The influence of guided memory and structured interview techniques on eyewitness verbal descriptions after short and long delays

Laura Ann Zimmerman, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Eyewitness accounts of criminal events play a vital part in solving crimes, yet research shows that witness descriptions are usually incomplete and often erroneous. Interview techniques have been developed in an attempt to increase the amount and accuracy of witness descriptive reports. Two interview techniques will be assessed: the Guided memory Interview technique, which relies on context reinstatement techniques to enhance memory, and the Structured Interview which focuses on using social communication techniques to enhance memory. These interviews will be tested after short delays and after long delays between stimulus event and interview. One hundred twenty one University of El Paso at El Paso students participated in this study by witnessing a live simulated crime event. The guided memory technique was predicted to be more effective than the structured interview overall, but after a short delay the structured interview was predicted to be just as effective as the guided memory technique at eliciting accurate details while the guided memory technique was predicted to be more effective after a longer delay. Results showed participants provided more correct and subjective information with the guided memory technique than with the structured interview, without a significant difference in error rates. But, the difference in overall accuracy between the two interview types was not significant. There were no differences found for time delays. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Criminology and Penology|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Zimmerman, Laura Ann, "The influence of guided memory and structured interview techniques on eyewitness verbal descriptions after short and long delays" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAIEP10621.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAIEP10621

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