Repeated recall of repeated events: accuracy and consistency

Eva Rubínová*, Hartmut Blank, Jonathan Koppel, Eliška Dufková, James Ost

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In both casual conversations and interview settings, people may be required to provide details of instances that were similar to other experiences. When this happens repeatedly, consistency across reports is often taken as a proxy for credibility. However, processes of schema formation and interference due to similarity make recall and accurate source attribution of details to specific instances challenging. We investigated the accuracy and consistency of recall in these contexts in a re-analysis of five studies. Confusions of details were widespread (1) across instances—participants frequently attributed the origin of details to incorrect instances, but also (2) across repeated retrieval attempts—participants frequently changed parts of their reports. There was, however, a clear pattern of primacy and recency effects: recall of the first and final instances was more accurate and consistent than recall of the middle instances. We discuss potential mechanisms underlying these effects as well as their practical implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number2
Early online date17 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • Repeated events
  • repeated recall
  • internal intrusions
  • source monitoring
  • recall consistency
  • recall accuracy


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