The effectiveness of eye-closure in repeated interviews
Version of Record online: 18 FEB 2013
© 2013 The British Psychological Society
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 282–295, September 2014
How to Cite
Vredeveldt, A., Baddeley, A. D. and Hitch, G. J. (2014), The effectiveness of eye-closure in repeated interviews. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 19: 282–295. doi: 10.1111/lcrp.12013
- Issue online: 15 AUG 2014
- Version of Record online: 18 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 30 MAY 2012
- University of York departmental studentship
Closing the eyes during recall can help witnesses remember more about a witnessed event. This study examined the effectiveness of eye-closure in a repeated recall paradigm with immediate free recall followed 1 week later by both free and cued recall. We examined whether eye-closure was more or less effective during the second free-recall attempt compared with the first, whether eye-closure during the first recall attempt had an impact on subsequent free- and cued-recall performance, and whether eye-closure during the second free recall could facilitate the recall of new, previously unreported, information (reminiscence).
Participants witnessed a videotaped event and participated in a first free-recall attempt (with eyes open or closed) a few minutes later. After a week, they provided another free recall, followed by a cued-recall interview (with eyes open or closed).
Eye-closure during the first free-recall attempt had no significant effect on performance during any of the recall attempts. However, eye-closure during the second session increased the amount of correct visual information reported in that session by 36.7% in free recall and by 35.3% in cued recall, without harming testimonial accuracy. Crucially, eye-closure also facilitated the recall of new, previously unreported visual information.
The findings extend previous research in showing that the eye-closure instruction can still be effective when witnesses are interviewed repeatedly, and that it can facilitate the elicitation of new information. Thus, the eye-closure instruction constitutes a simple and time-efficient interview tool for police interviewers.