Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 381–391 | Cite as

Can the Cognitive Interview Reduce Memory Conformity in an Interview Context?

  • Magali GinetEmail author
  • Nadia Chakroun
  • Cindy Colomb
  • Fanny Verkampt


Eyewitness testimony may be contaminated by event-related information shared by other witnesses. The present study aimed to assess the influence of a modified cognitive interview (MCI) on the detrimental effects of what is called memory conformity. Participants watched a videotaped staged event. Immediately after this, they answered 22 questions about the video out loud, either alone or with a confederate who intentionally introduced false information in her answers (i.e., 6 incorrect and 12 confabulated details). A week later, participants were interviewed individually about the video using either an MCI or a structured (control) interview. Results suggested that participants recalled some of the incorrect and confabulated items suggested by the confederate. Those interviewed with the MCI (vs. SI) also reported fewer incorrect details but more confabulated details previously introduced by the confederate. The potential social and cognitive mechanisms underlying the influence of the MCI protocol on the damaging effects of prior co-witness discussions are examined.


Memory conformity Informational and normative influences Source monitoring Modified cognitive interview Adult eyewitnesses 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, LAPSCOUniversité Clermont AuvergneClermont-FerrandFrance
  2. 2.CLLE, CNRS, UT2JUniversité de ToulouseToulouseFrance

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