The effects of alcohol and co-witness information on memory reports: a field study

Georgina Bartlett*, Ian P. Albery, Daniel Frings, Julie Gawrylowicz

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Rationale: Witnesses who discuss a crime together may report details that they did not see themselves but heard about from their co-witness. Co-witness information may have beneficial and harmful effects on memory accuracy depending on whether the information was correct or incorrect.

    Objectives: Given the prevalence of intoxicated witnesses, it is imperative to understand how alcohol influences this effect.

    Methods: The present study asked pubgoers (n = 67) at varying levels of intoxication to recall a mock crime video after having also watched a video witness statement containing both correct and false information.

    Results: Increased intoxication was associated with decreased confidence, completeness and accuracy, but no increased tendency to report false information. Exposure to incorrect post-event information (PEI) can lead to the incorporation of incorrect information, whereas exposure to correct PEI increased accuracy, regardless of individuals’ alcohol intoxication status.

    Conclusions: Thus, whilst discussion and intoxication can negatively impact eyewitness memory, discussion may also have benefits for both sober and intoxicated witnesses.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2945-2953
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychopharmacology
    Volume239
    Issue number9
    Early online date28 Jun 2022
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2022

    Keywords

    • Eyewitness memory
    • Intoxication
    • Memory conformity
    • Source monitoring

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