U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Enhancing Enhanced Eyewitness Memory: Refining the Cognitive Interview

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Science and Administration Volume: 15 Issue: 4 Dated: (December 1987) Pages: 285-290
Date Published
6 pages
This study compared the effectiveness of a revised Cognitive Interview with the original Cognitive Interview in enhancing eyewitnesses' recall.
The original Cognitive Interview instructs eyewitnesses to reinstate the environmental and psychological contexts of the original event, to report everything, to recall the events in defferent orders, and to recall the incident from different perspectives. Additional principles incorporated in the revised Cognitive Interview were structuring the interview to be compatible with the eyewitness' mental operations and facilitating the eyewitness using focused memory retrieval. Sixteen male and female undergraduate college students were randomly assigned to one of the two interview conditions, eight per condition. Three memory-performance dependent variables were measured: number of correct statements, incorrect statements, and confabulations. The revised interview elicited 45 percent more correct information than did the original Cognitive Interview, which has been shown earlier to be approximately 30 percent more effective than the standard police interview. The additional information obtained with the revised technique has investigative value, and it does not come at the expense of increased error. 1 table and 8 references.

Date Published: January 1, 1987