Reducing misinformation effects while maintaining accurate recall in eyewitness memory

Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of Psychology


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A witness to a crime may mistakenly recall the events and relay those misrepresentations to their co-witnesses. This becomes problematic when witnesses provide testimonies to police officers; witnesses are likely to include the misinformation obtained during the discussion in their report. Previous studies attempted to reduce the misinformation effect using warnings, however, this methodology also reduced the amount of accurate information recalled, causing a tainted truth effect. In this study, participants witnessed a simulated crime, received post-event information (PEI) in the form of a narrative, then the warning, followed by a memory test. Optimum testimony was achieved by providing non-discrediting warnings about possible inaccuracies in the co-witness's report. The warning reduced the misinformation effect observed in participants who received misleading information. Participants who received all accurate PEI had similar accuracy rates in the warning and no warning conditions, displaying a reduced tainted truth effect.