Selective retrieval and induced forgetting in eyewitness memory



This study analyses retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) in eyewitness memory. Selective retrieval of specific information about an event could cause eyewitnesses to forget related contents. Based on a video of a man being robbed while withdrawing money from a cash machine, we examined the effects of partial retrieval on the most relevant aspects of the event: actions (Experiment 1) and offender characteristics (Experiment 2), in both immediate and long-term recall (24 hours). In both experiments long-term recall was a replica of immediate recall for correct information as well as errors. The effects of partial retrieval practice were also repeated in long-term recall. Conventional RIF was found for offender characteristics but selective retrieval of the actions of the event produced no comparable effect. It is assumed that the organisation and integration of the actions of the event protected them from RIF. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.