Do the text messages show that the robber had an accomplice among the cinema staff?
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Dec 17th, 2019

Do the text messages show that the robber had an accomplice among the cinema staff?


The evidence will need to be reconstructed and then translated in order to answer the question and decide which texts were sent by the robber and which texts were sent by the other person.

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In answering the question it will be necessary to adopt Gernsbacher’s Structure Building Framework, which enables cohesive mental representations or structures to be built by laying down a foundation and then mapping on incoming information, which coheres with previous information (Gernsbacher, 1990, p. 289).

Summary of Predictions Made by Model

The text messages prove that the robber had an accomplice who worked at the cinema and was one of the witnesses.


In understanding the individual sentences, it is necessary to focus on their connected discourse so that ambiguity does not ensue. Here, the sentences will be clearer when taken into context than they would be if they were constructed individually (Graesser et al, 1997, p. 164). Inferences will therefore need to be drawn when analysing the texts. In the first text, the other person asks the robber if he is still up for what they talked about which clearly means the robbery of the cinema. The other person then tells the robber that he is “fkn skint wana get outa her” which illustrates that the other person works at the cinema and wants to rob it so that he has enough money to leave. When the robber asks the other person when they should do it, he says; “I tol u sat 4 d best score.” Again, this demonstrates that the other person works at the cinema as he is aware that the best time to make the most money “score” is a Saturday.

The other person then tells the robber that he is “redy 2 b robt” which shows that he is going to be involved in the robbery by setting it up and acting as if he is a victim, which highlight’s the other person’s level of involvement. He also knew personal things about members of staff which again shown that he works in the cinema and when the other person refers to the cinema workers as “mupets in blu uniffms” the robber texts back “haha they includes yerself.” Again, this shows that the other person works at the cinema as he too wears a blue uniform. Given that four out of the five witnesses were all wearing blue uniforms; it is likely that the accomplice is one of the witnesses.

In translating these text messages, bridging inferences were used to “establish coherence between the current part of the text and the preceding text” (Eysenck and Keane, 2010, p. 395). This was achieved by working out the referent of nouns and pronouns and relating it to previous nouns and phrases (anaphor resolution). Given that the language used in the text messages is not intended to be taken literally, a pragmatic approach was adopted for certain sentences such as; “lol don sht me. Bill old guy is d dangrus 1 x army”. Here, the other person is asking the robber not to shoot him, yet this is not his intended meaning since he is aware that the robber will not try to shoot him and is merely trying to warn him about Bill who is an ex military personnel. The discourse markers used in the text messages are also important in connecting the sentences together since “ye” and “yea” indicate how both parties are involved in the robbery from the outset (Braisby and Gellatly, 2012, p. 688).

Application of the Model to the Case

In applying the model to the case, a coherent mental representation was built by connecting the new information with old information and by separating the pronouns and definite nouns to divide the discourse into episodes where there were topic shifts. In applying this process, it became apparent that the text messages proved the robber had an accomplice who worked at the cinema and wore a blue uniform. As such, the accomplice could have been one of the four witnesses wearing blue. The most crucial text messages that answer this question are those that show how the other person works at the cinema and that he was in the on the robbery. Nevertheless, the other texts are also important in bridging inferences and connecting the information together. When reconstructing the text messages, I was able to identify which messages were sent by the robber and the other person by identifying the specific quirks of language used by the other person. Hence, the robbers language was more straightforward than the other persons, which was unique (Idiolect) and less likely to be understood by wider audiences (Eco, 1979, p. 272).

Conclusion and My View

Overall, it is evident from the finding that that the robber did have an accomplice who was one of the witnesses working in the cinema. The “other person” appears to works at the cinema because the robber in one text message says: they, includes yourself. It seems that the person works there and that’s why he knows things about the other members of staff so well. Furthermore, the fact that the robber states he is “skint” and wants to get out further illustrates that he works in the cinema as it becomes clear that his main objective in assisting in the Robbery is to make money and give up his job. Also, the other person informed the robber that the security guard was previously in the army and that he wore a black suit and it was in fact the security guard who died in the robbery. Hence, the robber may have felt threatened by the security guard because of what he was told and may therefore have shot him in order to prevent him in retaliation. The italicized and bold text messages are important in proving the other person worked at the cinema and was involved in the robbery.


Braisbey, N. and Gellatly, A. (2012) Cognitive Psychology, Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition.

Eco, U. (1979) Theory of Semiotics, Indiana University Press, Volume 217.

Eysenck, M. W. and Keane, M. T. (2010) Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook, 6th Edition.

Gernsbacher, M. A. (1990) Language Comprehension as Structure Building, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Graesser, A. C. Millis, K. K. and Zwaan, R. A. (1997) Discourse Comprehension, Annual Review of Psychology, Volume 48.

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