Eyewitnesses are often repeatedly interviewed about the same crime, and they might be exposed to misleading information between these interviews. Taking a memory test before being exposed to misinformation can ironically increase the likelihood that an eyewitness would fall prey to the misinformation effect—a finding termed Retrieval-Enhanced Suggestibility (RES). In this paper, we outline the motivation behind the original research on RES, summarize the theoretical explanations that have been used to explain this finding, and provide a review of the extant empirical findings. We then report the results of two new experiments that examined whether participants, upon being informed that they had provided inconsistent responses during the prior recall tests, could overcome the RES effect during a final recognition test in which the correct event detail and the misinformation were offered as response options. The results showed that RES persisted in this recognition test, and the level of inconsistencies shown by participants during the prior recall tests predicted their final recognition performance, such that more inconsistent witnesses were also more error-prone during the final recognition test—but this relation was stronger for misinformation-induced inconsistencies than for spontaneously-produced inconsistencies.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jason_chan/24/