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Nicola Lonsdale

Co-witness suggestibility: The role of confidence in the consolidation of eye-witness memory.


Discipline/professional area

Outline of research project

Exposure to co-witness accounts is an important source of post-event misinformation in eyewitness testimony, leading to social contagion for inaccuracies in recall. Perceived co-witness confidence is one factor that has been found to reliably increase suggestibility to a co-witness account, and yet, counterintuitively, with no confidence-accuracy association. My research aims to investigate whether and how eyewitnesses' confidence in their own testimony mediates suggestibility to a co-witness account, and what protective functions this may provide against the influence of co-witness confidence. The co-witness discussion paradigm will be used, in conjunction with behavioural measures, to track mediating factors for suggestibility in interactions between co-witness dyads, including confidence, source monitoring, repeated questioning and the effect of narrative recollection on consolidation and reconsolidation of memory for the original event.

Key references

Chan, J. C. K., & Langley, M. M. (2011). Paradoxical effects of testing: Retrieval enhances both accurate recall and suggestibility in eyewitnesses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37(1), 248-255.

Gabbert, F., Memon, A., & Allan, K. (2003). Memory conformity: Can eyewitnesses influence each other's memories for an event? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17(5), 533-543.

Goodwin, K. A., Kukucka, J. P., & Hawks, I. M. (2013). Co‐witness confidence, conformity, and eyewitness memory: An examination of normative and informational social influences. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27(1), 91-100.

Hardt, O., Einarsson, E. Ö., & Nader, K. (2010). A bridge over troubled water: Reconsolidation as a link between cognitive and neuroscientific memory research traditions. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 141-167.

Wright, D. B., Memon, A., Skagerberg, E. M., & Gabbert, F. (2009). When eyewitnesses talk. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(3), 174-178.

Wright, D. B., Self, G., & Justice, C. (2000). Memory conformity: Exploring misinformation effects when presented by another person. British Journal of Psychology, 91(2), 189-202.

Director of studies
Dr David Reynolds

Dr Charlotte Coleman
Dr Lynne Barker

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