Can the Cognitive Interview Reduce Memory Conformity in an Interview Context?
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.
KeywordsMemory 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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Fisher RP, Geiselman RE (1992) Memory enhancing techniques for investigative interviewing: the cognitive interview. Springfield III: Charles C. ThomasGoogle Scholar
- Fisher RP, Geiselman R, Raymond DS, Jurkevich LM (1987) Enhancing enhanced eyewitness memory: refining the cognitive interview. J Police Sci Adm 15(4):291–297Google Scholar
- Gabbert F, Hope L (2013) Suggestibility and memory conformity. In: Ridley A, Gabbert F, La Rooy D (eds) Suggestibility in legal contexts: psychological research and forensic implications. Wiley-Blackwell, London ISBN 978-0-470-66369-1Google Scholar
- Geiselman RE, Fisher RP (2014) Interviewing witnesses and victims. In: Investigative interviewing: handbook of best practices. Thomson Reuters Publishers, TorontoGoogle Scholar
- Geiselman RE, Fisher RP, Firstenberg I, Hutton LA, Sullivan S, Avetissian I, Prosk A (1984) Enhancement of eyewitness memory: an empirical evaluation of the cognitive interview. J Police Sci Adm 12:74–80Google Scholar
- Geiselman RE, Fisher RP, Cohen G, Holland H, Surtes L (1986) Eyewitness responses to leading and misleading questions under cognitive interview. J Police Sci Adm 14:31–39Google Scholar
- Hope L, Gabbert F (2018) Memory at the sharp end: the costs of remembering with others in forensic contexts. Top Cogn Sci https://doi-org.insb.bib.cnrs.fr/10.1111/tops.12357
- Launay C, Py J (2017) Capturing the scene: efficacy test of the re-enactment investigative instruction. J Forensic Pract 19(3):174–189 https://doi-org.insb.bib.cnrs.fr/10.1108/JFP-02-2015-0012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Paulo RM, Albuquerque PB, Vitorino F, Bull R (2017) Enhancing the cognitive interview with an alternative procedure to witness-compatible questioning: category clustering recall. Psychol Crime Law 23(10):967–982 https://doi-org.insb.bib.cnrs.fr/10.1080/1068316X.2017.1351966 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Reyna VF, Titcomb AL (1997) Constraints on the suggestibility of eyewitness testimony: a fuzzy-trace theory analysis. In: Payne DG, Conrad FG (eds) Intersections in basic and applied memory research. Erlbaum, Mahwah, pp 154–174Google Scholar
- Roediger HL, Putnam AL, Smith MA (2011) Ten benefits of testing and their applications to educational practice. In: Mestre J, Ross B (eds) Psychology of learning and motivation: cognition in education. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 1–36Google Scholar
- Sherif M (1936) The psychology of social norms. Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Tulving E (1974) Cue dependent forgetting. Am Sci 62:74–82Google Scholar