Title

Don't Talk About It: The Impact of Conversation on Memory

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology

Minor

Criminal Justice

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Jana Hackathorn, Ph.D

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Jurors perceive eyewitness testimonies as highly convincing, however eyewitness misidentification has led to many of the nations overturned convictions. This study evaluates eyewitness testimony by looking at one’s likelihood to change their memory confidence and accuracy ratings after conversing with another individual. We expected participants’ memory accuracy to decrease after conversing with someone who believed conflicting details, and that personality variables may impact the change. Participants were recruited to come into the lab and complete a measure containing demographics and personality traits. Participants then viewed one of two photosets depicting a crime scene.There was one participant viewing each slideshow, and they had very minor differences. Participants then completed a memory task, rated their confidence in their memory, and completed a crossword puzzle. Then, two participants with different photo sets had to generate a detailed story to accompany the photos. Finally, participants separated again for a memory test with confidence ratings. The findings showed a reduction in accurate memory scores across the two tests, t(56) = 2.01, p = .049. Interestingly, there was a rise in the confidence scores between the first and second assessment, t(56) = -2.519, p = .005. This suggests that, though participants were changing their stories and answers to include details they hadn’t observed, their belief in the accuracy of their account was rising. The scope of this research could extend far beyond the realms of social and cognitive psychology, and land in a courtroom.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Psychology: Completed Projects

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Don't Talk About It: The Impact of Conversation on Memory

Jurors perceive eyewitness testimonies as highly convincing, however eyewitness misidentification has led to many of the nations overturned convictions. This study evaluates eyewitness testimony by looking at one’s likelihood to change their memory confidence and accuracy ratings after conversing with another individual. We expected participants’ memory accuracy to decrease after conversing with someone who believed conflicting details, and that personality variables may impact the change. Participants were recruited to come into the lab and complete a measure containing demographics and personality traits. Participants then viewed one of two photosets depicting a crime scene.There was one participant viewing each slideshow, and they had very minor differences. Participants then completed a memory task, rated their confidence in their memory, and completed a crossword puzzle. Then, two participants with different photo sets had to generate a detailed story to accompany the photos. Finally, participants separated again for a memory test with confidence ratings. The findings showed a reduction in accurate memory scores across the two tests, t(56) = 2.01, p = .049. Interestingly, there was a rise in the confidence scores between the first and second assessment, t(56) = -2.519, p = .005. This suggests that, though participants were changing their stories and answers to include details they hadn’t observed, their belief in the accuracy of their account was rising. The scope of this research could extend far beyond the realms of social and cognitive psychology, and land in a courtroom.