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Co-Witness Confidence, Conformity, and Eyewitness Memory: An Examination of Normative and Informational Social Influences


Kerri A. Goodwin, PhD, Department of Psychology Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson, MD 21252, USA.



We explored conformity and co-witness confidence in eyewitness memory. Confederates provided misleading information and confidence ratings during a cued recall test, and participants publicly provided answers to this test in turn. Participants performed memory tests with a confederate, then completed individual memory tests. Results indicated that confederates who answered questions prior to participants impacted their public and private memory reports for accurate information but only impacted public reports for misleading information. Participants' confidence in their performance in the presence of a confederate mirrored the confederate's confidence levels, suggesting a confidence conformity effect. Results are explained in terms of differential effects of informational and normative influence for accuracy and confidence in co-witness memory reports. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.