Can mentally reinstating the context out loud benefit immediate and delayed memory recall in adult witnesses?

Ema Pereira*, Julie Gawrylowicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Objectives: Mental Context Reinstatement (MCR) is a cognitive mnemonic that increases memory recall across different age groups (Milne & Bull, 2002). MCR requires witnesses to reconstruct the experienced event in their minds before verbally recalling it. A shortcoming of MCR is that there is no way to control whether the interviewee is complying with the instructions and engaging in the activity. To overcome this, the current study investigated if reinstating the context aloud (aMCR) will be as beneficial as conventional MCR.

Design and method: We tested 70 adults in a between-subjects design using a mock-witness paradigm. Participants watched a video of a simulated car accident and were interviewed about it the following day and after a one-week delay. Half of the participants received aMCR and half traditional MCR instructions before recalling the event via free and cued recall tests. We also examined how comfortable participants felt when engaging in the different MCR versions and how they believed this mnemonic could improve their memory recall.

Results: A preliminary analyses of total number of items recalled showed no significant difference between aMCR and traditional MCR. Furthermore, participants felt equally comfortable during aMCR and MCR.

Conclusions: The preliminary results suggest that aMCR is as effective as the traditional method. This is promising, as aMCR has the benefit of verifying that the mnemonic is implemented by the witness in the manner intended by the interviewer. In addition, it might benefit specific witness populations, such as older adults, by encouraging more effortful retrieval.

Poster presented at the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iiiRG) Annual Conference 2022, Winchester, UK, 22/06/22 → 24/06/22 and the
Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP) Annual Conference 2022, Solihul, UK 14/06/22 → 16/06/22.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022
EventInternational Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iiiRG) Annual Conference 2022 - University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jun 202224 Jun 2022
Conference number: 13th


ConferenceInternational Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iiiRG) Annual Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleiiiRG 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Eyewitness memory
  • Mental context reinstatement
  • Investigative interview


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