The effects of alcohol on crime-related memories: a field study

K. van Oorsouw, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This field study investigated to what extent memory of criminally relevant details is affected at (close to) zero (MBAC?=?0.00%), moderate (MBAC?=?0.06%), and high (MBAC?=?0.16%) levels of alcohol intoxication. Participants (N?=?76) were approached in bars and were invited to watch a mock crime from a perpetrator perspective. We also measured their blood alcohol concentration levels. After 35?days, when participants were sober, they underwent a free and cued recall task about the mock crime. Compared with sober controls, both moderately and highly intoxicated individuals were less complete when recollecting crime details, recalling up to 33% fewer correct details. Overall, intoxicated participants were less accurate during the cued recall task (i.e. they produced more errors) relative to sober participants. These accuracy effects were dose-dependent for cued recall of salient features. Implications for police interrogations of defendants are discussed. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Keywords

  • SEXUAL DECISION-MAKING
  • AMNESIA
  • INTOXICATION
  • BLACKOUT
  • SUGGESTIBILITY
  • IDENTIFICATION
  • EXPECTANCIES
  • PERFORMANCE
  • DRINKING

Cite this

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title = "The effects of alcohol on crime-related memories: a field study",
abstract = "This field study investigated to what extent memory of criminally relevant details is affected at (close to) zero (MBAC?=?0.00{\%}), moderate (MBAC?=?0.06{\%}), and high (MBAC?=?0.16{\%}) levels of alcohol intoxication. Participants (N?=?76) were approached in bars and were invited to watch a mock crime from a perpetrator perspective. We also measured their blood alcohol concentration levels. After 35?days, when participants were sober, they underwent a free and cued recall task about the mock crime. Compared with sober controls, both moderately and highly intoxicated individuals were less complete when recollecting crime details, recalling up to 33{\%} fewer correct details. Overall, intoxicated participants were less accurate during the cued recall task (i.e. they produced more errors) relative to sober participants. These accuracy effects were dose-dependent for cued recall of salient features. Implications for police interrogations of defendants are discussed. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.",
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The effects of alcohol on crime-related memories: a field study. / van Oorsouw, K.; Merckelbach, H.L.G.J.

In: Applied Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 1, 01.01.2012, p. 82-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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KW - BLACKOUT

KW - SUGGESTIBILITY

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KW - EXPECTANCIES

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