“The weakest ink is stronger than the sharpest memory”: testing the effects of witness note taking and retention interval on eyewitness memory

Onwuegbusi, Tochukwu and Bull, Ray and UNSPECIFIED and UNSPECIFIED and UNSPECIFIED (2010) “The weakest ink is stronger than the sharpest memory”: testing the effects of witness note taking and retention interval on eyewitness memory. In: British Psychological Society Annual Conference, 14 - 16 April 2010, Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Objectives: The subject of eyewitness memory has been in the mainstream of empirical and theoretical activities in the discipline of forensic psychology with scholars devoting their time on devising a technique, tool, or approach for improving eyewitness memory. The present study examines the effects of note taking and retention interval on eyewitness memory.

Design: A 2 (witness note: note v no note) x 2 (retention interval: two days v one week) between group MANOVA factorial design was used in this study. The dependent variables are (a) eyewitness memory (verbal recall) measured in three categories: (i) correct (ii) incorrect (error) and (iii) confabulations and; (b) identification accuracy.

Methods: 40 students from various undergraduate disciplines volunteered to participate in the study. A three minute film depicting a bank robbery was shown to the participants. After watching the film, their memories for the event were tested in terms of verbal recall and identification of the perpetrator from the lineup.

Results: Using 2x2 MANOVA, the result shows that there is a multivariate difference between note and no note on the combined DVs, F (3, 34) =3.61; p=.023; Wilk’s Lamda=0.76; partial eta squared=0.24 with correct recall accounting for the significant difference, F (1,36) =10.62; p=.002; partial eta squared =0.23. There was no multivariate difference between two days and one week interval group on the combined DVs, F (3,34) =0.67; p=0.58; Wilk’s Lambda=0.94; partial eta squared=0.056. Furthermore, there was no significant interaction between witness note taking and retention interval on the combined DVs, F (3, 34) =0.29; p=0.84; Wilk’s Lambda=0.98; partial eta squared=0.025. The effects of note taking and retention interval on identification accuracy were also examined. The result of a 2x2 chisquare test showed no evidence of association between these two variables and identification accuracy. For participants instructed to re-read their notes, there was no correlation between reviewing own note and correct recall.

Conclusion: The results of the present study have shown that regardless of time interval, note taking can serve as a memory aid to eyewitness (es) of crime events. Note taking increases recall of correct information. However, it does not lead to increase in correct identification.

Keywords:Eyewitness memory, Retention interval, Forensic psychology, Note taking
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:30672
Deposited On:16 Mar 2018 15:27

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