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MORE Programs Poster Presentation

Title: The Effects of Misinformation and Retention Interval on Eyewitness Conformity: Can we rely on eyewitness testimony?

Abstract

Past studies have resulted in contradictory findings on memory conformity for misinformation. For instance, Roediger et al. (2001) found that schema-consistent misinformation was remembered better than schema-inconsistent misinformation. In contrast, a recent study by Nemeth and Belli (2006) found that misinformation for implausible items were remembered better than plausible items. Thus, participants recalled more schema-inconsistent than schema-consistent misinformation. The present study sought to resolve these contradictions by examining the effects of plausibility and time delay on witness conformity. Further, while previous studies tested memory for everyday scenes, the current study examined memory conformity in a more forensically-relevant context (i.e.: memory for a perpetrator committing a criminal act). A video of a carjacking was shown to108 college students. Plausible and implausible misinformation was presented to the participants in the experimental groups via confederates. No misinformation or delay was given to participants in the control group. The participants’ memory for the video was then tested after no delay, five-minute delay, and one-hour delay. We hypothesized that, while participants would recall more plausible misinformation than implausible after a short delay, an increase in recall of implausible misinformation would occur after a longer delay. The results showed…(to be filled out) This study aimed to expand on current memory conformity literature and contribute to a better understanding of the factors involved in eyewitness memory.

Authors: Patricia Arredondo and Mitchell L. Eisen