The benefits of a self-generated cue mnemonic for timeline interviewing

Feni Kontogianni, Lorraine Hope, Paul J. Taylor, Aldert Vrij, Fiona Gabbert

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Obtaining detailed accounts from individuals who have witnessed complex events under challenging encoding conditions presents a difficulty for investigators. In the present research, participants (N = 132) reported their recall of an event witnessed under full or divided attention using a timeline reporting format. Extending the timeline technique to assess the relative performance of two additional mnemonics—self-generated cues (SGC) and other-generated cues (OGC)—participants provided an account across three timeline reporting conditions comparing the efficacy of SGC, OGC, and no cues (control). Mock-witnesses using SGC provided more correct details than mock-witnesses in the OGC or no-cues conditions, under full but not under divided attention conditions. There was no difference between cue conditions with respect to the number of errors reported across attention conditions. Findings show SGC to be a promising addition to interviewing techniques as a retrieval support mnemonic with implications for applied contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-461
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number3
Early online date21 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • RCUK
  • ESRC
  • ES/N009614/1


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