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Language and eyewitness suggestibility
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Number of Authors: 32019 (English)In: Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, ISSN 1544-4759, E-ISSN 1544-4767Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

During forensic interviews, eyewitnesses are to retrieve correct information from memory. Cognitive load should be high, leading to risks of giving in to suggestive questions and difficulties in memory retrieval generally. Testifying in a non-native vs. native language may require even more cognitive effort due to the need to inhibit the interference of the native language. Such witnesses may also be more motivated to appear credible because they often belong to ethnic outgroups relative to forensic professionals, risking more scepticism. In this study, Swedish participants (N = 51) reported their memory of a simulated crime event either in English (non-native language) or in Swedish (native language) and were tested for suggestibility and accuracy. Results showed that English-speaking witnesses yielded to more suggestive questions, perceived themselves as less credible but were equally accurate. Results suggest that testifying in a non-native language is taxing cognitive resources, in turn increasing suggestibility and suboptimal memory search.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
accuracy, cognitive load, credibility, eyewitness, suggestibility
National Category
Law Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171644DOI: 10.1002/jip.1529ISI: 000478432800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-171644DiVA, id: diva2:1344818
Available from: 2019-08-22 Created: 2019-08-22 Last updated: 2019-09-11

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