EAPL 2009 abstract

The Benefits of Eye-Closure on Eyewitness Memory

Vredeveldt, A., Baddeley, A.D., & Hitch, G.J.

Recent findings by Perfect et al. (2008) indicate that eye-closure during investigative interviews benefits eyewitness memory. However, the role of modality in this eye-closure effect has not been firmly established yet. In line with previous research on modality-specific interference, we expected that eye-closure would benefit eyewitness memory only for visual details of the witnessed event. We extended previous research by investigating memory for an emotional rather than a neutral event, and found that eye-closure at retrieval significantly increased correct recall and decreased incorrect recall for visual details of the witnessed event, but did not affect memory for auditory details. Findings are explained in terms of a reduction in visual interference. Further research will investigate whether the modality-specific interference effect extends to auditory interference: will ‘ear-closure’ during the eyewitness interview benefit memory for auditory, but not visual, details of the witnessed event?