Say it to my face: Examining the effects of socially encountered misinformation

Gabbert, Fiona; Memon, Amina; Allan, Kevin and Wright, Daniel. 2004. Say it to my face: Examining the effects of socially encountered misinformation. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 9(2), pp. 214-227. ISSN 1355-3259 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Objectives. Errors in eyewitness accounts can occur when a witness comes into contact with post-event ‘misinformation’. A common way to encounter misinformation is through face-to-face interaction, in particular, via conversation with other individuals who also witnessed the crime. The current research compares this kind of misinformation with the non-social post-event narrative method typically employed in laboratory studies.
Method. Young (17–33 years) and older (58–80 years) adults viewed a simulated crime event on video and were later exposed to four items of misinformation about it. The misinformation items were either introduced as part of a discussion about the event with a confederate or were embedded within a written narrative about the event that participants were asked to read. A questionnaire containing 20 items about the event was given to participants before and after the experimental manipulation.
Results. Participants were less accurate than controls on questionnaire items after encountering misinformation. More importantly, misinformation encountered socially was significantly more misleading than misinformation from a non-social source. This was true for both young and older adults.
Conclusion. Misinformation encountered socially produced more errors than misinformation from a non-social source. This finding has implications both for applied (forensic) and theoretical understanding of eyewitness memory.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit



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Date Deposited:

16 Jul 2015 12:45

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:09

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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