Alcohol intoxication impairs eyewitness memory and increases suggestibility: Two field studies

Kim van Oorsouw*, Nick J. Broers, Melanie Sauerland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Two field studies tested the effect of alcohol intoxication on memory for a live interaction at immediate, delayed, and repeated testing. In Study 1 (N=86), one researcher presented bar tenants with (misleading) questions regarding a preceding interaction with another researcher. One week later, participants' memory was tested again. Study 2 (N=189) added a delayed-testing only condition. We hypothesized intoxication to impair memory and enhance suggestibility and explored whether time of testing affected the outcome on these variables. In Study 1, intoxication reduced completeness and increased suggestibility. In Study 2, intoxication reduced completeness and increased suggestibility in delayed-only and repeated testing, compared with immediate testing. Sober participants benefited from repeated testing in Study 2, but not Study 1. Findings lend support for consolidation and decay theory and suggest that immediate (intoxicated) testing is preferable over delayed-only testing. Findings provide little support for alcohol myopia theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-455
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • alcohol myopia
  • consolidation
  • memory accuracy
  • memory completeness
  • misinformation acceptance
  • SIMULATING AMNESIA
  • EMOTIONAL EVENTS
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • WITNESSES
  • CRIME
  • RETRIEVAL
  • REMINISCENCE
  • HYPERMNESIA
  • BLACKOUTS
  • ATTENTION

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