When Eyewitnesses Talk

  title={When Eyewitnesses Talk},
  author={Daniel B. Wright and Amina Memon and Elin M. Skagerberg and Fiona Gabbert},
  journal={Current Directions in Psychological Science},
  pages={174 - 178}
When two people witness an event, they often discuss it. Because memory is not perfect, sometimes this discussion includes errors. One person's errors can become part of another person's account, and this proliferation of error can lead to miscarriages of justice. In this article, we describe the social and cognitive processes involved. Research shows how people combine information about their own memory with other people's memories based on factors such as confidence, perceived expertise, and… 
Current Issues and Advances in Misinformation Research
Eyewitnesses are often called upon to report information about what they have seen. A wealth of research from the past century has demonstrated, however, that eyewitness memory is malleable and
The Role of Self-Construal in Eyewitness Memories: Susceptibility to Different Sources of Information
Eyewitness memories are malleable and can be influenced by many factors. This study focuses on how construal of the self can influence the memory and create the post-event misinformation effect. It
The south beach study: Bystanders' memories are more malleable
People's reports are affected by what others say. The current study compared memory conformity effects of people who interacted with a confederate, and of bystanders to that interaction. A second
Eyewitness accounts: false facts, false memories, and false identification
With an experimental design, we assess the reliability of eyewitness identification. After viewing a staged nonviolent crime, subjects heard a confederate provide an inaccurate description of the
Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony
False information can influence people's beliefs and memories. But can fabricated evidence induce individuals to accuse another person of doing something they never did? We examined whether exposure
Consequences of False Memories in Eyewitness Testimony: A Review and Implications for Chinese Legal Practice
False memories can result in severe legal consequences including the imprisonment of innocent people. False memory in eyewitnesses is the largest factor contributing to miscarriages of justice in the
The Effect of cross-chain discussion by eyewitnesses and non-eyewitnesses on rumor accuracy
As rumors travel from person to person, information is lost during the transmissions. Discussion, however, increases retention of the original account and organizes later transmissions. This
Speaking order predicts memory conformity after accounting for exposure to misinformation
Evidence is provided of an association between speaking order and memory conformity, such that people who spoke first in a discussion were misled less often than people who did not.
The role of time delay in memory conformity
It turned out that an increase in the time between a discussion of the event and its recall would be accompanied by an increased in the number of errors suggesting memory conformity, and this effect was due to memory mechanisms.
Eyewitness Identification in Its Social Context


Memory conformity: exploring misinformation effects when presented by another person.
Two experiments demonstrate that post-event information, when delivered by another person, can affect people's memory reports and parallels with eyewitness testimony in the Oklahoma bombing case and implications for police interviewing more generally are discussed.
Say it to my face: examining the effects of socially encountered misinformation
Objectives. Errors in eyewitness accounts can occur when a witness comes into contact with post-event ‘misinformation’. A common way to encounter misinformation is through face-to-face interaction,
Postidentification Feedback Affects Real Eyewitnesses
The results show that postidentification feedback affects real eyewitnesses and highlight the importance of recording meta-memory variables before an eyewitness discovers whether he or she has identified the suspect.
Co-witness Information Can Have Immediate Effects on Eyewitness Memory Reports
Results have implications not only for the immediate effects on the accuracy of witnesses' memory reports, but also for the impact that even one such inaccurate report can have on the manner in which a case is investigated by the police or other authorities.
Changing the criterion for memory conformity in free recall and recognition
This work examines whether accurate, inaccurate, and suggested answers are affected similarly when the response criterion is varied and whether the level of secrecy in the participants’ responses is varied.
The effects of conformity on recognition judgements
The results suggest that responses from virtual confederate affect participants' performance in ways similar to actual confederates and that conforming to a virtual confederation's responses does appear to result in actual deficits in memory.
Planting misinformation in the human mind: a 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory.
This review of the field ends with a brief discussion of the newer work involving misinformation that has explored the processes by which people come to believe falsely that they experienced rich complex events that never, in fact, occurred.
The reality of repressed memories.
  • E. Loftus
  • Psychology
    The American psychologist
  • 1993
There has been a rise in reported memories of childhood sexual abuse that were allegedly repressed for many years, and people with recently unearthed memories are suing alleged perpetrators for events that happened 20, 30, even 40 or more years earlier.
Social contagion of memory
A new paradigm for studying false memories implanted by social influence, a process the authors call the social contagion of memory, is reported, where one person's memory can be infected by another person’s errors.