The effects of time, repetition and misleading information on recall from long-term memory
A series of seven experiments examined the effects of time, repetition of descriptions and the introduction of misleading information on the accuracy of recall of a 'real-life' event. In Experiment 1 the factors of time before recall and number of repetitions of recall of details of a 'real-life' event were investigated over a six month period. No conclusive evidence was found to suggest that either accuracy of recall or the amount or quality of the detail of recall, was affected by these factors. In the remaining experiments the effect of misleading information on the accuracy of recall of 'real-life' event was investigated by giving subjects as set of questions, some of which contained an item which was not present at the time of the event. Subjects were later given a further set of questions to which they had to respond 'yes' or 'no' as to whether the item was present or not in the original event. Experiment 2 used the above method to investigate the effect of misinformation on first year students' memory of a location visited two weeks earlier. The results showed a strong effect on accuracy from the misleading information, but confidence rating in response was less for the questions which contained reference to a misleading item, and subjects took longer to respond to these questions. Two topics were investigated in Experiment 3 - a) The effect of 'social interaction' and b) time. The effect of social interaction was looked at by having some of the subjects from Experiment 2 discuss the questions they had been given in that experiment in pairs, fourteen weeks after the original recall session. Examination of responses arrived at through mutual agreement showed increased inaccuracy for the 'misleading' questions and increased accuracy for control questions compared with the results obtained from these subjects in Experiment 2.