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Do reminders of the crime reverse the memory-undermining effect of simulating amnesia?

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Abstract

Research shows that simulating amnesia impairs actual memory for a mock crime. Lack of rehearsal has been suggested as the most likely explanation for this finding because feigning amnesia is linked to reduced thinking about the offence. We investigated whether reminders about the crime could reverse the memory-undermining effect of simulation. In two studies, participants watched a video of a violent crime. After, they were asked to either simulate amnesia or confess the crime. During the week between the first and second memory test phase, participants were provided with reminders of the crime in two different modalities. In Study 1 (pilot), participants received frames of the mock crime video via WhatsApp. Findings showed that such reminders did not enhance ex-simulators' memory. In Study 2, participants were asked to put sequences of the mock crime in the right order. This latter modality led to enhanced memory for the offence in simulating participants. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings for the legal field are discussed.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalMemory & Cognition
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2019