a lecture that either