An experimental investigation of the misinformation effect in crime-related amnesia claims

Ivan Mangiulli*, Henry Otgaar, Antonietta Curci, Marko Jelicic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research suggests that both internal (i.e., lying) and external (i.e., misinformation) factors can affect memory for a crime. We aimed to explore the effects of post‐event misinformation on crime‐related amnesia claims. We showed participants a mock crime and asked them to either simulate amnesia (simulators) or confess to it (confessors). Next, some participants were provided with misinformation. Finally, all participants were requested to genuinely recollect the crime. Overall, simulators reported less correct information than confessors. Moreover, these two groups were equally vulnerable to misinformation. In addition, exploratory analyses on strategies adopted by simulators revealed that those who previously, mostly omitted information while simulating amnesia exhibited the lowest amount of correct details. Simulators who instead used a mixed strategy disclosed more fabricated memory errors. Findings suggest that legal professionals and jurors should take into account that even offenders, irrespective of confessing or simulating memory loss for a crime, can be susceptible to post‐event misinformation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1100
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date8 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • crime-related amnesia
  • memory errors
  • misinformation
  • mock crime
  • simulating


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