Eyewitness memory of a supermarket robbery: A case study of accuracy and confidence after 3 months

G. Odinot, G. Wolters, P.J. van Koppen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In this case study, 14 witnesses of an armed robbery were interviewed after 3 months. Security camera recordings were used to assess memory accuracy. Of all information that could be remembered about 84% was correct. Although accurately recalled information had a higher confidence level on average than inaccurately recalled information, the mean accuracy-confidence correlation was rather modest (0.38). These findings indicate that confidence is not a reliable predictor of accuracy. A higher level of self-reported, post-event thinking about the incident was associated with higher confidence levels, while a higher level of self-reported emotional impact was associated with greater accuracy. A potential source of (mis)information, a reconstruction of the robbery broadcasted on TV, did not alter the original memories of the witnesses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-514
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Volume33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

Cite this