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Memory blindness: Altered memory reports lead to distortion in eyewitness memory

  • Author(s): Cochran, KJ
  • Greenspan, RL
  • Bogart, DF
  • Loftus, EF
  • et al.
Abstract

Choice blindness refers to the finding that people can often be misled about their own self-reported choices. However, little research has investigated the more long-term effects of choice blindness. We examined whether people would detect alterations to their own memory reports, and whether such alterations could influence participants' memories. Participants viewed slideshows depicting crimes, and then either reported their memories for episodic details of the event (Exp. 1) or identified a suspect from a lineup (Exp. 2). Then we exposed participants to manipulated versions of their memory reports, and later tested their memories a second time. The results indicated that the majority of participants failed to detect the misinformation, and that exposing witnesses to misleading versions of their own memory reports caused their memories to change to be consistent with those reports. These experiments have implications for eyewitness memory.

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