Reliable information is critical for investigations in forensic and security settings; however, obtaining reliable information for complex events can be challenging. In this study, we extend the timeline technique, which uses an innovative and interactive procedure where events are reported on a physical timeline. To facilitate remembering we tested two additional mnemonics, self-generated cues (SGC), which witnesses produce themselves, against other-generated cues (OGC) which are suggested by the interviewer.
One hundred and thirty-two participants witnessed a multi-perpetrator theft under full or divided attention and provided an account using the timeline comparing the efficacy of SGC, OGC, and no cues (control). Mock-witnesses who used self-generated cues provided more correct details than mock-witnesses in the other-generated or no cues conditions, with no cost to accuracy, under full but not under divided attention. Promising results on SGC suggest that they might be a useful addition to current interviewing techniques.
(From the journal abstract)
Kontogianni, Feni, Lorraine Hope, Paul J. Taylor, Aldert Vrij, and Fiona Gabbert. 2018. ‘The Benefits of a Self-Generated Cue Mnemonic for Timeline Interviewing’. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, April. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2018.03.006.