AP-LS / EAPL / ANZAPPL 2011 abstract
Closing the Eyes Benefits Memory by a Combination of Concentration and Visualisation
Annelies Vredeveldt, Alan D. Baddeley, & Graham J. Hitch; University of York
We investigated why closing the eyes benefits eyewitness memory. We examined the general distraction and modality-specific interference hypotheses, testing 80 participants in four interview conditions: eyes closed, blank screen, visual interference, and auditory interference. First, recall was significantly better in the no-interference compared to the interference conditions, providing evidence for the role of concentration in the eye-closure effect. Second, visual and auditory interference selectively impaired memory for information presented in the same modality, supporting the role of visual and auditory imagery. The findings suggest that recall of gist is robust, whereas detailed recall is prone to general and modality-specific disruptions.