Providing eyewitnesses with initial retrieval support: what works at immediate and subsequent recall?

Alana C. Krix, Melanie Sauerland, Fiona Gabbert, Lorraine Hope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

247 Downloads (Pure)


The effect of retrieval support on eyewitness recall was investigated in two experiments. Based on the outshining hypothesis, Experiment 1 tested whether retrieval support enhances witness performance (compared to free recall) especially when witnessing conditions are suboptimal (e.g., because witnesses were distracted during the crime). Eighty-eight participants watched a videotaped crime with either full or divided attention and subsequently received retrieval support with the Self-Administered Interview© (SAI) or completed a free recall (FR). One week later (Time 2 – T2) all participants completed a second FR. Unexpectedly, retrieval support did not lead to better memory performance than FR under divided attention conditions, suggesting that retrieval support is not effective to overcome adverse effects of divided attention. Moreover, presence of retrieval support at Time 1 (T1) had no effect on memory performance at T2. Experiment 2 (N = 81) tested the hypothesis that these T2-results were due to a reporting issue undermining the memory-preserving effect of T1-retrieval support by manipulating retrieval support (SAI vs. FR) at T1 and T2. As expected, T1-retrieval support led to increased accuracy at T2. Thus, the beneficial value of T1-retrieval support seems greatest with high-quality T2-interviews. Interviewers should consider this when planning a subsequent interview.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1027
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Issue number10
Early online date3 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Providing eyewitnesses with initial retrieval support: what works at immediate and subsequent recall?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this