Does Talking about Emotion Help Eyewitness Memory? The Role of Emotional and Factual Retelling in Memory Accuracy

  • Kartini Abdul Ghani
  • Lau Choon Ning

Abstract

Eyewitnesses typically talk about the traumatic events that they have experienced based on their memory. This research aimed to investigate differences between emotional and factual retelling of eyewitness in terms of memory accuracy and error. Participants watched a traumatic robbery video and were instructed to recall the events in detail. Participants were divided into three retelling conditions where they: a) discussed the robbery in a factual way, b) focused on discussing their emotional response, and c) performed unrelated tasks. Results showed that eyewitnesses who talked about their emotion recalled less detailed memories and made more errors in free recall while eyewitnesses who focused on factual detail seem to be able to maintain their memory accuracy of the event.

Keywords: eyewitness memory; emotional retelling; factual retelling; memory accuracy; memory error

References

Anderson, L., & Shimamura, A. P. (2005). Influences of emotion on context memory while viewing film clips.

American Journal of Psychology,118(3), 323-337.

Bohannon, J. (2014). How reliable is eyewitness testimony? Retrieved from

http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/10/how-reliable-eyewitness-testimony-scientists-weigh.

Brown, R., & Kulik, J. (1977). Flashbulb memories. Cognition, 5(1), 73-99.

Core, D. (2013). Rompakan bersenjata di kedai arak pada siang hari. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.

com/watch?v=NZl3Zg5lMVk

Davies, G. M., & Logie, R. H. (1993). Memory in everyday life.The Netherlands: Elsevier Science Publishers.

Dudukovic, N. M., Dubrow, S., & Wagner, A. D. (2009). Attention during memory retrieval enhances future

remembering. HHS Journal, 37(7), 953-961.

Edelstein, R. S., Alexander, K. W., Goodman, G. S., & Newton, J. W. (2004). Emotion and eyewitness

memory. In D. Reisberg & P. Hertel (Eds.), Memory and Emotion (pp.308-346). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, H. C., & Hunt, R.R. (1993). Fundamentals of cognitive psychology. US: Wm. C. Brown Communications, Inc.

Eysenck, H. J. (2006). The organization of personality. Journal of Personality, 20(1), 101-117.

Loftus, E. F., Loftus, G. R., & Messo, J. (1987). Some facts about weapon focus. Law and Human Behavior, 11(1), 55-62.

Loftus, E., & Ketcham, K. (1991). Witness for the defense: The accused, the eyewitness, and the expert who puts memory on trial. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Marsh, E. J., Tversky, B., & Hutson, M. (2005). How eyewitnesses talk about events: Implications for

memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19(5), 531-544.

Ochsner, K. N. (2000). Are affective events richly recollected or simply familiar? The experience and process of recognizing feelings past. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 129(2), 242-261.

Rime, B. (2009). Emotion elicits the social sharing of emotion: Theory and empirical review. Emotion Review,

(1), 60-85.

Soleti, E., Curci, A., Bianco, A., & Lanciano, T. (2012). Does talking about emotions influence eyewitness

memory? The role of emotional vs. factual retelling on memory accuracy. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 8(4), 632-640.

Wells, G. (2014). Eyewitness testimony is far from perfect. Retrieved from http://m.livescience.com/48966-

eyewitness-testimony-is-far-fromperfect.html

Whitaker, S. (2013). What role does emotion play in memory? Retrieved from http://astudentofpsychology. blogspot.com/2013/06/what-role-does-emotion-play-in-memory.

html

Zimmermann, K. A. (2014). Memory definition & types of memory. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/43713-memory.

html

Published
2016-03-01
How to Cite
Abdul Ghani, K., & Choon Ning, L. (2016). Does Talking about Emotion Help Eyewitness Memory? The Role of Emotional and Factual Retelling in Memory Accuracy. Journal of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, 1(2), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.33736/jcshd.193.2016