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Memory conformity in eyewitness situations:: Casual inferences and schematic gap-filling errors. Shared memories, shared beliefs: The formation and use of joint representations in social interactions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2007 (English)In: EAESP, Small Group Meeting, Rapallo, Italien, 2007, 2007Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Previous research has shown that individuals who witness and then discuss a crime sequence, can influence each other’s memories of the event (Gabbert, Memon, & Allan, 2003; Gabbert, Memon, & Wright, 2006). It is also known that people may mistakenly infer having seen a cause if they have been presented with the effect of this cause, and that they often make memory errors based on schematic knowledge (Hannigan & Reinitz, 2001). The current study investigates whether conformity effects in eyewitness memory may be moderated by effect presentation and schematic relevance of the witnessed information. In the study, members of a dyad each watch a different video of the same event, a potential theft, where the prime suspect is a man present at the crime scene. Each video version contains unique details seen only by one of the witnesses in the dyad. One member of the dyad actually sees the man steal (the cause), whereas the other witness does not see the theft. Half of the witnesses who don’t see the man steal, see him with the stolen item (effect) and the other half does not. Participants either witness a suspect with a Scandinavian (low schema relevance), or with a southern, Middle eastern appearance (high schema relevance). In one condition, the dyads are encouraged to discuss the event before performing an individual recall test, while in a control condition dyads are not allowed to discuss the event prior to recall. The extent to which witnesses mistakenly remember having seen the theft as a function of activity before recall (discussion vs. no discussion), effect scene presentation, and of the schema relevance of information is examined. Potential mediators of conformity, such as trust in the other witness, and Need to belong will also be investigated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
eyewitness memory, schematic errors, cowitness
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14771OAI: diva2:181291
Available from: 2008-11-03 Created: 2008-11-03Bibliographically approved

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Lindholm, Torun
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