Previous studies showed that collaborative remembering can reduce false memories through a process of mutual error checking, although conclusions were limited by the nature of the memory tasks (very few errors). The present experiments extend these findings to eyewitness memory by using a paradigm designed to increase the frequency of memory errors. Collaborative and nominal pairs viewed a video-clip illustrating a bank robbery, provided an immediate free recall, were forced to confabulate answers to false-event questions, and, after a short- (1 h: Experiment 1) or a long-term delay (1 week: Experiment 2), were administered a yes/no recognition task in which the misleading statements either matched the questions presented in the confabulation phase (answered questions) or not (control questions). Collaborative pairs recalled fewer correct details in the immediate free recall task, replicating the negative effects of collaborative inhibition. Most importantly, in the final recognition test, collaborative pairs were less likely to provide false assents to misleading statements, regardless of whether they had provided a response to the related false-event questions 1 h or 1 week earlier. Our results suggest that collaboration can increase the eyewitnesses' tendency to check the accuracy of others' responses and reject false memories through discussion.
- False memory
- Long-term recognition
- Misleading questions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)