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NCJ Number: 140469 Find in a Library
Title: Recollections of a Robbery: Effects of Arousal and Alcohol Upon Recall and Person Identification
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:16  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1992)  Pages:425- 446
Author(s): J D Read; J C Yuille; P Tollestrup
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Alberta Law Foundation
Calgary, Alta T2P 1K1, Canada
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4, Canada
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: One week after committing a simulated robbery while intoxicated or sober, 142 subjects recalled the event in cognitive interviews.
Abstract: Subjects included university student volunteers recruited from advertisements placed on campus. The 2 x 2 experimental design included two between-subjects variables, alcohol (present versus absent) and level of arousal (low versus high). In an initial exploratory experiment, alcohol consumption reduced the accuracy of recall for various types of information, especially information about persons. In the second experiment, person identification suffered following the consumption of alcohol but only when arousal was low. Higher levels of arousal appeared instead to minimize the negative impact of alcohol on encoding and recall. Whereas the recollection by subjects of what they saw during the crime was not impaired by alcohol consumption, their recall of what they did was impaired. Both experiments examined the effects of arousal on recall, and the second experiment tested the hypothesis that increased arousal would reduce attention to peripheral sources of information. This hypothesis was supported because the identification of persons central to the crime benefited from increased arousal, but the identification of persons peripheral to the crime did not. A similar hypothesis about the effects of alcohol received only mixed support because the behavior of subjects reflected "alcohol myopia" but their identification of target persons did not. Finally, manipulations at the time of retrieval of subject beliefs about how much alcohol had been consumed also altered recall accuracy. 40 references and 1 figure
Main Term(s): Alcohol consumption analysis; Facial Recognition/Recall
Index Term(s): Alcoholic beverage consumption; Robbery; Suspect identification; Witnesses
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