Experimental and meta-analytic evidence that source variability of misinformation does not increase eyewitness suggestibility independently of repetition of misinformation

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2023-08-24
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O'Donnell, Rachel
Foster, Jeffrey L
Garry, Maryanne
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Frontiers
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Psychology
The Department of Psychology may prepare students with a liberal study, or for work in academia or professional education for law or health-services. Graduates will be able to apply the scientific method to human behavior and mental processes, as well as have ample knowledge of psychological theory and method.
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Considerable evidence has shown that repeating the same misinformation increases its influence (i.e., repetition effects). However, very little research has examined whether having multiple witnesses present misinformation relative to one witness (i.e., source variability) increases the influence of misinformation. In two experiments, we orthogonally manipulated repetition and source variability. Experiment 1 used written interview transcripts to deliver misinformation and showed that repetition increased eyewitness suggestibility, but source variability did not. In Experiment 2, we increased source saliency by delivering the misinformation to participants via videos instead of written interviews, such that each witness was visibly and audibly distinct. Despite this stronger manipulation, there was no effect of source variability in Experiment 2. In addition, we reported a meta-analysis (k = 19) for the repeated misinformation effect and a small-scale meta-analysis (k = 8) for the source variability effect. Results from these meta-analyses were consistent with the results of our individual experiments. Altogether, our results suggest that participants respond based on retrieval fluency rather than source-specifying information.
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This article is published as O’Donnell R, Chan JCK, Foster JL and Garry M (2023) Experimental and meta-analytic evidence that source variability of misinformation does not increase eyewitness suggestibility independently of repetition of misinformation. Front. Psychol. 14:1201674. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1201674. Posted with permission.
© 2023 O’Donnell, Chan, Foster and Garry. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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