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Overcoming Misinformation Effects in Eyewitness Memory: Effects of Encoding Time and Event Cues

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Eyewitness memory is often distorted when misleading information is presented to subjects after encoding. Three experiments explored ways to overcome these misinformation effects. In Experiment 1, subjects viewed slides of a robbery, at a rate of four or seven seconds per slide. Five minutes later subjects were given a recognition test with few (1-3) or numerous (6-13) event cues. Providing numerous retrieval cues improved overall performance, but did not reduce the effects of misinformation. W ith week-long delays (Experiment 2) numerous retrieval cues did eliminate misinformation effects, but only when subjects viewed slides at the slower rate (seven seconds per slide). Experiment 3 essentially replicated this pattern, using a modified test to eliminate any biasing effects of distractors. Given adequate encoding and numerous retrieval cues, misinformation effects were eliminated, suggesting that under some conditions misinformation makes event memory inaccessible, but not unavailable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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