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The Open University

Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation

The Open University via FutureLearn


Try to solve a crime using nothing but eyewitness evidence

Despite advances in forensic science, eyewitness testimony remains a critical component of criminal investigations. But psychological research has revealed the dangers of relying on this testimony and how careful the police must be when questioning witnesses.

Using videos of real witnesses, from behind the scenes of a police investigation, this course explores the psychology of eyewitness testimony.

You will get the chance to test your own cognitive skills and see if your investigative powers are as good as police officers’, as you try to solve a crime using nothing but eyewitness evidence.

This course is intended for those with an interest in psychology and/or criminal investigation, and does not require any previous experience of studying either subject.


  • Introduction to eyewitness psychology
    • Introduction
    • Eyewitness psychology
    • The investigation
  • Initial statements
    • Witness characteristics and the crime
    • DI Bullet takes witness statements
    • DS Sund takes witness statements
  • Seeing and not seeing
    • Inattentional blindness
    • Change blindness
    • Questioning witnesses
  • Interviewing witnesses
    • DI Bullet interviews the witnesses
    • The cognitive interview
    • DS Sund interviews the witnesses
  • Making and recognising faces
    • Verbal and visual descriptions
    • Seeing the whole face
    • When face recognition goes wrong
  • Visual identification
    • Identification evidence
    • DI Bullet conducts an identity parade
    • DS Sund conducts an identity parade
  • Whodunnit?
    • DI Bullet’s investigation
    • DS Sund’s investigation
    • Solving the crime
  • Conclusion
    • Testing your forensic psychological knowledge
    • Looking to the future
    • Learning more about forensic psychology

Taught by

Graham Pike


4.7 rating, based on 19 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 484 ratings

Start your review of Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation

  • Loved this course, complements my current studies in accident forensics:) I really enjoyed the practical application of skills such as the Identikit exercise; Futurelearn sure know how to put on an interesting and engaging MOOC:)
  • Paddie Reed
    This course is really fascinating and set at a healthy adult level of being neither dumbed down to the lowest common denominator nor talking over our heads. However, like most courses delivered by the OU, the estimated time needed to study it is und…
  • Mohammad
    This course is seriously the best till now I have ever taken on-line. It requires no basics of Forensic Science or Psychology.
    This is seriously interesting and the platform FutureLearn itself is seriously good and very user-friendly.
    It uses not much data if users are on mobile data except for the videos it contains and the course basically is on HTML format making it easy for users to stream , navigate and view the course.
  • Anonymous
    I have learned that memory is not accurate. That many are in prisoned because of false testimony from the witness. The questioning to witness may affect the outcome of the case. We cannot identify a person except the face is recognized hollistically. We cannot remember all the circumstances in the case so the investigator shoul be careful in gathering piesces of evidence. The outcome of the case is influenced how it is investigated.
  • R.Michael Aksheiy
    The best course on forensic psychology, very interesting and fascinating.

    Cannot stop going through the course, very well structured curriculum.

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    Zandra .m. Thompson
    I just like it, so I just want to read and study it for my own pleasure and time. Their is nothing mush to say,I gave you that input because I have heard so much about this course and I you will take me on as a new student who willing to learn and take a few subject with you and others for time passing, thanks you for your time and opportunity.Zandra
  • Anonymous
    Really well crafted course plan. Good balance between theory and experiments, and case discussions.
    A lot of information about memory and the way it can be distorted. What one can do to reduce distortion.
    A real beauty of a course.
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