Complete Schedule

Title

Effects of Self-Confabulated Misinformation on Eyewitness Memory

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Eyewitness testimony relies upon accurate retrieval of an event. However, exposure to misleading post-event information may be integrated into later memory, compromising memory accuracy (Loftus, 1975). Recalling immediately following events may increase the likelihood of incorporating misleading information into memory (e.g., Wilford, Chan, & Tuhn, 2013). The current study evaluated whether an initial free recall test increased susceptibility to later forced confabulation. All participants witnessed a video of a crime after which half of the participants recalled the event, while the other half wrote about an unrelated topic. Participants then answered cued recall questions about the event; some questions pertained to information in the event (and were answerable) and some pertained to details that were not included in the event (and were thus unanswerable). Half of the participants were forced to answer all questions, while the other half were allowed to say “don’t know.” Finally, free recall memory for the initial event was tested. Results suggest that forcing participants to answer questions had no effect on final memory, but only when they had initially recalled the event. When participants had not initially recalled the event, forcing participants to answer questions increased later memory, as compared to when they voluntarily answered.

Start Date

25-4-2015 12:00 PM

End Date

25-4-2015 1:15 PM

Faculty Advisor

Andrea Eslick

Comments

Location: Great Reading Room, Seerley Hall

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Apr 25th, 12:00 PM Apr 25th, 1:15 PM

Effects of Self-Confabulated Misinformation on Eyewitness Memory

Eyewitness testimony relies upon accurate retrieval of an event. However, exposure to misleading post-event information may be integrated into later memory, compromising memory accuracy (Loftus, 1975). Recalling immediately following events may increase the likelihood of incorporating misleading information into memory (e.g., Wilford, Chan, & Tuhn, 2013). The current study evaluated whether an initial free recall test increased susceptibility to later forced confabulation. All participants witnessed a video of a crime after which half of the participants recalled the event, while the other half wrote about an unrelated topic. Participants then answered cued recall questions about the event; some questions pertained to information in the event (and were answerable) and some pertained to details that were not included in the event (and were thus unanswerable). Half of the participants were forced to answer all questions, while the other half were allowed to say “don’t know.” Finally, free recall memory for the initial event was tested. Results suggest that forcing participants to answer questions had no effect on final memory, but only when they had initially recalled the event. When participants had not initially recalled the event, forcing participants to answer questions increased later memory, as compared to when they voluntarily answered.