Misinformation Effects in Eyewitness Memory: The Presence and Absence of Memory Impairment as a Function of Warning and Misinformation Accessibility
The authors report 5 experiments investigating how exposure to misleading postevent information affects people's ability to remember details from a witnessed event. In each experiment the authors tested memory using the modified opposition test, which was designed to isolate retrieval-blocking effects. The findings indicate that retrieval blocking occurs regardless of whether the misleading information is presented before or after the witnessed event. In addition, when people are warned immediately about the presence of misleading information, they can counteract retrieval-blocking effects but only if the misinformation is relatively low in accessibility. The authors discuss the findings in terms of the retrieval-blocking hypothesis and a hypothetical suppression mechanism that can counteract retrieval-blocking effects in some circumstances.