The effect of eye closure on children's eyewitness testimonies

Serena Mastroberardino, Valeria Natali, Ingrid Candel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous studies conducted with adults found that eye closure increased the number of correctly reported details with no concurrent increase in the number of incorrect details. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that closing the eyes reduces external stimulation, and so increases the capacity of the participant to concentrate on the memorial image, dedicating greater resources to the memorial trace. In this study, we investigated whether the same advantage could be found in 6- and 11-year-old children. Participants were asked to provide a free recall and a cued recall of a short emotional clip taken from the movie Jurassic Park either with their eyes open or closed. Free recall was then analysed in terms of proportion of correct details, incorrect details, and confabulations; cued recall in terms of number and type of details. The results clearly showed that eye closure improved children's cued recall, while leaving free recall substantially unaffected. These results are discussed in the light of the possible advantage of eye closure when interviewing children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • children
  • eye closure
  • eyewitness testimonies
  • investigative interviewing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)

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