Facilitating recall and particularisation of repeated events in adults using a multi-method interviewing format

Kontogianni, Feni; Rubinova, Eva; Hope, Lorraine; Taylor, Paul J.; Vrij, Aldert and Gabbert, Fiona. 2021. Facilitating recall and particularisation of repeated events in adults using a multi-method interviewing format. Memory, 29(4), pp. 471-485. ISSN 0965-8211 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Reports about repeated experiences tend to include more schematic information than information about specific instances. However, investigators in both forensic and intelligence settings typically seek specific over general information. We tested a multi-method interviewing format (MMIF) to facilitate recall and particularisation of repeated events through the use of the self-generated cues mnemonic, the timeline technique, and follow-up questions. Over separate sessions, 150 adult participants watched four scripted films depicting a series of meetings in which a terrorist group planned attacks and planted explosive devices. For half of our sample, the third witnessed event included two deviations (one new detail and one changed detail). A week later, participants provided their account using the MMIF, the timeline technique with self-generated cues, or a free recall format followed by open-ended questions. As expected, more information was reported overall in the MMIF condition compared to the other format conditions, for two types of details, correct details, and correct gist details. The reporting of internal intrusions was comparable across format conditions. Contrary to hypotheses, the presence of deviations did not benefit recall or source monitoring. Our findings have implications for information elicitation in applied settings and for future research on adults’ retrieval of repeated events.

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Additional Information:

This work was funded by the Centre of Research and Evidence on Security Threats (ESRC Award: ES/N009614/1) and the University of Portsmouth as a postgraduate bursary for the doctoral work of the first author; Economic and Social Research Council.

Supplemental data for this article can be accessed https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2021.1903508


Repeated events; memory retrieval; timeline technique; self-generated cues; deviation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit


10 March 2021Accepted
24 March 2021Published Online

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Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2021 12:40

Last Modified:

02 Jul 2021 12:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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