Memory at the Sharp End: The Costs of Remembering With Others in Forensic Contexts

Hope, Lorraine and Gabbert, Fiona. 2019. Memory at the Sharp End: The Costs of Remembering With Others in Forensic Contexts. Topics in Cognitive Science, 11(4), pp. 609-626. ISSN 1756-8757 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In many applied contexts where accurate and reliable information informs operational decision-making, emergency response resource allocation, efficient investigation, judicial process and, ultimately, the delivery of justice, the costs of unfettered conversational remembering can be high. To date, research has demonstrated that conversations between co-witnesses in the immediate aftermath of witnessed events and co-witness retellings of witness events often impair both the quality and quantity of information reported subsequently. Given the largely negative impact of conversational remembering on the recall of both individual witnesses and groups of witnesses in this context, this review explores the reasons why these costs occur, the conditions under which costs are exacerbated, and how, in practical terms, the costs can be reduced in order to maximise the accuracy and completeness of witness accounts.

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Additional Information:

This first author’s work in writing this article was partly funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (ESRC Award: ES/N009614/1).


Memory, Eyewitness, Conformity, Investigative, interviewing, Suggestibility, Law enforcement, Police Investigations

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20 April 2018Accepted
2 August 2018Published Online
October 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

07 Aug 2018 11:45

Last Modified:

13 Apr 2021 15:15

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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