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Law Hum Behav. 2010 Apr;34(2):105-17. doi: 10.1007/s10979-008-9172-6. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Inoculation or antidote? The effects of cognitive interview timing on false memory for forcibly fabricated events.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Kings College, Old Aberdeen, AB24 2UB, Scotland, UK.


This study examined whether a cognitive interview (CI) can counteract the effects of suggestive interviews involving forced fabrication. College students witnessed a filmed event and were later forced to fabricate answers to misleading questions about the event. All witnesses were interviewed with a non-leading CI or free recall (FR) either before or after the forced fabrication phase. A week later participants completed a recognition and source monitoring (SM) test of video content. Relative to FR, the CI administered before the forced fabrication interview increased reports of correct details and reduced false assents to fabricated items. A CI after resulted in false memory rates comparable to the FR group. Early interviews using CI techniques may protect against memory loss and misinformation effects.

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