Date of Award
MS Experimental Psychology
Marianne Lloyd, Ph.D.
Amy Hunter, Ph.D.
Leamarie Gordon, Ph.D.
eyewitness memory, stress, RES, misinformation effect
Research has demonstrated that when witnesses are immediately questioned following an event, they can become even more susceptible to later presented misinformation and false memory production. This test-enhanced memory impairment is known as retrieval-enhanced suggestibility (RES; Chan, Thomas, & Bulevich, 2009). Research has also demonstrated that the experience of stress produces a reduced misinformation effect and better ability to discriminate accurate from inaccurate information (Nitschke et al., 2019). The primary goal of the current study was to explore the effects of stress and repeated testing on misinformation susceptibility in the RES paradigm. Participants engaged in an eyewitness memory paradigm in which half were tested immediately following witnessing an original event and prior to receiving a post-event narrative that contained misinformation. Following narrative presentation, half of the participants completed a mental arithmetic test under time pressure with negative feedback. All participants then completed a final memory test assessing their memory for details of the original event. Contrary to my original hypothesis, I did not find an interaction between stress and repeated testing on accurate recall or misinformation production on the final memory test. However, I replicated the RES effect in that participants who took an immediate memory test were much more likely to report misleading details from the narrative compared to single test participants on the final memory test. Additionally, I found that post-event narrative sentences containing misinformation took significantly longer to process than control sentences. Importantly, this effect was larger for repeated compared to single testing. The results suggest that attention to misleading post-event details is an important factor moderating the RES effect. Future research should aim to employ a more stressful task or examine individual differences in stress levels in order to determine whether stress negates the effects of repeated testing in the RES paradigm.
Capriglione, Amanda, "Stress and Retrieval-Enhanced Suggestibility" (2022). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 2984.