From the archive: ‘Memory conformity: Can eyewitnesses influence each other's memories for an event?’ by F. Gabbert, A. Memon, & K. Allan (2003). Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17, 533–543 with commentary

Authors

  • Nominated by Don Read – SARMAC Editor 2000–2004


Abstract

This paper established a new direction for researchers interested in the malleability of memory in a forensic context or eyewitness paradigm. The paper was the first to extend ‘misinformation’ effects established in controlled laboratory settings to witness reports following discussions with fellow witnesses. This was achieved within a relatively naturalistic situation and it persuasively demonstrated what had long been observed in the social psychological literature: that the opinions of others affect our behaviour but can also quite dramatically alter our reports as well as our beliefs and memories. When eyewitnesses comply with the reports of others in a social interaction, the longterm consequences for their recollections are clearly substantial. This paper has stimulated much research which has reinforced and extended the basic findings.

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