The effects of co-witness discussion on confidence and precision in eyewitness memory reports

Joanne Rechdan, Lorraine Hope, James Sauer, Melanie Sauerland, James Ost, Harald Merckelbach

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Abstract

We examined the influence of co-witness discussion on the meta-cognitive regulation of memory reports. Participants (N = 92) watched a crime video. Later, a confederate confidently agreed with (gave confirming feedback), disagreed with (gave disconfirming feedback), or gave no feedback (control) regarding participants’ answers to questions about the video. Participants who received disconfirming feedback reported fewer fine-grain details than participants in the confirming and control conditions on a subsequent, individual recall test for a different question set. Unexpectedly, this decrease in fine-grain reporting was not accompanied by a decrease in participants’ confidence in the accuracy of their fine-grain responses. These results indicate that receiving social comparative feedback about one’s memory performance can affect rememberers’ metamemorial control decisions, and potentially decrease the level of detail they volunteer in later memory reports. Further research is needed to assess whether these results replicate under different experimental conditions, and to explore the effects of social influences on metamemory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMemory
Early online date13 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 13 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • metacognition
  • eyewitness memory
  • social influence
  • co-witness discussion
  • memory reporting

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