Repeated recall, retention interval and the accuracy–confidence relation in eyewitness memory

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Abstract

People can evaluate the quality of their memories by giving a confidence judgement concerning the perceived accuracy of what is recalled or recognised. Even when people strive for accuracy and claim great confidence they may, however, not remember what actually happened. Both accuracy and confidence can be affected by various factors. In this study, we investigated the effects of retention interval (either 1, 3 or 5 weeks delay before first testing) and of repeated questioning (initial recall after 1 week, repeated after 3 and 5 weeks) on accuracy and confidence of recall of a naturalistic videotaped event. Longer retention intervals before initial testing resulted in lower accuracy and lower confidence scores. Repeated recall, however, had little effect on accuracy and confidence. Relatively high accuracy–confidence correlations were found in all delay and repetition conditions. Practical implications of these findings for questioning eyewitnesses are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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