Retrieval Enhances Eyewitness Suggestibility to Misinformation in Free and Cued Recall
Immediately recalling a witnessed event can increase people’s susceptibility to later postevent misinformation. But this retrieval-enhanced suggestibility (RES) effect has been shown only when the initial recall test included specific questions that reappeared on the final test. Moreover, it is unclear whether this phenomenon is affected by the centrality of event details. These limitations make it difficult to generalize RES to criminal investigations, which often begin with free recall prior to more specific queries from legal officials and attorneys. In 3 experiments, we examined the influence of test formats (free recall vs. cued recall) and centrality of event details (central vs. peripheral) on RES. In Experiment 1, both the initial and final tests were cued recall. In Experiment 2, the initial test was free recall and the final test was cued recall. In Experiment 3, both the initial and final tests were free recall. Initial testing increased misinformation reporting on the final test for peripheral details in all experiments, but the effect was significant for central details only after aggregating the data from all 3 experiments. These results show that initial free recall can produce RES, and more broadly, that free recall can potentiate subsequent learning of complex prose materials. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
This is a manuscript of an article from Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 20 (2014): 81, doi:10.1037/xap0000001. Posted with permission. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.