Exploring cultural differences in eyewitness accounts using a self-administered reporting technique

Lorraine Hope, Feni Kontogianni, Joanne Rechdan, Lucy Tavitian-Emladjian, Noura Anwar Soubra, Dayana Mazen Abu Marak Brome, Violet Gibson, Nkansah Anakwah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a globalised world, investigators often interact with witnesses from diverse cultural backgrounds. To date, there is a wealth of research on the use of evidence-based practices to facilitate recall and reporting in information elicitation contexts. However, research has been primarily conducted with participants from western (and typically individualistic) cultural contexts, ignoring the potential effects of cultural communication norms on memory reporting among other factors. We compared reports provided by two samples that contrast on the individualist-collectivist dimension (UK vs Lebanon). Participants (N = 118) witnessed a staged crime event and provided an account (in their native language) using a self-administered Timeline Technique or a Free Recall format, before responding to cued recall questions. As in previous research, UK participants reported more correct information when using the Timeline Technique compared to free recall. Contrary to hypotheses, participants in Lebanon provided a similar amount of information across reporting format conditions. Overall, Lebanese participants provided fewer correct details both in spontaneous self-administered reporting formats and in cued recall, compared to their UK counterparts. These findings have implications for information-gathering practices in cross-cultural interactions and highlight the (potential) need to modify existing techniques for different cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Early online date21 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 21 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • culture
  • interviewing
  • self-administered interview
  • timeline technique
  • cross-cultural communication
  • eyewitness memory
  • UKRI
  • ESRC
  • ES/N009614/1

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