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Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 314–324 | Cite as

How Can We Help Witnesses to Remember More? It’s an (Eyes) Open and Shut Case

  • Timothy J. Perfect
  • Graham F. Wagstaff
  • Dawn Moore
  • Blake Andrews
  • Victoria Cleveland
  • Sarah Newcombe
  • Kelly-Ann Brisbane
  • Leanne Brown
Original Paper

Abstract

Five experiments tested the idea that instructing a witness to close their eyes during retrieval might increase retrieval success. In Experiment 1 participants watched a video, before a cued-recall test for which they were either instructed to close their eyes, or received no-instructions. Eye-closure led to an increase in correct cued-recall, with no increase in incorrect responses. Experiments 2–5 sought to test the generality of this effect over variations in study material (video or live interaction), test format (cued- or free-recall) and information modality (visual or auditory details recalled). Overall, eye-closure increased recall of both visual detail and auditory details, with no accompanying increase in recall of false details. Collectively, these data convincingly demonstrate the benefits of eye-closure as an aid to retrieval, and offer insight into why hypnosis, which usually involves eye-closure, may facilitate eyewitness recall.

Keywords

Eyewitness memory Eye-closure 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy J. Perfect
    • 1
  • Graham F. Wagstaff
    • 2
  • Dawn Moore
    • 1
  • Blake Andrews
    • 1
  • Victoria Cleveland
    • 1
  • Sarah Newcombe
    • 1
  • Kelly-Ann Brisbane
    • 1
  • Leanne Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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